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Call For papers: German Tolkien Society Seminar

The Tolkien Society’s sister-organisation, Deutsche Tolkien Gesellschaft (DTG), has released a call-for-papers for their forthcoming Seminar, to be held in Aachen, on 1-3 May 2015 in co-operation with the Institute for British, American, and Romance Studies at RWTH Aachen University.

The official call-for-papers said:

On Fairy-stories

In 1939, “On Fairy-stories,” Tolkien’s scientific study on fantastic literature, was published. It is, as Verlyn Flieger and Douglas Anderson point out in the introduction to their 2008 extended edition of the text, his “defining study of and the centre-point in his thinking about the genre, as well as being the basis for his fiction.” (p. 9) This 50-page text has proven to be canonical, an indispensable point of reference for anyone involved in the academic study of fantastic literature in general, or fantasy in particular. This puts the text on the same level of influence as the most important pertinent theoretical texts on the science of literature, such as Tzvetan Todorov’s “Introduction à la littérature fantastique” or Roger Caillois’s “Das Bild des Phantastischen.”

And yet, even though “On Fairy-stories“ is one of the most often quoted and most influential treatises on fantastic literature, there still remains the need for studies dealing with the ideas and concepts found within from a systematic as well as a multi-perspective point of view. The upcoming twelfth Tolkien Seminar of the German Tolkien Society is set to close this gap with a variety of papers.

We invite anyone to send in proposals for papers investigating the ideas in as well as the effects of “On Fairy-stories.” Possible papers might deal with the text’s role in literary history or the theoretical framework of the text; they might give consideration to cultural and historical aspects of the contemporary process of its inception, or take a look at its reception. Philosophical studies from an ontological or a speech-act theory point of view are as desirable as theological studies on the specifics of the metaphysics as elaborated on in the text. The range of possible topics also includes art-historical studies on Tolkien’s aesthetics; the type of functionalism developed in the text; and also psychological treatments dealing, for instance, with the concept of escapism presented by Tolkien. You are, of course, free to go beyond the thematic ideas suggested here and outline other positions from which to approach “On Fairy-stories.”

Conference languages will be English and German.

Please send your proposals, along with a short outline, to the editors of Hither Shore at

Deadline: 30 November 2014

About the Author: Shaun Gunner
Shaun is the Chair of The Tolkien Society. First elected in 2013, Shaun has overseen the Society's expansion from 600 to 3,500 members. Shaun regularly speaks about adaptations of Tolkien's works and the future of Tolkien scholarship whilst passionately believing the Society needs to reach out to new audiences. In his spare time he can be found playing video games and Lego, or on Twitter. He chaired another charity, Mankind, and is a local councillor.