Reading The Lord of the Rings

Spring 2021
Junior - Senior
Class Size: 25
4 Credits per quarter
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The Lord of the Rings (LOTR).The Hobbit.Reader’s CompanionLOTRThe central aim of this course is to provide students with the resources and support that they need to develop a detailed understanding of one of the foundational works of modern fantasy literature: J.R.R. Tolkien's  As a means of entry into the geographical, mythological, and dramatic complexities of Tolkien’s Middle Earth, we will begin with a careful study of Douglas Anderson’s annotated edition of We will devote the rest of the quarter to reading, rereading, reciting, and analyzing Tolkien’s prose epic, supplementing it with the extensive critical, historical, and biographical materials presented in Wayne Hammond and Christina Scull’s .  We will also take a clear-eyed and impartial look at some of the problems and controversies surrounding , including fiercely negative reviews by early critics. Our work will include writing assignments and workshops appropriate to our aims, and will culminate in a modest final project of each student’s choice.

PLEASE NOTE: While long-time readers of the novel (or fans of the films) are of course welcome, students who are new to the novel or to Tolkien’s work in general are highly encouraged to enroll.

Expect a fun and engaging class that will keep you on your toes!

To participate successfully in this program, students will need a consistent high-speed internet connection and a reliable laptop computer or tablet.   Expect 3.5 hours of Zoom contact time per week; we will also make use of Canvas in conducting the program.  The faculty will offer alternative assignments, as appropriate, if conditions prevent students from attending some of our online meetings.



This program is designed primarily for students with previous studies in literature and with strong reading, writing, and communication skills.

Spring 2021 Registration

Course Reference Numbers

Jr - Sr (4): 30111

Academic details

Fields of Study
Preparatory For

literature, humanities, education, and any other field where solid reading, writing, collaborative, and critical-thinking skills are prized.

Maximum Enrollment
Class Standing


Time Offered
Schedule Evergreen link
see Schedule Evergreen for detailed schedule

First Meeting