As the summer winds down, I’d like to take this opportunity to go over a few housekeeping items worth mentioning.
Travis Prinzi, one of the leading Harry Potter scholars and proprietor of the Hog’s Head, kindly invited me to join the pub’s prestigious Blogengamot, a collection of scholars and bloggers who post on that terrific website about anything and everything related to fantasy literature and the imagination in the arts. I’ve been a long-time fan/lurker/occasional commenter, and it’s thrilling to get the chance to join in the discussion as an official member. My first post was a modified version of my piece on the newly-announced Twelfth Doctor. Click here to read my post at the Hog’s Head and see what other goodies they have in store for you while you’re there. As a member of their team, I have freedom to post on anything that strikes my fancy, so I can’t wait to become a more intimate part of their discussion.
Fall 2013 Courses at the Mythgard Institute are now open for enrollment. There are some truly exciting offerings this time around. Dr. Amy Sturgis will be teaching on the literature of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Verlyn Flieger will instruct a course on Tolkien’s use of his traditional source material, incorporating his recently-published long poem The Fall of Arthur. I have taken courses with both of these estimable ladies in the past, and my admiration for them as scholars and teachers knows no limits. However, this time around my choice was simple. When I first read The Lord of the Rings at age 15, one of the things I did immediately following was to read Tom Shippey’s seminal works on Tolkien: The Author of the Century and The Road to Middle-earth. It was Shippey who explained to me my love for Tolkien. I already knew I loved his work — Shippey helped me to understand why. Ever since there has been a part of me that has wanted to work with, nay, be Dr. Shippey. I’ve had the privilege to listen to several lectures by him through Mythgard, and even interact with him on the message boards. This Fall, however, he will be teaching a course entirely devoted to Philology seen through the lens of Tolkien. Believe me when I say this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. If ever there was a course I as a Tolkien nut had to take, this is it. I have no idea what to expect, but I am beyond excited. I hope you’ll all check out the links and consider joining in the fun, either as a full student or an auditor. If you don’t know what philology is about, there is really no better introduction than through Tolkien. Watch Dr. Shippey’s promotional video to hear it in his own words.
In other Mythgard news, Summer 2013 course packs are now available: Dr. Olsen and Dr. Shippey talk Tolkien’s lesser-known and minor works in Beyond Middle-earth, and Dr. Sturgis follows up her excellent science fiction surveys with The Dystopian Tradition.
Abstract proposals for Mythgard’s second annual conference, Mythmoot, are due this Sunday August 18th. Check out the CFP which invites talks on the fantasy genre in any and every medium including literature, film, TV, and even gaming. I’m working on my proposal now which I’ll share here if and when it gets accepted. In any case, I’m definitely planning to attend the conference in December: If it’s anything like as much fun as last year’s we’ll have a blast.
If you (like me) love getting new content on all types of geeky, story-loving topics, then consider supporting Mythgard’s fundraising campaign. The more everyone contributes, the more free content we’ll get. Follow the link to watch Dr. Olsen’s campaign video in which he explains how this new initiative from the Mythgard Academy will work.
Finally, we are up to episode 11 in Kat and Curt’s TV Re-View. This week’s episode rounds off the first epic two-parter from the brilliant Steven Moffat (“The Doctor Dances”) and gives us one of the best and scariest episodes from Buffy’s first season: “Nightmares.” Listen and comment!