January 1

Day 1

Basic Reading: 

    The Silmarillion: From a Letter by J.R.R. Tolkien to Milton Waldman, 1951
    *This selection will be read over the course of three days, so read about a third of the letter today.

Supplementary Reading:

  • Background: 

    • The Silmarillion: Foreword & Preface

    • On Fairy-Stories  (This essay can be found in The Tolkien Reader under “Tree and Leaf”)

             *This is a lengthy essay. You may want to read part of it tomorrow, since the Supplementary   

               Reading for January 2 is much shorter.

Enrichment Activities:

  • Maps: 

    • Modern Europe: England, Greece, Britain, Germany, Finland, Italy, Aegean Sea

  • Other: Look up biographical information about J.R.R. Tolkien. Consider the role the Inklings played in the development of his writing and the Middle-Earth mythology. (Click here for Wikipedia.)

Discussion Questions:

    1. What were some of the sources of inspiration for the development of the mythology?
    2. Tolkien expresses a dislike for allegory. How is his mythology different from allegory? Do you see any similarities?
    3. What does Tolkien’s essay On Fairy-Stories reveal about his approach to the Middle-Earth stories?


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