Tolkien: Scholar, Critic, Writer (TRU3025)

StaffDr Jo Esra - Lecturer
Professor Nick Groom - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level6
Pre-requisites
Co-requisites
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

The module enables students to develop skills of critical analysis in historical and cultural contexts focused on a single author and his influence. For both essays and presentations students are encouraged to pursue their own research interests. The Review assessment, meanwhile, allows students to review a book, film, or critical work associated with Tolkien, presenting an opportunity to write a critical assignment pitched at a particular readership.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. demonstrate informed appreciation of specific works of scholarship, translation, criticism, and fiction by J.R.R. Tolkien,
  • 2. demonstrate an appreciation of Anglo-Saxonism, Medievalism, the Gothic, Modernism, and war literature,
  • 3. demonstrate an informed appreciation of the relation between twentieth-century literature and the important historical, intellectual, and technological developments of the time,
  • 4. demonstrate an understanding of the adaptation of specific literary works into film and other media of mass culture,
  • 5. demonstrate an understanding of the significance of place and the environment in literary works.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 6. demonstrate an ability to analyse the literature of an earlier era and to relate its concerns and its modes of expression to its historical context and to contemporary culture,
  • 7. demonstrate an ability to interrelate texts and discourses specific to their own discipline with issues in the wider context of cultural and intellectual history,
  • 8. demonstrate an ability to understand and analyse relevant theoretical ideas, and to apply these ideas to literary texts.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 9. through seminar work, demonstrate communication skills, and an ability to work both individually and in groups
  • 10. through essay-writing, demonstrate appropriate research and bibliographic skills, a capacity to construct a coherent, substantiated argument, and a capacity to write clear and correct prose,
  • 11. through research for seminars and essays, demonstrate proficiency in information retrieval and analysis.

Syllabus plan

 

  1. Introduction: quiz, planning, close-reading
  2. Anglo-Saxon: JRRT’s translation of Beowulf and his critical essay ‘The Monsters and the Critics’ (in The Monsters and the Critics and Other Essays); The Battle of Maldon and ‘The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth Beorhthelm’s Son’ (in Tree and Leaf)
  3. Mediaeval Faërie: ‘Farmer Giles of Ham’, ‘Smith of Wootton Major’ ‘On Fairy-Stories’(in Tales from the Perilous Realm) (also selected poems from The Adventures of Tom Bombadil)
  4. Introduction to The Silmarillion I: ‘Of Beren and Lúthien’ and separate publication Beren and Lúthien
  5. The Hobbit, ‘The Quest of Erebor’ (in Unfinished Tales), and ‘Durin’s Folk’ (Appendix A, Part III of The Return of the King)
  6. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (for those already familiar with the text, also read ‘The Hunt for the Ring’ in Unfinished Tales and The Return of the Shadow: The History of The Lord of the Rings, Part One)
  7. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (for those already familiar with the text, also read ‘The Battles of the Fords of Isen’ in Unfinished Tales and The Treason of Isengard: The History of The Lord of the Rings, Part Two)
  1. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King  (for those already familiar with the text, also read ‘Leaf by Niggle’ in Tales from the Perilous Realm, plus The War of the Ring: The History of The Lord of the Rings, Part Three; and Sauron Defeated: The History of The Lord of the Rings, Part Four)
  2. Introduction to The Silmarillion II: ‘Quenta Silmarillion’ chapters 1-16
  3. The Silmarillion III: ‘Quenta Silmarillion’ chapters 17-24, ‘Akallabêth’, and ‘Of the Rings of Power’; ‘A Description of the Island of Númenor’ and ‘Galadriel and Celeborn’ in Unfinished Tales; and ‘The Lost Road’ in The Lost Road and Other Writings
  4. Films: Bakshi and Jackson; final quiz

Sample classes and tutor presentations:

  1. Introduction: Tolkien Quiz
  2. Tolkien as Scholar: Anglo-Saxon and Mediaeval Studies, and Etymology
  3. Faërie
  4. The Legendarium
  5. Debate on The Hobbit
  6. The Lord of the Rings background
  7. Debate on The Lord of the Rings: cultural, intellectual, and historical contexts
  8. Debate on The Lord of the Rings: race
  9. The Silmarillion and the Gothic
  10. Tolkien in Cornwall
  11. Debate on film; Tolkien Quiz II

Possible topics for student presentations

 

