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Call for Papers: Tolkien Society Seminar 2022 – “Tolkien and the Gothic”

We are now calling for papers for the Tolkien Society 2022 Seminar, on the theme of Tolkien and the Gothic, which will be a hybrid event held online and in-person at the Hilton Hotel, Leeds on 3rd July 2022.

Tolkien and the Gothic

Sunday 3rd July (Hybrid event) Hilton Hotel, Leeds

Tolkien’s engagement with the Gothic is not as straightforward as one may assume. His earliest understanding of the word and the language of the Goths can be traced to his reading of Joseph Wright’s A Primer of the Gothic Language (1892). His early fascination with Gothic consequently fed his own experimentations with language creation and legendarium.

However, his prose and poetry show a clear awareness of the Gothic literary tradition that had previously captured the imaginations of eighteenth and nineteenth century writers. Beyond his writing, Gothic influences can be found in Tolkien’s life: from the European fascination with Gothic architecture to the physical and psychological terrors of the Great War.

The seminar aims to explore the ways that Tolkien engaged with the various applications of the Gothic and how this in turn has influenced creative engagements with Tolkien.

Papers may consider, but are not limited to:

  • The Gothic literary tradition in Tolkien’s work
  • Tolkien’s work with the Gothic language
  • Biographical influences of Gothic architecture and the Great War
  • The Gothic in Tolkien art and illustrations
  • Gothic complexities when translating Tolkien

The Tolkien Society invites abstract submissions of no more than 300 words, for a 20-minute paper and 5 minutes of questions. Submissions can be made here should be submitted before end of day, Friday 1st April.


The seminar will be free for all attendees (both online and in-person). You will be able to sign up to attend the seminar soon.

About the Seminar

The Tolkien Society Seminar is a short conference of both researcher-led and non-academic presentations on a specific theme pertaining to Tolkien scholarship. The Society held three seminars in 2021 (Twenty-first Century Receptions of Tolkien, Tolkien and Diversity, and Translating and Illustrating Tolkien) and their online setting has seen increased interest with over 700 attendees from 52 countries at ‘Tolkien and Diversity’. After the seminar, all paper recordings from the seminars are uploaded onto the Tolkien Society’s YouTube channel. We are delighted to be running a hybrid seminar where speakers and audience can enjoy discussions on Tolkien in person and online.

International Medieval Congress

There will be seven Tolkien-related sessions at the IMC in 2022:

  • J. R. R. Tolkien: Medieval Roots and Modern Branches (Monday 4 July: 11.15-12.45)
  • Tolkien and Medieval Poets: A Session in Memory of Richard C. West  (Monday 4 July: 14.15-15.45)
  • Tolkien as a Gateway to Interdisciplinary Teaching: A Round Table Discussion (Monday 4 July: 19.00-20.00)
  • Borders between Life and Death in Tolkien’s Legendarium (Wednesday 6 July: 09.00-10.30)
  • Family, Orientation, Transgression, and Crossing Borders of Middle-earth (Wednesday 6 July: 11.15-12.45)
  • Crossing Borders in Middle-earth (Thursday 7 July: 11.15-12.45)

Visit Dr Andrew Higgins’ blog for more information.

About the Author: Will Sherwood
Will is the Education Secretary for the Tolkien Society. A PhD candidate at the University of Glasgow and ex-teacher, Will is passionate about building relationships between the Society and educational institutes across the globe. He welcomes communications looking to engage with Tolkien's life and works.