Looking at Middle-earth

Bruce A. McMenomy, Ph.D., for Scholars Online
June 18 - August 13, 2019

This course is a two-way introduction: it’s an introduction to Middle-earth from a language-and-literature point of view, and it’s an introduction to literary thinking from the perspective of Tolkien’s subcreated world. The hope is that the student will build mental bridges in both directions that will serve a wider purpose in the future. It’s intended for Tolkien enthusiasts, and it presupposes that the student has already read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. (No, seeing the movies doesn’t count. We can talk about those, if a student wants to, but this is not primarily about the films but about the books.) Other works — particularly The Silmarillion and The History of Middle-earth — may come up, but they will not be the backbone of what we’re doing here. I myself have been a die-hard Tolkien fan since 1967, and Tolkien’s vision has done a great deal to shape my own view of the world, literature, and art.

In each session we’ll look at a different aspect of Tolkien’s created world:

Each session will also approach the topics from three different directions: