Approaches to Teaching Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and Other Works is a volume of essays published by the MLA (Modern Language Association) in their Approaches to Teaching World Literature series. The book, to be released tomorrow, August 1st, is edited by Leslie Donovan, and contains essays on teaching Tolkien’s works in various programs and course levels. I’m planning to post the Table of Contents as soon as I can get my hands on a copy.
I have an essay in the book, “Teaching Tolkien in the First-Year Literature Survey Course,” which is based on my experience in teaching a section of English 1171 in my department here at Mount Saint Vincent University. In this course, I teach Tolkien’s Fellowship of the Ring in the context of other works in the English literary tradition. (For an upper-level course dealing with more of Tolkien’s works, you can check out my English 4475: Tolkien and Myth-making webpage).
Associated with the release of this book is a new digital journal for Tolkien teachers: Waymeet for Tolkien Teachers: a digital journal for teaching J.R.R. Tolkien’s works and life in post-secondary schools. The journal is starting to gather materials under links for Syllabi, Class Materials, Online Resources, Articles, Publications, and a discussion Forum. In the journal you can find the syllabus for my 2014 version of English 1171, “Introduction to Literature: Reading Historically.” The journal also contains my research paper assignment from that class, simply titled “100-level research paper” under the Class Materials > Formal Assignments link.
Take a look at the rich resources already being posted on Waymeet: materials on teaching Tolkien’s works in courses on medieval and modern studies, myth, war, children’s literature, science. I think that this journal and the MLA book will become a valuable source of inspiration, tips, techniques, and materials for anyone teaching Tolkien’s works in universities and colleges. I’m definitely looking forward to browsing through the materials before my next round of teaching Tolkien.
You can pre-order the Approaches to Teaching book from Amazon in the US, Canada, or the UK or from the MLA bookstore.