Professor Tom Shippey and Nelson Goering will be teaching an online course with the Mythgard Institute on Tolkien and Beowulf. Classes for “Beowulf Through Tolkien, And Vice Versa” will run from 13 January to 3 April 2015.
For more information, and to enroll, visit the Mythgard website.
The course synopsis:
Tolkien’s involvement with Beowulf was lifelong. His 1936 lecture to the British Academy on “the Monsters and the Critics” has been said to be the most-cited academic paper of all time, in the humanities. But he also lectured to undergraduates until he retired in 1957 – and then Oxford asked him back for a repeat course in 1963. Some of his views appeared posthumously in 1982 (Finn and Hengest), and more came out with his translation and partial commentary in 2014. They cast much unexpected light on the poem, but at the same time the poem, as read by Tolkien, casts unexpected light on his own fiction. We know literally nothing about the author of Beowulf, and what we can safely infer is not much. But to Tolkien, he was a kindred spirit. Reading Tolkien and Beowulf together, and reading each through the other, is an illuminating experience. This is the first course ever to try to do so, and it will be taught by a professor equally prominent as a Tolkienian and a Beowulfian.
Daniel is an Officer without Portfolio and Trustee of The Tolkien Society. Elected in 2014, he is mainly responsible for the Society’s digital operations, including this website.