College of Humanities and Social Sciences

ENGH 513: Topics in Literary and Cultural Studies

ENGH 513-002: 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.

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Course Information from the University Catalog

Credits: 3

Intensive study of topics involving literary or other texts such as film, television, opera, and folklore. Notes: May be repeated with permission of department. May be repeated within the degree for a maximum 6 credits.
Recommended Prerequisite: 15 credits of advanced undergraduate English courses and permission of department; or baccalaureate degree.
Registration Restrictions:

Enrollment limited to students with a class of Advanced to Candidacy, Graduate, Non Degree or Senior Plus.

Enrollment is limited to Graduate, Non-Degree or Undergraduate level students.

Students in a Non-Degree Undergraduate degree may not enroll.

Schedule Type: Lecture

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