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I have titled this group "The Tolkien Screen" because we shall be using Tolkien's mythical imagination to filter all our callers. When we are through, hopefully when ruinous influences come a-knockin', we'll have papa Tolkien to bounce them right out the door. Hopefully we will also have a greater sensitivity to and desire for what is good and beautiful. We shall consent ourselves to be led, like Dante, through dark, through light, and through their admixtures, both fair and foul.

We will, of course, be looking at the literature itself as an art as well, and none better to teach us--particularly in English--than Tolkien. The reasons for this will be clearer as we move along.

The material I use will be mostly primary, though I'll have some suggestions as to secondary literature. The first thing we will read is the first chapter in The Silmarillion, along with a short story "Leaf: By Niggle." We will read at least one other short story by Tolkien, but I haven't decided which yet. The primary text will be (predictably) Lord of the Rings, but I believe we need at least some reading from the Silmarillion to subsidize LOTR. It might also be good to have Tolkien's letters.

The course of the course I've not settled on yet--whether it will be organized thematically or simply work by work, chapter by chapter. Perhaps both at once. I think in any case, we will not begin in earnest until mid-August at the earliest, possibly early September--Bilbo and Frodo's birth-month (the 22nd).

This group was suggested by Mrs. T., and if any of her homeschoolers wander here, they are very welcome. For my own friends, I say, "What are you doing here, you reprobates?!?!" I will also say that I, like Tolkien, am Catholic and as such will neither knowingly contradict the dogmatic and magisterial teaching of the Church, nor encourage any such contradiction in others.

Good summer, everyone! Hope it prepares you to suffer better!

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  • 4
  • Tolkien, J.R.R.
  • May 31, 2008
  • English

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