The Tolkien Society Seminar 2017
2 July 2017
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Hilton Leeds City
The speakers and chair at the Seminar last year

The Tolkien Society Seminar 2017 will be held on 2 July in Leeds at the Hilton Leeds City.

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About the Seminar

Blessed are the legend-makers with their rhyme

Of things not found within recorded time

J.R.R. Tolkien, Mythopoeia

The Tolkien Society Seminar 2017 is a full-day of academic of talks and panel discussions on the theme of Poetry and Song in Tolkien’s works. It comes in the wake of the recent publication of the poetical Lay of Aotrou and Itroun and Beren and Lúthien.

The date of the Seminar has been chosen to coincide with the Leeds International Medieval Congress, which runs 3–6 July. This year the IMC features an unprecedented number of talks and panels on Tolkien. For further information, please visit the IMC 2017 website.



Name Title
Brad Eden The scholar as minstrel: Music as a conscious/subconscious theme in Tolkien’s poetry
Michaela Hausmann Lyrics on Lost Lands – Constructing Lost Places through Poetry in J. R. R. Tolkien’s
The Lord of the Rings
Andrew Higgins Poetry and Language Invention: The Interconnected Nature of Tolkien’s The Qenya Lexicon and His Early Poetry
Penelope Holdaway Fair and Perilous: The Women of Tolkien’s non-Middle-earth Lays and Legends
Bertrand Bellet
Aurelie Bremont
Dimitra Fimi
Tolkien and Breton poetry:  What layers lie behind Tolkien’s lays?
Stuart Lee Tolkien and The Battle of Maldon
Kristine Larsen “Diadem the Fallen Day”: Astronomical and Arboreal Motifs in the Poem “Kortirion Among the Trees”
Szymon Pindur The magical and reality-transforming function of Tolkien’s songs and verse creations
Irina Metzler Singing the World into Being: The Creative Power of Song in Tolkien’s Legendarium and Real-World Mythology
Massimiliano Izzo In search of the Wandering Fire: otherworldly imagery in The Song of Ælfwine
Anna Smol Seers and Singers: Sub-creative Collaborators in Tolkien’s fiction

An informal innmoot – a visit to a local pub – will be held on the Saturday evening from 18:00 at the Scarborough Hotel.

The Seminar itself will begin with registration from 9:00 on the Sunday morning, and the first paper will commence at 9:30. The day will come to a close at around 17:00.

The Speakers

Bradford Lee Eden is Dean of Library Services at Valparaiso University.  He has a masters and Ph.D. degrees in musicology, as well as an MS in library science. His recent books include Middle-earth Minstrel:  Essays on Music in Tolkien (McFarland, 2010); The Associate University Librarian Handbook:  A Resource Guide (Scarecrow Press, 2012); Leadership in Academic Libraries:  Connecting Theory to Practice (Scarecrow Press, 2014), The Hobbit and Tolkien’s Mythology:  Essays on Revisions and Influences (McFarland, 2014), and the ten-volume series Creating the 21st-century academic library (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015-17).  He is also editor of the Journal of Tolkien Research.

Michaela Hausmann is a research assistant and lecturer in English Literary Studies at the University of Vechta (Germany). She currently writes her PhD thesis on embedded poems in fantasy narratives of the 19th and 20th century. Her research interests include narratology, fantasy literature, Romantic, Victorian and early twentieth-century literature, literary constructions of space as well as film studies.

Andrew Higgins is a part-time PhD student at the School of Education at Cardiff Metropolitan University. Andrew’s research focuses on the genesis of Tolkien’s mythology (1906 – 1920) with specific emphasis on Tolkien’s linguistic invention and his creative reuse of medieval and contemporary sources. He has presented in international conferences on Tolkien studies and has conducted archival research for his thesis. He is currently the Director of Development at Glyndebourne where he leads a team responsible for funding the Glyndebourne opera festival and related tour and educational activities. He has recently co-edited A Secret Vice (HarperCollins, 2016) with Dimitra Fimi. Andrew has been a member of the UK Tolkien Society since 2007.

