Lewis & Tolkien

Disclaimer: The information on this page is provided as an overview. The course outline, readings, and assignments may be subject to change in the final syllabus as determined by the lecturer and/or preceptors.

What similar ideas did Lewis and Tolkien explore? How are they similar in the exploration of these ideas? How are they different?

C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien are two of the pillars of modern fantasy, and their friendship is well known. Despite the fact that the two authors are so frequently associated with each other, however, their works are rarely examined closely together. In this class, we will engage in a careful comparison of Lewis’s and Tolkien’s fiction, paying close attention to those moments when they are both exploring similar ideas or undertaking comparable literary enterprises. What do these two authors really share in common, and where do their primary differences lie?

Course Schedule

This course includes two pre-recorded 90-minute lectures per week with one 60-minute discussion session as assigned.

Week 1 – Literary Theories

Myth and Storytelling

Week 2 – Introduction to Fantasy I

The Hobbit

Week 3 – Introduction to Fantasy II

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe

Week 4 – Perilous Realms

  • “Smith of Wootton Major”
  • The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Week 5 – Myths Revisited Ia

Till We Have Faces

Week 6 – Myths Revisited Ib

Till We Have Faces

Week 7 – Myths Revisited II

“The Lost Road” and “The Notion Club Papers”

Week 8 – Cosmogony

“Ainulindale” and The Magician’s Nephew

Week 9 – The Fall I


Week 10 – The Fall II

  • Quenta Silmarillion, Chapters 7-9
  • “Akallabeth”

Week 11 – Eschatology I

  • “Leaf by Niggle”
  • “Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth”

Week 12 – Eschatology II

The Last Battle

Required Texts

The Amazon links are provided for convenience only, and we encourage students to purchase the text wherever they wish.

Optional Texts

Course History

This course has been offered in the following semesters.

Fall 2024Dr. Sara Brown
Spring 2020Liam Daley & Brenton Dickieson
Spring 2017Dr. David Russell Mosley
Fall 2014Sørina Higgins & Liam Daley
Spring 2012Dr. Faith Acker & Liam Daley

Course Artwork

Course artwork adapted from an original illustration by Drew Blom. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

Lewis and Tolkien

In this course, students will examine the friendship and works of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, and their influence upon each other.

START: August 26, 2024

DURATION: 12 Weeks

ID: LITA 5302