This Literature/Philosophy course will be taught by Dr. Anthony Cirilla, and will run from January 8th through March 16th. The syllabus will be posted when available.
The course will explore Tolkien’s Silmarillion from the standpoint of medieval theology and philosophy woven into the background, including Boethius and Thomas Aquinas. We will also read some of Tolkien’s non-fiction, including his essay on Beowulf and “On Fairy Stories,” and give consideration to the Silmarillion as background for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings but also as a potent work in its own right.
This course contends that not only did Tolkien offer a powerful modern mythology in The Silmarillion, the labor of a lifetime, but that the work as a whole offers a philosophical commentary on post-Enlightenment streams of thought. From the opening myth of the Ainulindale to the incomplete narrative of the Numenoreans, Tolkien’s Silmarillion offers the philosophical insights of a medievalist, critiquing both Enlightenment and Romantic thought through a tapestry of narratives rich with potent epistemic implications. Unraveling these implications will be the labor of the class.
Dr. Anthony G. Cirilla is an Associate Professor of English at College of the Ozarks. He is also associate editor of Carmina Philosophiae, the journal of the International Boethius Society. Originally from Western New York, he lives in Missouri with his wife, Camarie, who writes poetry and fairy tales. Anthony serves as an assistant priest in the United Episcopal Church of North America.
Online only, runs 10 weeks, meeting 2hr/wk. via Zoom. Students will also have the option to participate in class discussion in the Davenant Common Room Discord server. Register now to reserve your spot. The course will proceed contingent on sufficient enrollment; on rare occasions, a class has to be cancelled due to insufficient interest. Once the registration period closes, the class meeting time will be set on the basis of a poll of availability from registrants. In case of cancellation or scheduling conflicts, students will be eligible for a refund or a transfer to another course.
This is a graduate-level course. Although a BA is not a necessary pre-requisite for this course, students should come prepared to do graduate-level work.