Exploring Tolkien: Online Tolkien Course

For the third academic year I will be teaching an on-line course on Tolkien taught in 10 weekly units, via the Centre for Lifelong Learning at Cardiff University. The course is titled Exploring Tolkien: There and Back Again, and it will run three times during the 2008-2009 academic year, starting on 6 October 2008, 19 January 2009 and 27 April 2009 respectively. The students will be able to explore Tolkien’s Middle-earth from their home, in their own time. They will examine the vast mythology behind The Lord of the Rings and gain a thorough knowledge of Tolkien’s fiction and its creation by focusing on The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion and The Children of Húrin. The course will focus on the northern European mythologies that inspired Tolkien’s Middle-earth, especially the creative uses of his sources in Old Norse mythology, Celtic myths and legends Classical mythology, Shakespeare and the literary tradition.

The students of this online course will also learn about Tolkien’s ‘invented languages’, their origins and sources, and they will examine Tolkien’s work in its historical context through intellectual history, focusing on the ‘races’ and cultures of Middle-earth. My online students will also have the opportunity to participate in a lively Discussion Board which I will be moderating and they will have full access to Cardiff University’s electronic resources (including such electronic journals as Tolkien Studies and Mythlore and a great number of e-book and reference collections). For those students who are already enrolled in academic programmes, there is the option of doing this course for credits to be used towards their Higher Education Qualifications.To find out more please look at Online Courses under Teaching.

Book Cover of Tolkien, Race and Cultural History is now online

The dust jacket for my forthcoming book Tolkien, Race and Cultural History is now online on the Palgrave Macmillan website. The photo figuring on the book cover is of my own design, which I created by manipulating a photograph I took recently of Moseley Bog. I chose this “kaleidoscopic” view of Moseley Bog, one of young Tolkien’s favourite playgrounds close to Sarehole Mill in Moseley, Birmingham, as an appropriate theme for the book cover as Tolkien often acknowledged this landscape as a source of inspiration and also he was fond of drawing kaleidoscopic heraldic designs and emblems for the Elves and Men of the First Age (see especially examples published in Picture by J.R.R. Tolkien). For more information on the book click on Publications above.

The Ring Goes Ever On: Proceedings of the Tolkien 2005 Conference

The proceedings of Tolkien 2005: The Ring Goes Ever On, a conference organized by the Tolkien Society to celebrate 50 years of The Lord of the Rings which took place at Aston University, Birmingham, on 11-15 August 2005, will be published at the end of September 2008. The proceedings will be published in two volumes, and will contain eleven sections with papers by 95 authors, including Rhona Beare, Marjorie Burns, Colin Duriez, John Garth, Robin Anne Reid, Tom Shippey and Anna Smol. I have contributed the paper: “Material Culture and Materiality in Middle-earth: Tolkien and Archaeology”. For more information, including how to order the proceedings, click here.