FT 05-E Medievalism and Middle Earth
Karolyn Kinane, Department of English, 9:45 TTh
Before J.R.R. Tolkien was an author of fiction, he was a well-respected scholar specializing in Old and Middle English languages and literature. In writing The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien drew on his scholarly knowledge of early Germanic cultures to form the world of Middle-earth. We will frame our investigations this semester with two central questions: What is the relationship between Tolkien’s fictional work and his academic work? And why has Tolkien’s medievalism (and other popular medievalisms) found such a prominent place in our popular imagination? We will approach these questions in two parts. For the first half of the course, we will read medieval works which Tolkien himself studied, as well as some of his scholarly essays. In the second half, we will read and view The Lord of the Rings, comparing the book and the film to each other, and to the materials from the first part.