Tolkien 50th Anniversary Seminar Series

A series of free seminars to commemorate the death of J. R. R. Tolkien, to be held in 2023/2024 in the University of Oxford. The talks present an introduction and further background to Tolkien's life, work, and legacy. They have an academic approach, but they are also aimed at those who have read Tolkien's work but are interested in gaining a bit more insight into his life, career, and writings.

 

Hilary Term series

All seminars are on Friday afternoon, 4–5pm, in different venues as indicated below. Free access (no need to book).

Venues at Corpus Christi and the Classics Faculty have step-free access; to access the T.S. Eliot Lecture Theatre at Merton College one needs to go up and down some steps (please email julia.walworth@merton.ox.ac.uk if you need step-free access).

Week 1 – 19 January (MERTON COLLEGE T.S. ELIOT LECTURE THEATRE)
Mark Atherton (University of Oxford)
The Arkenstone and the Ring: wilful objects in Tolkien's The Hobbit’

Week 2 – 26 January (CORPUS CHRISTI COLLEGE AUDITORIUM)
Elena Vermeer (University of Oxford)
Tolkien's 'Sellic Spell' and Beowulfian Poetics: the Artist and the Critic

Week 3 – 2 February (MERTON COLLEGE T.S. ELIOT LECTURE THEATRE
Bond West (University of Oxford) 
Mr. Underhill: Topography and the Ring's Temptation

Week 4 – 9 February (CORPUS CHRISTI COLLEGE AUDITORIUM
Holly Ordway (Word on Fire Institute)
“Fundamentally religious and Catholic"? Authorial Intent and the Intentional Fallacy

Week 5 - 16 February (MERTON COLLEGE T.S. ELIOT LECTURE THEATRE)  
Dion Dobrzynski (University of Birmingham)
Ents and Ecological Entanglements

Week 6 - 23 February (FACULTY OF CLASSICS LECTURE THEATRE
John Garth (Writer and Journalist)
Inventing on the hoof: How the Riders of Rohan suddenly became Anglo-Saxon

Week 7 - 1 March (FACULTY OF CLASSICS LECTURE THEATRE
Eduardo Gutierrez (University of Oxford)
Tolkien Beyond Tolkien: Unleashing the Sub-Creative Imagination in an Era of Bridge Building

Week 8 – 8 March (CORPUS CHRISTI COLLEGE AUDITORIUM)
Anine Englund (University of Oxford) 
“In the halls of Mandos”: Death, Deathlessness and Inter-Racial Relations in Beren and Lúthien

Recordings of the seminars held in Michaelmas Term in Exeter College are now available here:

https://podcasts.ox.ac.uk/series/fantasy-literature

MT Series

  • 11th October: Stuart Lee – ‘How to write The Lord of the Rings’

  • 18th October: Michael Ward – ‘Peak Middle-earth: Why Mount Doom is not the Climax of The Lord of the Rings’

  • 1st November: Giuseppe Pezzini – ‘Tolkien and the Classics’ 

  • 8th November: Grace Khuri – ‘A Heroic History of the Elves: Tolkien’s “lost” Mythology of England?

  • 15th November: Laura Varnam – ‘Tolkien and Beowulf’

  • 22nd November:  Simon Horobin – ‘J.R.R. Tolkien: The Making of a Philologist’