College of Humanities and Social Sciences

ENGH 309: Topics in Literature

ENGH 309-002: Tolkien's Legendarium
(Fall 2016)

07:20 PM to 10:00 PM M

Robinson A123

Section Information for Fall 2016

Legendarium is the term J.R.R. Tolkien used to describe the vast textual web within which he situates his narratives of Middle Earth-- elaborate genealogies, trial versions, and the pre-history of Middle Earth and its inhabitants.  He struggled with matters of chracter and plot, and with  the inner consistency of his "great world," Arda.  Our texts will  permit us to trace the creative activity of one of the major fantasists of English literature.   We will also examine  a few of the historical and philosophical texts in  Morgoth's Ring .


This course will examine some of Tolkien's major fiction (including The Children of Húrin), his best known sources--Old English poems such as Beowulf and The Wanderer, and a short Icelandic saga.  We will frame our critical discussions by considering of the cultural disruptions occasioned by the First and Second World Wars and Tolkien's debt to earlier fantasy writers.  We will also begin to enter the conversation of scholars' newest explorations of Tolkien's Secondary World.


Much reading, several short "reading papers," three extended essays (4-5 pp.), and a final examination.

Note:  Although The Hobbit will not be one of our official texts, you should (re)read it before  the class begins.

Satisfies the English BA requirement for the concentration in fiction.

Satisfies the English BA requirement for the concentration in folklore, mythology, and literature.

Satisfies the English BA core requirement in minority, folkloric, or popular literary and cultural traditions.

Satisfies the English BA requirement for the concentration in modern British literature.

View 1 Other Section of this Course in this Semester »


Course Information from the University Catalog

Credits: 1-3

Studies literature by topics, such as women in literature, science fiction, and literature of the avant garde. Notes: Topic varies. May be repeated for credit when topic is different. May be repeated within the term.
Recommended Prerequisite: Satisfaction of University requirements in 100-level English and in Mason Core literature.
Schedule Type: Lecture

The University Catalog is the authoritative source for information on courses. The Schedule of Classes is the authoritative source for information on classes scheduled for this semester. See the Schedule for the most up-to-date information and see Patriot web to register for classes.

Print Friendly and PDF