Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Fall Syllabus #1: J.R.R. Tolkien! (UPDATED!)

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I’m really excited about this one. Here’s the day-by-day schedule…

Big thanks to Ben Robertson, Robert Tally, and Tim McMahon for sharing their Tolkien syllabus, and to Brian Kenna for talking a few things through with me when I needed it. (UPDATE: Thanks also to Robin Reid, who had some great ideas for additions.)

GENERAL COURSE PLAN

WEEKS 1-2: TOLKIEN’S CREATIVE PROJECT

WEEKS 3-4: THE HOBBIT

WEEKS 5-7: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING

WEEKS 8-10: THE TWO TOWERS

WEEKS 11-13: THE RETURN OF THE KING

WEEKS 14-15: THE SILMARILLION 

DAY-BY-DAY SCHEDULE

M Aug. 31 FIRST DAY OF CLASS
W Sep. 2 “On Fairy Stories” [D2L]
F Sep. 4 “Leaf by Niggle” [D2L]
M Sep. 7 LABOR DAY HOLIDAY—NO CLASS
W Sep. 9 Brian Attebery, “Is Fantasy Literature? Tolkien and the Theorists”
F Sep. 11 Guest lecturer Brian Kenna on Tolkien’s biography and war service
M Sep. 14 The Hobbit, chapters 1-4
W Sep. 16 The Hobbit, chapters 5-6

original “Riddles in the Dark” chapter (D2L)

F Sep. 18 The Hobbit, chapters 7-9
M Sep. 21 The Hobbit, chapters 10-14
W Sep. 23 The Hobbit, chapters 15-19
F Sep. 25 The Hobbit (whole book, plus film adaptations)

J.R.R. Tolkien, “The Quest for Erebor”

John D. Rateliff, “The 1960 Hobbit”

M Sep. 28 The Fellowship of the Ring, Book One, foreword, prologue, and chapters 1-3
W Sep. 30 The Fellowship of the Ring, Book One, chapters 4-7
F Oct. 2 Tom Bombadil

The Encyclopedia of Arda: “Tom Bombadil” [Web]

Lord of the Rings Wiki: “Theories about Tom Bombadil” and linked pages [Web]

M Oct. 5 The Fellowship of the Ring, Book One, chapters 8-12

FINAL PAPER GUIDELINES DISTRIBUTED

W Oct. 7 Library Day #1—Meet at Raynor Library
F Oct. 9 The Fellowship of the Ring, Book Two, chapters 1-5
M Oct. 12 The Fellowship of the Ring, Book Two, chapters 6-8
W Oct. 14 Galadriel

Unfinished Tales: “The History of Galadriel and Celeborn” [D2L]

Robert Tally, “Galadriel, Witch-Queen of Lórien” [Web]

F Oct. 16 The Fellowship of the Ring, Book Two, chapters 9-10
M Oct. 19 The Two Towers, Book Three, chapters 1-4
W Oct. 21 The Two Towers, Book Three, chapters 5-7
F Oct. 24 MIDTERM BREAK
     
M Oct. 26 CONFERENCES—NO CLASS
W Oct. 28 The Two Towers, Book Three, chapters 8-11

Robert Tally, “Song of Saruman” [Web]

F Oct. 30 The Two Towers, Book Four, chapters 1-4
M Nov. 2 The Two Towers, Book Four, chapters 5-10
W Nov. 4 Orcs

Robert Tally, “Let Us Now Praise Famous Orcs” [D2L]

Richard K. Morgan, “The Real Fantastic Stuff” [Web]

N.K. Jemisin, “The Unbearable Baggage of Orcing” [Web]

F Nov. 6 Library Day #2—Meet at Raynor Library
M Nov. 9 The Return of the King, Book Five, chapters 1-6
W Nov. 11 The Return of the King, Book Five, chapters 7-10

Robin Reid, “Light (noun, 1) or Light (adjective, 14b)? Female Bodies and Femininities in The Lord of the Rings

F Nov. 13 CONFERENCES—NO CLASS

POST FINAL PAPER PROSPECTUS ON D2L AND COMMENT ON AT LEAST TWO OTHER STUDENTS’ PROSPECTUSES

M Nov. 16 The Return of the King, Book Six, chapters 1-3

Sean Crist, “Could the Eagles Have Flown Frodo into Mordor?” and responses

W Nov. 18 The Return of the King, Book Six, chapters 4-7
F Nov. 20 The Return of the King, Book Six, chapters 8-9

David M. Craig, “ ‘Queer Lodgings’: Gender and Sexuality in Lord of the Rings.

M Nov. 23 The Return of the King, appendices

J.R.R. Tolkien, “The Epilogue” [D2L]

J.R.R. Tolkien, “The New Shadow” [D2L]

W Nov. 25 THANKSGIVING—NO CLASS
F Nov. 27 THANKSGIVING—NO CLASS
M Nov. 30 The Silmarillion: “Ainulindalë,” “Valaquenta,” and Quenta Silmarillion, chapters 1-5
W Dec. 2 The Silmarillion: Quenta Silmarillion, chapters 6-12
F Dec. 4 The Silmarillion: Quenta Silmarillion, chapters 13-19
M Dec. 7 The Silmarillion: Quenta Silmarillion, chapters 20-24

J.R.R. Tolkien, “Notes on Motives in The Silmarillion” [Web]

W Dec. 9 The Silmarillion: “Akallabêth” and “On the Rings of Power and the Third Age”
F Dec. 11 Michael Saler, “The Middle Positions of Middle Earth”

LAST DAY OF CLASS

F Dec. 18 FINAL PAPERS DUE BY 1 PM

Written by gerrycanavan

August 31, 2015 at 9:49 pm

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