Teen Book Study: Reading and Discussing J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion
In this 15-week class, we will dive into J.R.R. Tolkien’s dazzling book The Silmarillion, the mythology and history of Middle-earth. Perfect for fans of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit who want to learn about the First and Second Ages of Middle-earth. Taught by a teacher who wrote her masters thesis on Tolkien.
Rebecca Baumgarten, MA
25 total reviews for this teacher
2 reviews for this class
Completed by 3 learners
learners per class
$15 per class
Meets 1x per week
Over 15 weeks
60 minutes per class
Don't see a time that works for you?
Ever wondered the significance of Galadriel giving Gimli 3 hairs, or why Eärendil is the most beloved star of the Elves of Middle-earth, or how the Dark Lord Sauron became evil? If you’re like me, you finished The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings with these sorts of questions in mind. Then you heard about The Silmarillion and were so excited, you started it as soon as you could get your hands on it. But then you got lost amid the archaic style and unfamiliar names. Like journeying to...
In this course, students will learn to: • Define, explain, and give examples of eucatastrophe, dyscatastrophe, and subcreation • Analyze themes in a work of literature • Interpret an archaic style of writing • Draw thematic, historical, and typological parallels between The Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings
I am an adjunct professor of English composition at Collin College in northern Texas. I have a bachelors and masters in English and certificate in Digital Humanities from Texas A&M University. I wrote my thesis on Christianized Germanic heroism in Tolkien’s Middle-earth legendarium. I am also a member of the international Tolkien Society. I worked for three semesters as a graduate assistant teacher for undergraduate courses in literature and technical writing. I also have many years of experience working with children from freelance tutoring elementary through high school and volunteering with extracurricular activities.
Students must complete listed readings before class meetings. For example, week 1's reading should be completed before week 1's meeting. The number of pages varies, and both style and content tend to be quite intense. Reading should take no more than 2 hours per week.
Everyone must have a copy of the book. It is available at most libraries, but students may find it helpful to purchase a paperback copy so they can make notes in the pages. I assume familiarity with The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings books.
1 hour per week in class, and an estimated 1 - 2 hours per week outside of class.
Battles in The Silmarillion tend to be quite violent, but the book’s elevated style means they are never described in graphic detail. Many of the stories in this book are tragedies or contain themes of loss or mortality. “Of Túrin Turambar” especially is known for making readers cry. This is not grimdark fantasy, though; no matter how dark things get in Tolkien's writing, the Shadow remains a small and passing thing, and there is light and high beauty forever beyond its reach. Spoilers for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.
This is just a sampling of my reading background when it comes to The Silmarillion. The course itself will not be so rigorous. Croft, Janet Brennan. “Túrin and Aragorn: Evading and Embracing Fate.” Mythlore: A Journal of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Charles Williams, and Mythopoeic Literature, Vol. 29, No. 3, Article 11. 2011. dc.swosu.edu/mythlore/vol29/iss3/11. Flieger, Verlyn. Green Suns and Faërie: Essays on Tolkien. The Kent State University Press, 2021. Bookshare.org, downloaded 31 May 2020. ---. Splintered Light: Logos and Language in Tolkien’s World. The Kent State University Press, 2002. Bookshare.org, downloaded 2 Jul 2020. Gallant, Richard Z. “The Wyrdwrīteras’ of Elvish History: Northern Courage, Historical Bias, and Literary Artifact as Illustrative Narrative.” Mythlore: A Journal of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Charles Williams, and Mythopoeic Literature, Vol. 38, No. 2, Article 3. 2020. dc.swosu.edu/mythlore/vo138/iss2/3. Kelly, A. Keith and Michael Livingston. “Far Green Country: Tolkien, Paradise, and the End of All Things in Medieval Literature.” Mythlore 27:3/4, Spring/Summer 2009 Olson, Cory. “The Silmarillion Seminar.” The Tolkien Professor, . https://tolkienprofessor.com/lectures/courses/silmarillion-seminar/ Tolkien, J.R.R. The Hobbit. Ballantine Books, 1966. Bookshare.org, downloaded 10 Aug 2016. ---. The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, edited by Humphrey Carpenter and Christopher Tolkien, George Allen and Unwin, 1981. Bookshare.org, downloaded 10 Aug 2016. ---. The Lord of the Rings. HarperCollins Publishers, 1973. Bookshare.org, downloaded 10 Aug 2016. ---. The Monsters and the Critics: And Other Essays, edited by Christopher Tolkien. HarperCollins, 2006. Bookshare.org, downloaded 10 Aug 2016. ---. The Silmarillion, edited by Christopher Tolkien, Houghton Mifflin, 2004. Bookshare.org, downloaded 10 Aug 2016. Whitt, Richard J. “Germanic Fate and Doom in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion.” Mythlore: A Journal of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Charles Williams, and Mythopoeic Literature, Vol. 29, No. 1, Article 8. 2010. dc.swosu.edu/mythlore/vol29/iss1/8.
Rebecca Baumgarten, MA
The Wonder of Words
🇺🇸Lives in the United States
25 total reviews
33 completed classes
My name is Rebecca Baumgarten. I have a bachelor’s and master’s in English from Texas A&M University, focusing on the fiction and scholarship of J.R.R. Tolkien. I am an adjunct professor of English at Collin College in north Texas, where I teach...