The University of Illinois has just announced a topic for its Engaged Citizenship Common Experience Speakers Series. On July 17, 2012, it will present Sanctifying Myths: The currency of class, gender, and courage in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings & Peter Jackson’s films.
Dr Donna Bussell, PhD, will highlight Tolkien’s understanding of the spiritual and cultural work of mythology and manifestations of courage in major characters such as Frodo, Sam, Arwen and Aragorn.
Her talk also explores the importance of minor characters whose roles (and lower status) reveal much about the nature of courage in relation to class and gender in the story. Bussell concludes with a few thoughts on how these ideas are (or are not) treated in Jackson’s films, and the implications of these revisions for the transmission of Tolkien’s ideals.