ENGLISH 318: J. R. R. TOLKIEN

RICE UNIVERSITY, SPRING, 2000

(Next offered Spring, 2002)

1-2:20 TTH

(Rayzor Hall 110)

Dr. Jane Chance

J.R.R. Tolkien is now recognized as one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century for his masterpiece, The Lord of the Rings (written during a period from the end of the thirties to the early fifties). As an Oxford Professor and eminent medievalist, he wrote out of what he knew about Old English, Old Norse, and Middle English literature. As a contemporary of T.S. Eliot, George Orwell, Graham Greene, Evelyn Waugh, and other modernists, he wrote out of what he had lived through. The course will trace the tension between the exile--the wraecca--and the community, otherness and heroism, identity and marginalization, revenge and forgiveness.

To locate The Lord of the Rings within a broader historical and literary context, we will trace the development of Tolkien's art, beginning with The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings as a mythology for England and following up with The Silmarillion. Along the way we will investigate his works on fantasy and mythmaking, such as "Mythopoiea," "Leaf by Niggle," and "On Fairy-Stories." Clearly evident will be his interest in medievalnessóespecially the Old English Beowulf. Cassettes and films of and about Tolkien and his writings will supplement readings and discussions.

Requirements: Class attendance is mandatory; your grade will be based on class participation/quizzes AND a design-your-own contract (equivalent to 2 essays (5-7 pages each); see, for example, Student Web Pages; midterm and a final examination).

Previous Tolkien Syllabuses: Spring, 1998: J.R.R. Tolkien; Spring 1996 J.R.R. Tolkien

Texts (in order of reading) (Note: please select MOST RECENT EDITION in order for page numbers to match for in-class discussion):

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  • J. R. R. Tolkien, Letters, ed. Humphrey Carpenter (Houghton Mifflin) PR6039 .O32 Z481981

  • ______________. The Hobbit, rev. ed. (Ballantine, 1982; rpt. 1989)

  • E. Talbot Donaldson, trans. Beowulf (Norton), pb. PR1583 .D6 1966

  • J. R. R. Tolkien, Tolkien Reader, 2nd ed. (Ballantine, 1988), pb PR 6039.032T6 1966

  • ____________, The Fellowship of the Ring (Ballantine, 1986), pb

  • J. R. R. Tolkien, The Two Towers (Ballantine, 1988), pb

  • ____________, Unfinished Tales (Ballantine, 1988), pb

  • ____________, Return of the King (Ballantine, 1988), pb

  • The Silmarillion (Ballantine, 1985), pb. PR 6039 .O32 S5 1977

  • Recommended Outside Reading/Background:

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  • Beard, Henry N., and Douglas C. Kenney, Bored of the Rings: A Parody of J. R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings (Harvard Lampoon/NAL) PS3552.E16 B 6

  • Bloom, Harold, ed. Modern Interpretations of Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" (Chelsea), 1999
  • Day, David , Tolkien: The Illustrated Encyclopedia (Simon and Schuster, 1992), pb. PR6039.)32 Z634 1991

  • Fonstad, Karen Wynn, The Atlas of Middle-earth (Houghton Mifflin) G3122.M5 F6 1991

  • Foster, Richard, The Complete Guide to Middle-earth: From the Hobbit to the Silmarillion (Ballantine), pb. PR6039.O32 Z49 1993

  • Hammond, Wayne G., and Christina Scull, ed. J. R. R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator (Houghton Mifflin, 1997), pb. NG797.T64 H36 1995

  • Noel, Ruth, The Languages of Middle-earth (Houghton Mifflin), pb. PR6039.O32 Z715 1980

  • Readings (both required and recommended texts) will also be placed on reserve (See Below)
  • Syllabus:

    Introduction: Tolkienís Life and Times

    Week 1

    Jan. 18 Tues.

