Leeds is the place to be next week for Tolkien talks

Although I wish I could be in Leeds this coming week to see friends and attend Tolkien sessions in person, I will be settling for the next best thing, zooming in from home. Two events occur annually in Leeds, and this year they are both in hybrid formats: the Tolkien Society Seminar on Sunday, July 3, and then a series of papers at the International Medieval Congress from July 4 – 7.

Tolkien Society

Tolkien Society Seminar: Tolkien and the Gothic

The Tolkien Society Seminar is free — more information is here. If you miss registering for the event, you will eventually be able to see the papers on the Society’s YouTube channel. This year’s theme is Tolkien and the Gothic. A keynote will be given by Nick Groom speaking about “Eldritch Tolkien: The Impossible Complexities of a Gothic Middle-earth.” The other presenters are as follows (times are listed on the Tolkien Society Seminar 2022 page).

  • Victoria Holtz, Encountering the Undead: They will Not Leave You Unscathed
  • Mahdî Brecq, Tolkien’s Gothic: a poetic resurgence?
  • Steven Brehe, Speculations: The Influence of Bram Stoker’s Dracula upon Tolkien
  • Sofia Skeva, (Re-)Writing The (Monstrous) Body in 20th Century Fantasy Literature: The Construction of the Stranger in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings
  • Andrew Higgins, ‘Mommie Dearist’ An Exploration of an Intriguing Tolkienian Gothic Crux
  • Duane Watson, “The forest is queer” – The Fantastic and the Gothic in The Lord of the Rings
  • Journee Cotton, The Gothic and Environmental Bioethics: The ‘Creepy’ Bodies of Middle-earth
  • Giovanni Carmine Costabile, “Where now Bucephalus and the proud Eormanric?” – The interplay of Gothic and Classical references as a tacit background behind “The Wanderer”, Tolkien’s Anglo-Saxon source
  • Michael Dunn, Tolkien’s Triptych: Ecological Uncanny, Double Dualism Personified, and the Language of the Literary Gothic
  • Kristine Larsen, Beware Melkors Bearing Gifts: The “Tale of Adanel” as Gothic Fiction

International Medieval Congress

Registration for the IMC closed some time ago, but if you’re interested in seeing what Tolkien scholars are talking about, I’ve included the schedule of papers below. Of course, if you’ve registered, you can take in these sessions online or in person. The full IMC schedule, from July 4 – 7, can be found on the Congress webpage. The following Tolkien sessions were organized by Andrew Higgins and the Centre for Fantasy & the Fantastic, School of Critical Studies, University of Glasgow.


J.R.R. Tolkien: Medieval Roots & Modern Branches

  • Andrzej Wicher, An Attempt to Re-Examine the Dialectic of the East and the West in Tolkien’s Selected Works
  • Victoria-Holtz Wodzak, Of Dust Motes, Trees, and Golden Flowers: Tolkien and Duns Scotus’ Haeccitas.
  • Andrew Higgins,, Glossopoeia through Letter Writing: The Role of Early Reader and Author Responses in the Development of the Elvish Languages

Tolkien and Medieval Poets: A Session in Memory of Richard West

  • Andoni Cossio, The Revivalist Critic and the Alliterative Poet: An Unexpected Collaboration
  • James Tauber, Computing the Interlace Structure of The Lord of the Rings
  • Kristine Larsen, ‘Pearls’ of Pearl: Medieval Appropriations in Tolkien’s Mythology

Tolkien as a Gateway to Interdisciplinary Teaching: A Roundtable Discussion
This roundtable discussion will feature talks by teachers on how they have used the works of Tolkien to introduce and engage students with new fields of study and disciplines. Participants include Andrew Higgins, Deidre Dawson, Dimitra Fimi.


Borders between Life and Death in Tolkien’s Legendarium

  • Cami Agan, Memories of Borders: On the Borders of Memory – Beleriand as Elegiac Landscape
  • Amy Amendt-Raduege, Beyond the Circles of the World
  • Gaëlle Abaléa, Undead or Undying: Limits of Immortality in Tolkien’s Work

Family, Orientation, Transgression, and Crossing Borders of Middle-earth

  • Deidre Dawson, Tolkien’s Orphaned Heroes
  • Yvette Kisor, Chrononormativity and Queer Time: Crossing Temporal Borders in Tolkien’s Middle-earth
  • Alke Haarsma-Wisselink, ‘Finding out what lies beyond the borders of the Shire’: Applying Tolkien’s Fantastic Texts in and to Madness – The Transgressive Experience of Psychotic Thinking
  • Olivia-Kate Burgham, ‘Lay your head in my lap’: Homoerotic Tension and Possibility on Mordor’s Border in The Lord of the Rings


Crossing Borders in Middle-earth

  • Aslı Bülbül, Light: The Key to Cross the Spatiotemporal Borders in J. R. R. Tolkien’s Secondary World
  • Sara Brown, Interrogating the Liminal Space: Vampires and Werewolves in Middle-Earth
  • Aurelie Bremont, Time Travel, Astronomy, and Magic Mirrors: How the Borders between Reality and the Otherworld in Middle- Earth Are Influenced by Celtic Mythology and Science (Fiction)

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