    1. Introduction – none
    2. ‘The Monsters and the Critics’ or ‘The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth Beorhthelm’s Son’
    3. ‘Farmer Giles of Ham’ or‘Smith of Wootton Major’
    4. ‘Of Betren and Lúthien’ or the Legendarium
    5. The Hobbit: children’s literature or The Hobbit: monstrosity
    6. The Lord of the Rings: sources or LotR: shadows of history or LotR: Englishness
    7. LotR: ecology or LotR: just war or LotR: gender
    8. Race
    9. The Silmarillion: death and immortality or ther Legendarium
    10. The Silmarillion: Númenor or ‘The Lost Road’
    11. Debate on film

 

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad
332670

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities11Lecture (11x1hr)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities22Seminar (11x2hrs)
Guided independent study267Private study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Presentation10 minutesMSS 1-3, 5 (&4), DSS 1-3, PKS 1oral and peer assessment
Group presentation/debate10 minutes MSS 1-3, 5 (&4), DSS 1-3, PKS 1oral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams
10000

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay 1251,500 wordsMSS 1-3, 5 (&4), DSS 1-3, PKS 2-3Coversheet (written) and oral
Review of book, film, or critical work251,500 wordsMSS 1-3, 5 (&4), DSS 1-3, PKS 1Coversheet (written) and oral
Essay 2503,000 wordsMSS 1-3, 5 (&4), DSS 1-3, PKS 2-3Coversheet (written) and oral
0
0
0
0
0

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay1,2,3,5,6,7,8,10,11referral/deferral period
Book ReviewBook Review1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,10,11referral/deferral period
EssayEssay1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,10,11referral/deferral period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Indicative basic reading list (you should be able to get these very cheaply from Amazon secondhand, Abebooks, or eBay. Don’t order as a ‘print on demand’ or facsimile – these are expensive and unreliable)

 

J.R.R. Tolkien, Beowulf, together with Sellic Spell (HarperCollins, 2014)

        -  -  -         , The Hobbit (HarperCollins, 2009)

       -  -  -         , The Lord of the Rings (HarperCollins, 1999)

       -  -  -         , The Lost Road and Other Writings (HarperCollins, 2002)

       -  -  -         , The Monsters and the Critics and Other Essays (HarperCollins, 2006)

     -  -  -         , The Silmarillion (HarperCollins, 1992)

       -  -  -         , Tales from the Perilous Realm: Farmer Giles of Ham / The Adventures of Tom Bombadil

                          / Leaf by Niggle / Smith of Wootton Major (HarperCollins, 2002)

       -  -  -         , Unfinished Tales (HarperCollins, 2001)

 

Other Primary Reading

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Book of Lost Tales I (HarperCollins, 2008)

       -  -  -         , The Book of Lost Tales II (HarperCollins, 2008)

       -  -  -         , The Children of Húrin (HarperCollins, 2008)

       -  -  -         , The Return of the Shadow: The History of LotR, Part One(HarperCollins, 2002)

       -  -  -         , The Treason of Isengard: The History of LotR, Part Two(HarperCollins, 2002)

       -  -  -         , The War of the Ring: The History of LotR, Part Three(HarperCollins, 2002)

       -  -  -         , Sauron Defeated: The History of LotR, Part Four(HarperCollins, 2002)

       -  -  -         , Tree and Leaf (HarperCollins, 2009)

 

More expensive, but useful

More expensive, but useful

J.R.R. Tolkien, A Secret Vice: Tolkien on Invented Languages, ed. Dimitra Fimi and Andrew Higgins (HarperCollins, 2016)

       -  -  -         , The Annotated Hobbit, ed. Douglas Anderson (Houghton Mifflin, 2002)

       -  -  -         , The History of Middle-Earth, 12 vols in 3 (HarperCollins, 2002)

       -  -  -         , The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien (HarperCollins, 1999)

       -  -  -         , with E.V. Gordon and Norman Davis, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, Sir Orfeo (HarperCollins, 2006)

       -  -  -         , Smith of Wootton Major, ed. Verlyn Flieger (HarperCollins, 2005)

       -  -  -         , Tolkien on Fairy-Stories, ed.Verlyn Flieger and Douglas Anderson (HarperCollins, 2014)

 

Kirill Yeskov, The Last Ringbearer (1999) [free pdf on ELE]

 

Recommended Critical Reading

Atherton, Mark, There and Back Again: J.R.R. Tolkien and the Origins of the Hobbit (Tauris, 2012)

Carpenter, Humphrey, J. R. R. Tolkien: A Biography (Allen & Unwin, 1977)

Chance, Jane (ed.), Tolkien the Medievalist (Routledge, 2002)

Chance, Jane (ed.), Tolkien and the Invention of Myth (Kentucky University Press, 2004)

Croft, Janet Brennan, Tolkien on Film: Essays on Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings (Mythopoeic Press, 2005)

Curry, Patrick, Defending Middle-Earth: Tolkien, Myth and Modernity (Houghton Mifflin, 2004)

Eaglestone, Robert (ed.), Reading The Lord of the Rings: New Essays on Tolkien’s Trilogy (Continuum, 2005)

Drout, Michael, ‘J.R.R. Tolkien’s Medieval Scholarship and its Significance’, Tolkien Studies vol. 4 (2007), 113-176

Fimi, Dimitra, Tolkien, Race, and Cultural History: From Fairies to Hobbits (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008)

Flieger, Verlyn, A Question of Time: J.R.R. Tolkien’s Road to ‘Faerie’ (Kent State University Press, 1997)

Flieger, Verlyn and Douglas Anderson, Tolkien on Fairy-Stories (HarperCollins, 2008)

Flieger, Verlyn, and Carl Hostetter, Tolkien’s Legendarium: Essays on The History of Middle Earth (Greenwood Press, 2000)

Garth, John, Tolkien and the Great War: The Threshold of Middle-Earth (HarperCollins, 2004)

Gilliver, Peter, Jeremy Marshall, and Edmund Weiner, The Ring of Words: Tolkien and the Oxford English Dictionary (OUP, 2006)

Gray, William, Fantasy, Myth and the Measure of Truth: Tales of Pullman, Lewis, Tolkien, Macdonald and Hoffmann (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008)

Hammond, Wayne and Christina Scull, The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide (HarperCollins, 2006)

Kane, Douglas Charles, Arda Reconstructed: The Creation of the Published Silmarillion (Lehigh UP, 2009)

Lee, Stuart D. (ed.), A Companion to J.R.R. Tolkien (Wiley-Blackwell, 2014)

Lönnrot, Elias (ed.), The Kalevala, or The Land of Heroes (Oxford World’s Classics, 1999)

Magnusson, Eirikr and William Morris, Volsunga Saga: The Story of the Volsungs and Nibelungs (Bastian Books, 2008)

Margolis, Harriet, Sean Cubitt, Barry King, and Thierry Jutel (eds), Studying the Event Film: The Lord of the Rings (Manchester University Press, 2012)

Morton, Timothy, ‘Environmentalism’ in Nicholas Roe, Romanticism: An Oxford Guide (OUP, 2005), 696-707

Reynolds, Patricia and Glen GoodKnight (eds), Proceedings of the J.R.R. Tolkien Centenary Conference, 1992 (Tolkien Society, 1995)

Roseberry, Brian, Tolkien: A Cultural Phenomenon (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003)

Shippey, T.A., The Road to Middle-Earth (HarperCollins, 2005)

Shippey, T.A., Roots and Branches (Walking Tree, 2007)

Shippey, T.A., Tolkien: Author of the Century (HarperCollins, 2000)

‘Turgon’ [David E. Smith] (ed.), The Tolkien Fan’s Medieval Reader (Cold Spring Press Fantasy, 2004)

Whittingham, Elizabeth, The Evolution of Tolkien’s Mythology (McFarland, 2007)

 

Module has an active ELE page?

Yes

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

JSTOR

Project Muse (Tolkien Studies is on Project Muse)

http://www.tolkiensociety.org/

http://www.tolkienestate.com/home/

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

ELE page

Photocopies

Primary Films

The Lord of the Rings, dir. Ralph Bakshi (1978)

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, dir. Peter Jackson (2001)

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, dir. Peter Jackson (2002)

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, dir. Peter Jackson (2003)

Secondary Films

The Hobbit, dir. Rankin/Bass (1977)

The Return of the King, dir. Rankin/Bass (1980)

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, dir. Peter Jackson (2012)

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, dir. Peter Jackson (2013)

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, dir. Peter Jackson (2014) 

 

 

 

Available as distance learning?

No

Origin date

2012

Last revision date

24/02/2017

Key words search

Tolkien