Penelope Holdaway has her Masters degree in English Language and Literature from Signum University. Currenty Penelope is a second-year PhD student at Cardiff Metropolitan University. She is researching Tolkien’s changing conception of Faerie over his lifetime by analysing his non-Middle-Earth poetry through the eyes of Faerie lore. Her supervisor is Dr Dimitra Fimi. She has presented in the past at Mythcon in 2014, at the Oxonmoot in 2016 and at the departmental seminars at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

Bertrand Bellet works as a medical and social information scientist in Paris. He discovered Tolkien’s works in the late 1990s and has since been especially interested in their linguistic aspects: style, poetry, translational matters, and invented languages. He is to publish a French translation of The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun in the fourth issue of La Feuille de la Compagnie, a collection of Tolkien studies edited by Michaël Devaux. He has also translated Old and Middle English poems important to Tolkien such as The Wanderer, The Seafarer and Sir Orfeo. He has written some articles about invented languages for Tengwestië and Arda Philology. He and Benjamin Babut are the authors of Glǽmscrafu, a website that illustrates Tolkien’s fictional and inspirational languages and scripts by sample texts with audio records, translations and transcriptions. He is a member of the French associations Tolkiendil and Le Dragon de Brume.

Aurelie Bremont is a translator and French independent scholar with the Centre for English Medieval Studies in La Sorbonne, Paris. She completed her PhD on Tolkien and Celtic Heritage (Mythological, Medieval and Literary Celtic Influences in Middle-earth) in 2009 and has since participated in a number of French publications and congresses, before entering international waters in 2015 at the IMC and 2016 at the Tolkien Society with a paper on Irish immortality. 2016 was also the year when she translated Tom Shippey’s Author of the Century in French and resumed work with Michael Devaux and Bertrand Bellet on the next instalment of the French Feuille de la Compagnie on the Lay of Aotrou and Itroun.

Dimitra Fimi is a lecturer in English at Cardiff Metropolitan University, Wales, and specialist on J.R.R. Tolkien and fantasy literature. She also lectures on science fiction, children’s literature and myth and folklore. Her recent publications include an edition of Tolkien’s A Secret Vice (HarperCollins, 2016) and a monograph on Celtic Myth in Contemporary Children’s Fantasy (Palgrave, 2017).

Stuart Lee is a member of the English Faculty and Merton College, and Deputy CIO at the University of Oxford. His research and teaching focus on Old English, World War One literature, and the fiction of J.R.R. Tolkien.

Kristine Larsen is a Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the Central Connecticut State University. She regularly writes about the astronomy and cosmology of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth.

Szymon Pindur is a student at the University of Silesia, Poland where he studies English Philology translation studies with Chinese. He was born on 15th of February 1996 in Siemianowice Śląskie, Poland. His father chose to speak to him only in English ever since he was born. That has kindled his love for languages and literature, which later led to one of the greatest discoveries in his life, namely J.R.R. Tolkien. He fell in love with Professor Tolkien’s works at a very young age, as he read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings at the beginning of his primary school. Throughout his school years he became gradually interested in all things related to Tolkien and his writing. The love of languages combined with the passion for Tolkien led him to choose to study English philology in which he hopes to pursue an academic career in the future.

Irina Metzler is a leading expert on cultural, religious and social aspects of physical disability in the European Middle Ages. In her first book-length study of the topic, she has combined the approaches of modern Disability Studies with historical sources to investigate the intellectual framework within which medieval cultures positioned physically impaired persons. A second monograph on social and economic conditions of medieval disability followed, with a third book on intellectual disability in the Middle Ages completing the trilogy. Her wider research interests revolve around medieval notions of history and the past, perceptions of the natural world in the Middle Ages (in particular cats as ambiguous animals), and historical anthropology, topics on which she has published a number of articles in both English and German journals.

Anna Smol is Professor of English at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, where she teaches courses on medieval literature, medievalism, and Tolkien. Her research on Tolkien has appeared in publications such as Mythlore, Modern Fiction Studies, the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia, and Tolkien Studies (forthcoming), as well as in edited collections such as The Body in Tolkien’s Legendarium and Approaches to Teaching Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and Other Works. She blogs at

Massimiliano Izzo, born and raised in Genoa, Italy,  currently lives in Oxford, where he is employed as a Research Software Engineer in Tolkien’s very same university. In his free time he enjoys playing air guitar, listening to old school hard’n’heavy music, and reading all things fantastic, mythological, and Tolkienesque. Member of the Tolkien Society since 2015, he acted as a speaker at the Tolkien Seminars 2016 with the contribution “Recurrent patterns of the Fall in Tolkien’s legendarium.”


Bookings can be made online. Registration costs £25 for members and £30 for non-members.

Registration includes refreshments throughout the day, catered breaks and sandwiches for lunch.

By booking for the Seminar you agree to the events terms and conditions.

The Venue

Hilton Leeds City, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4BX

The hotel is roughly three minutes from Leeds train station. Leave the station via the main exit near Marks and Spencers. Cross the road via the pedestrian crossing and go down the staircase to the right of the taxi rank. At the bottom of the stairs take a right and continue along the road and under the recently refurbished railway bridge. Hilton Leeds City is located approximately 200m on the right.