2022-2023 Academic Catalog 
    Jul 18, 2024  
2022-2023 Academic Catalog [Archived Catalog]

ENGL 215H - Tolkien: Medieval and Modern

Credits: 4
In this course students will explore Tolkien as a medievalist and a modern writer. They will study and discuss The Lord of the Rings, Silmarillion, Adventures of Tom Bombadil, Leaf by Niggle, and On Fairy Stories, as well as the medieval texts Beowulf, the Elder Edda, and the Saga of the Volsungs. Students will learn how Tolkien’s work, in sentiment and detail, continues the early-medieval heroic tradition of the Old English Beowulf and the Old Norse Elder Edda poems in regard to the heroic code, the vitality of legend and the past (even a romantic view of history), the pantheon and otherworldly beings (elves and dwarves), cosmology, fate and free will, and the subtlety of cultural speech acts. Nevertheless, twentieth-century concerns are also central to Tolkien’s fantasy texts, such as worldwide warfare, fear of tyranny by way of overwhelming power, industrialization and the environment, fading tradition, and the nature of good and evil.
General Education Area: Humanities
Cross-listed: HUM-215H
Prerequisite: Membership in Bascom Honors Program