Jul
23
2014

Lectures on Tolkien

For decades now people have been obsessed over J.R.R. Tolkien and his world, so much so that there are college courses devoted to the man and his works. At least two of these professors have made their lectures public and easily available, and are well worth listening to if you’re interested.

Professor Corey Olsen (aka The Tolkien Professor) of Signum University has a number of audio lectures on Tolkien (The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion) and medieval literature. He’s energetic and easy to listen to, and there’s lots to learn from listening to him. You can listen to him reading Sir Orfeo in the original Old English!

Dr Ted Sherman of Middle Tennessee State University has his lectures as videos on Youtube, and also has a bunch of lectures on Shakespeare and such. Here’s one of his videos on The Hobbit to whet your appetite:

These were recorded after Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings movies, but before The Hobbit. Dr Ted is particularly opinionated about the movies! …and I can see his points. Personally I don’t usually have the energy to actively dislike a movie adaptation the way some people do. I do wish more people that have only seen the films would go back and read the books.

I’m a little late to the party, but over at Nerdist.com, they’ve been hosting a book club on The Silmarillion for the past month or so, and it looks like people are getting into it! They’ve been going section by section, and will be going through September. Check it out, and join in!

And as a side note, I tweeted this the other day and it is by far my most popular tweet yet, with good reason! My reaction was, at heart, “oh, SNAP!”:

You can find similar such lectures and things over on the website OpenCulture.com. They had a post a little while ago about 35 classic film noirs available to watch for free online (!!). It’s kind of amazing, and of course all above board and legal, too. But OpenCulture.com is not limited to lectures and old films. No, they do pretty much everything: e/books, audio books, podcasts, lectures, and language learning programs… lots of things – just take a look. “The best free cultural & educational media on the web” is a statement I am willing to believe.