Monday, May 12, 2014


Welcome to the class blog for ENGL 350: Tolkien and Language, Summer Session I 2014 at Rhode Island College. Have a look around! This blog and its resources will be updated constantly -- things will be added, changed, and expanded as the course progresses.  Each week, we will have one or two posts keyed to new texts, themes, and online resources; a central part of the course is your response to each of these posts. You should feel free to comment on any aspect of the topic, and to respond to each other's posts as well.

Because this is a hybrid class, we'll only be meeting in person roughly two days per week; once we've had a chance to look at everyone's schedules, we'll choose the dates that work best for the most students.  It's a new approach, and an exciting one, and I'm looking forward to it immensely.

Our focus this summer will be on Tolkien and language -- not just his many invented languages (Quenya, Sindarin, Khuzdul, Westron) but the formative role of language generally in his sub creation, , including languages that Tolkien drew from in constructing his own (Old Norse, Finnish, Welsh, Irish, and Gothic). No previous background in linguistics or other languages is needed; the course will give you all the context you'll need, beyond an acquaintance with Tolkien's books and/or their many adaptations.

Our recommended texts will include Elizabeth Solopova's Languages, Myths and History: An Introduction to the Linguistic and Literary Background of J. R. R. Tolkien's Fiction and Verlyn Flieger’s Splintered Light: Logos and Language in Tolkien's World (2nd ed.), along with of course, Tolkien's works themselves, particularly The Lord of the Rings.

I look forward to meeting every one of you at our first class -- Elen sila lumenn' omentielvo!

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