The Mythgard Institute will be continuing their look at the life and works of J.R.R. Tolkien – while delving into new territory – by offering the course “The Making of Myth: C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien” this spring.  The 15-week course can be taken for master’s level credit or audited and will focus on examining the work of Tolkien and Lewis hand-in-hand.  The class will engage in a careful comparison of Lewis’ and Tolkien’s fiction, paying close attention to those moments when they are both exploring similar ideas or undertaking comparable literary enterprises.  Not only will the course look at what they shared in common, but will also examine their primary differences.  Books and essays to be discussed include but are not limited to The HobbitThe Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, “Ainulindale,” The Magician’s Nephew, “Leaf by Niggle,” Till We have Faces, “The Lost Road,” The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and “Smith of Wootton Major.” [Spring 2012 Courses]

“The Making of Myth” will be taught by well-known Tolkien scholar Dr. Corey Olsen, who is also known to Internet audiences as “The Tolkien Professor” for his hit iTunes podcasts and scholarly website on the subject.  He is currently writing a book titled Exploring The Hobbit, which will be published by Houghton Mifflin in September 2012.  Olsen teaches in the English Department at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland.

The second Spring course offered is “Taking Harry Seriously: The Artistry and Meanings of the Harry Potter Saga.“  This is a 15-week M.A. or audited rigorous examination of J.K. Rowling’s works, considering their structural form, thematic coherence, traditional symbolism, genre integrity, and their exploration of both postmodern and archetypal themes.  Also discussed will be the cultural phenomenon of the books, and both their unparalleled popularity and the various critical reactions to them.  Students can expect the booklist to not only include all 7 of the Harry Potter texts but also Beedle the Bard and Rowling’s “schoolbooks.”

“Taking Harry Seriously” will be taught by two leaders in the field of Rowling research.  Lecturer Amy H. Sturgis will be sharing the lectern with lecturer Travis Prinzi.  Sturgis is an author, speaker, and scholar of science fiction/fantasy studies and Native American studies.  Prinzi is the author of three books on Harry Potter and is a regular on the lecture circuit.

Registration for both courses closes Friday, January 13, 2012.

The Mythgard Institute in an online institute that offers challenging, engaging classes, taught by world-class teachers and leading scholars in order to provide students with new opportunities to study works by authors like Tolkien and Lewis seriously and with academic rigor, either for their own enrichment or towards the achievement of a degree.  The Institute offers literature courses at the master’s level and offers concentrations in areas such as Tolkien studies, medieval literature, and fantasy literature.  The Mythgard Institute is in the process of acquiring full certification and accreditation, and expects to be able to award MA’s in English literature by the spring of 2013.

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