Mustering Mythgardians at Mythcon

by Katherine Sas

As reported previously by the Eagle, quite a few Mythgardians were looking forward to Mythcon 45. Conference attendee Katherine Sas reports from the field with a roundup of the activities enjoyed from the Mythgard crew at the recent event.

Signum University had a strong presence at the 45th annual Mythcon. Held August 8 – 11 on the beautiful campus of New England’s Wheaton College, both fans and scholars of the Inklings and fantasy literature gathered to mingle, share ideas, and celebrate the literature they love.

The Tolkien Professor and President of Signum University, Dr. Corey Olsen, participated in a panel discussing teaching Tolkien at the college level alongside frequent Mythgard professor Dr. Verlyn Flieger. Professor Olsen’s book Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit’ was also nominated for a Mythopoeic Award for Inklings Scholarship for the second year in a row.

Papers on spiritual criticism of The Lord of the Rings, politics in The Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter as dystopian literature were presented by Mythgard students Luke Baugher, Dominic Nardi, and Kris Swank, respectively, with Nardi’s paper winning the conference prize for graduate student scholarship.

Mythgard lecturer and Wheaton College Anglo Saxonist Dr. Michael Drout hosted the conference in addition to moderating a panel on The Lord of the Rings Online and giving a well-received talk on Tolkien’s recently published translation of Beowulf.

Frequent auditor and newly-appointed faculty preceptor Sørina Higgins participated on a panel on fantasy and faith as well as moderated a panel discussing an upcoming book of essays on the Inklings and Arthurian literature which she is editing.

With other Mythgard students Kate Neville, Tim Fisher, Brandon Young, and Katherine Sas present it wasn’t all serious. The obligatory group photo [above] included the spelling of “Mythgard” with their bodies.

An impromptu live broadcast of the Tolkien Professor podcast discussing the conference was held from an upstairs dormitory. Students and faculty made time to catch up over meals, in between presentations, and at the nightly hospitality suite.

Mythgard’s presence seems to grow with each new conference, and it was invigorating to see such exemplary contributions from its faculty and students.

Sørina Higgins has also posted a series of reflections about Mythcon on her blog, The Oddest Inkling.