    <>Read Letters #43, 163, 199, 213

    <>1892-1911 The early years: South Africa, Mabel Tolkien, King Edwardís School, Father Francis Morgan, Edith Bratt

    1911-1920 Oxford University, Edith Bratt, WWI, the germ of "The Silmarillion"

    1920-25 Leeds University

    1925-1959 Oxford University: C.S. Lewis, the Inklings, and the Tolkien Family

    1917ff The "Lost Tales"

    1929-37 The Hobbit

    1937-1954 The Lord of the Rings

    1959-73 Retirement and the `Silmarillioní

    I. Tolkien as Exile: "I Am in Fact a Hobbit"

    Jan. 20 Thurs.The Origin of the Name "Hobbit" and the Structure of the Childrenís Story

    Read Tolkien, Letter #257

    Tolkien, The Hobbit, Chapters 1-10

    Week 2

    Jan. 25 Tues. The Heroism of Bilbo Baggins

    Read Tolkien, The Hobbit, Chapters 11-19

    Jan. 27 Thurs. Film: Tolkien Remembered Paper #1 Due

    Week 3

    Feb. 1 Tues. The Origins of Tolkienís Heroism: The Anglo-Saxon Beowulf

    Read Beowulf

    Feb. 3 Thurs. Exile and Heroism

    Tolkienís Recording of the Drama Tolkien, "Homecoming of Beorthnoth Beorthelmís Son"

    Read Tolkien, "Homecoming of Beorthnoth Beorthelmís Son" (in the Tolkien Reader, pp. 3-27) Paper #1 Due

    II. The Lord of the Rings

    Week 4

    Feb. 8 Tues. The Composition of LOTR and the Issue of Allegory

    Read Tolkienís "Foreword" and Fellowship, Chap. 1

    Letters #142, 215, 328; 129, 181, 203

    Feb. 10 Thurs. The Hobbit and the Fellowship

    Read Tolkien, Fellowship of the Ring, Book One

    Week 5

    Feb. 15 Tues. The Rings of Power and Power in Middle-earth

    Read Tolkien, Fellowship of the Ring, Book Two

    Feb. 17 Thurs. The Hobbit: The Development of Frodo as Hero

    Read Tolkien, Letters #191, 192, 24

    Week 6

    Feb. 22 Tues.Structure and Cartography: Tolkienís Maps of Middle-earth

    Read Karen Wynn Fonstad, Atlas of Middle-earth

    Feb. 24 Thurs. Religiosity and the Valar: The Elves, Galadriel

    Elven Songs Sung by Tolkien (from The Road Goes Ever On (Hand-out)

    Read the Chapter on Galadriel in Unfinished Tales, pp. 239-80

    Week 7

    Feb. 29 Tues. Saruman and his Adversaries: The Ents, the Lost Entwives, and the Entmoot

    Read The Two Towers, Book Three

    Tolkien's Reading of the Coming of the Ents (cassette)

    Mar. 2 Thurs. Midterm Examination

    Mar. 6-10 Midterm Break

    Week 8

    Mar. 14 Tues. Saruman and Gandalf: Two Wizards

    Read "Palantír" and "The Istari" in Unfinished Tales (On Reserve, PR 6039 O32U5 1980)

    Tolkien, Letter #246

    Mar. 16 Thurs. Gollum/Smeagol

    Read The Two Towers, Book Four

    Week 9

    Mar. 21 Tues. Male Society and Women: Eowyn and Shelob

    Read Return of the King, Book Five

    Mar. 23 Thurs. Aragorn and Providence, Determinism, and Free Will

    Week 10

    Mar. 28 Tues. War and Pacifism: Samwise Gamgee

    Read Return of the King, Book Six

    Mar. 30 Thurs. Spring Recess

    III. A Mythology for England: The Silmarillion

    Week 11

    April 4 Tues. The Return, "Home Again": On Fairy-Stories and Mythopoeia

    Read Tolkien, "On Fairy-Stories" (in the Reader), including "Mythopoeia" (Hand-out)

    April 6 Thurs. The Evolution of Arda and Language as its Seed: A Revolutionary Linguistic Aesthetic

    Read Silmarillion, "Ainulindale"; "Quenta Silmarillion, The History of the Silmarils," pp. 1-112

    Read Tolkien, Letters #131, 165, 186, 297

    Week 12

    April 11 Tues. Read Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion, The History of the Silmarils," pp. 113-316

    Read Tolkien, Letters #178, 180, 181, 211

    IV. Tolkien as Artist

    April 13 Thurs. Cinematic/Audio Adaptations: How Well Do They Work (Selections)?

    The Arthur Rankin, Jr. /Jules Bass Production of The Hobbit (1977) 76 mins. Voices by Orson Bean, Richard Boone, Hans Conried, John Huston, Otto Preminger, Theodore Bikel, Glenn Yarborough

    Week 13

    April 18-20 Cinematic/Audio Adaptations: How Well Do They Work (Selections) (cont.)

    The Arthur Rankin, Jr. /Jules Bass Production of The Return of the King (1979) 96 mins. (Voices by John Huston [Gandalf], Orson Bean [Frodo], Roddy McDowell Samwise], Theodore Bikel, William Conrad, Glenn Yarborough)

    Ralph Bakshiís Lord of the Rings (1978) 130 mins

    The BBC Recordings on Audio-Tape

    Johan de Meij, Symphony no. 1, "The Lord of the Rings"

    Paper #2 Due

    Week 14

    April 25 Tues. Tolkienís Artwork (Slide Lecture)

    Read Hammond and Scull, ed. Tolkien as Artist and Illustrator

    Read Tolkien, "Leaf by Niggle" (in the Reader)

    April 27 Thurs. Tolkien and Faërie: The Quest for God

    Final Examination

     

    On Reserve (in addition to works listed above):

    J.R.R. Tolkien, Book of Lost Tales PR6039.O32B6 1984

    ____________, Lays of Beleriand PR6039.O32 L3 1985

    ____________, The Old English Exodus PR1609.A3T6 1981

    ____________, Father Christmas Letters PR6039.O32F38 1991

    ____________, Lays of Beleriand PR6039.O32 L3 1985

    ____________, Lost Road and Other Writings PR6039.O32 L64 198

    ____________, Morgothís Ring: The Later Silmarillion, Part 1 PR6039.O32 M67 1933b

    ____________, Peoples of Middle-earth PR6039.O32 P41996

    ____________, Pictures N6797.T64 A4 1992

    ____________, Return of the Shadow PR6039.O32 L6374 1

    ____________, Sauron Defeated: The End of the Third Age PR6039.)32 L63743 1992b

    ____________, The Shaping of Middle-earth PR6039.O32 S461986b

    ____________, Treason of Isengard PR6039.O32 L6375 1

    ____________, Tree and Leaf PN3437 .T6 1965

    ____________, War of the Ring PR6039.O32L6377 1990b

    Carpenter, Humphrey, Tolkien: A Biography PR6039.O32 Z621977

    Chance, Jane, The Lord of the Rings: The Mythology of Power PR6039 .O32L6332 1992

    _______ (Nitzsche), Tolkienís Art: A Mythology for England PR6039 .O32Z698 1979

    Day, David, The Tolkien Companion PR6039.O32 Z49 1993b

    Donaldson, E.T., trans. Beowulf PR1583.D6

    Duriez, Colin, The J.R.R.Tolkien Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide to his Life, Writings, and the World of Middle-earth PR6039.032 Z639 1992

    Flieger, Verlyn, Splintered Light PR6039.O32 S5325 1983

    Giddings, Robert, J. R. R. Tolkien PR6039.O32 L6337 1982

    Goodknight, Glen, ed. Proceedings of the J. R. R. Tolkien Centenary Conference, 1992 PR6039.O32 Z6641995

    Gordon, R., Anglo-Saxon Poetry PR1508.G65

    Green, William, The Hobbit: A Journey into Maturity PR6039.032 Z646 1995

    Helm, Randel, Tolkienís World PR6039.O32 Z66

    Isaacs, Neil, and Rose Zimbardo, ed. Tolkien: New Critical Perspectives (Univ. Kentucky Press, 1981) PR6039.O32 Z85

    Johnson, Judith A., J.R.R. Tolkien: Six Decades of Criticism Z8883.45 .J631986

    W. Kilby, ed. Kalevala PH 324.E5 K5

    Shippey, T.A., The Road to Middle-Earth PR6039.O32 Z8241983

    Strachey, Barbara, Journeys of Frodo: An Atlas G3122.M5 S7 1992

    Swann, Donald, The Road Goes Ever On M1621.4 .S93

    Tolkien, John and Priscilla, The Tolkien Family Album PR6039.O32 Z845 1992

    Unwin, Rayner, The Making of the Lord of the Rings PR6039.O32 Z6386 1992

    Tolkien Remembered (videorecording) PR6039.032 Z855 1993

    Tyler, J.E.A., The Tolkien Companion PR6039 .O32 Z49

    West, Richard, Tolkien Criticism: An Annotated Checklist, 2nd ed. (Kent State, 1981) Z8883 .4S.W45 1981

    Selected Links: