Saturday, June 06, 2015

Tolkien Class

So this is the summer class on Tolkien I'm teaching.  I hope.  Ulp.

                                                                                                                                                                                                               Bemidji State University
Middle Earth Studies

Faculty: Larry Swain
Office:  HS 333                                                                        email:                                                                Mailbox:  HS 23

Course Description:  J. R. R. Tolkien has been called Author of the Century by one scholar.  Certainly his hobbits have fascinated and captivated millions of readers.  In this course we aim to go beyond a typical reading course and explore the myth making, the medieval template, and related issues in Tolkien’s constructed universe.

Student Learning Outcomes: 
Upon satisfactory completion of the course, students will be able to:
·                    analyze works of literature
·                    compare and contrast the issues of literature with modern life
·                    evaluate interpretations of texts
·                    learn to do close reading as well as historical-critical reading of literary works
·                    to improve and hone analytical thinking skills
·                    have some fun!

Instructor Objectives:
This is a collaborative effort.  As your instructor, I too expect to learn from you in this course:
·        To gain a deeper appreciation of the processes of thinking, reading, writing and researching.
·        To improve my teaching skills and find better methods of communicating to students the processes of thinking, reading and writing
·        To communicate my appreciation of literature to my students
·        To have some fun!

Text and Materials:
Road to Middle Earth Tom Shippey
Splintered Light Verlyn Flieger
Tolkien and the Invention of Myth Jane Chance, ed.
Other Materials as Assigned

Academic Honesty
All work composed for this class must be written exclusively for this class and be your original work. You may receive assistance on your writing, but submitting someone else’s work as your own or failing to acknowledge sources appropriately will be grounds for plagiarism. Evidence of plagiarism will result in failure.   If you have any questions regarding this policy, however, it is your responsibility to see me immediately.

From our Disabilities Office Director:
“I would like to make sure that all the materials, discussions and activities that are part of the course are accessible to you.  If you would like to request accommodations or other services, please contact me as soon as possible.  It is also possible to contact Disability Services, Sanford Hall, 201.  Phone: 218/755-3883 or E-mail address  Also available through the Minnesota Relay Service at 1-800-627-3529.” 
Discussion-Discussion is a must in this course.  There will be plenty of fodder on the discussion board, room for questions and explorations.  25% of the grade.

Research Paper: 25% of the grade

2 Individual Presentations ,  25% total
Final: 25% of the total


June 2: Mythology for England: Letter 131, Chance book, Introduction and first essay, and essay 13
June 3-4: Discussion questions on readings
June 5: Tolkien the Medievalist:  Language Shippey 1-2, Chance, Essay 4; Auden
June 6: Discussion Questions on Readings

June 8: Discussion Questions cont. Lecture: The Languages of Middle Earth and the Middle Ages Reading TBA
June 9: Lecture on Tolkien, Linguistic Jokes and the Jokester/Accidental Etymologies?
June 10: Discussion Questions
June 11: Tolkien’s Beowulf:  Monsters and the Critics  (Rec. Shippey 6 Chance 3
June 12: Discussion Questions
June 13: Tolkien’s Beowulf: Chance book, 14 and 15

June 16: Tolkien’s Beowulf: Template for LoTR?
June 17: Cartography and Geography in LoTR: Shippy ch. 4; T-Maps Lecture;
June 18: Presentation 1 posted
June 19:  Interlace: West article, Miller article (Lobdell); Shippey ch. 5
June 20: Discussion Stuff and Things

June 23: Middle Earth Story Telling  Lecture, Readings: Chance 12/ TBA
June 24: Discussion Questions
June 25: Middle Earth Book Culture and the Middle Ages: Runes, Books, Libraries Lecture
June 27: Discussion Questions

June 29: Middle Earth Calendrics and the Middle Ages Lecture Reading TBA
July 1: Orcs, ents, trolls, and the monsters of Middle Earth  Lecture Reading TBpA
July 2: Discussion Questions
July 3-4, Holiday!!

July 6: Poetry and Prose: Sagas. Readings TBA
July 7: Flieger chap. 1 and discussion board
July 9: On Fairy Stories and Discussion
July 10: Flieger 2-3

July 13: Flieger 4-6
July 14: Discussion
July 15: Flieger 7-8
July 16: Presentation 2 Posted
July 17: Flieger 9-10 and Discussoin

July 20: Flieger 11-13
July 21: Discussion
July 22: Flieger 14-16
July 23: Discussion
July 24: Flieger 17-18

July 27: Flieger 19-Afterward

July 28: Discussion

July 30: Shippey ch. 7, Chance 7

July 31: Shippey 8-end

AUG 1: Paper Due, Take online exam.