The Shaping of Middle-earth
Join Dr. Corey Olsen, the Tolkien Professor, and Mythgard Academy for a look at the fourth volume of the History of Middle-earth (HoME) series, titled The Shaping of Middle-earth, with a free, eight-week seminar.
Last year, the Academy explored two volumes in the HoME series – The Book of Lost Tales, Part II and The Lays of Beleriand – and with the guidance of the Council of the Wise and votes cast by Signum University supporters who have donated $25 or more, the clear desire is to continue with our in-depth study of the development of J.R.R. Tolkien’s world of Middle-earth.
Originally published in 1986, The Shaping of Middle-earth offers the first recognizable versions of stories that eventually became part of The Silmarillion. As Christopher Tolkien explains in the preface, these drafts were written by Tolkien in the 1930s and represent the point to which Tolkien had developed his legendarium at the time The Hobbit was published in 1937. Among other things, it contains an early outline of “The Silmarillion,” along with the Quenta, Ambarkanta, and a number of Tolkien’s signature hand-drawn maps that illustrated-cartography lovers will enjoy.
The History of Middle-earth, Volume 4 is available from Amazon. It can be purchased in paperback and electronic formats.
A Message from Dr. Olsen
As part of the Mythgard Academy series, this seminar is tuition-free and open to the public. The first 100 participants for each session are able to participate in the discussion live, and recorded versions will be available from the Signum University YouTube Channel and on iTunes U.
Like all Mythgard Academy activities, this seminar is made possible by the generosity of everyone who supported our fundraising campaign last fall. The topics of our Academy discussions are nominated and elected entirely by our generous donors. Last year, in addition to continuing our ambulatory survey of The History of Middle-earth, we explored the land of Florin in The Princess Bride and delved into the mysteries and ministrations of English magic in Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.
If you missed our fundraising campaign but would still like to take part in our voting process to decide our future topics for the rest of the year, it isn’t too late! Visit our donation page and help support our free discussions!
– Dr. Corey Olsen
Schedule for The Shaping of Middle-earth
The Shaping of Middle-earth seminar originally took place from January 6 – February 24, 2016, on Wednesday evenings.
Week 1: The Birth of the Silmarillion
Read: Chapter I-II (notes)
Original Date: January 6, 2016
Week 2: The Flowering of the Silmarillion
Read: Chapter III, Parts 1-7 (notes)
Original Date: January 13, 2016
Week 3: The Waxing of the Silmarillion
Read: Chapter III, Parts 8-14 (notes)
Original Date: January 20, 2016
Week 4: The Revision of the Silmarillion
Read: Chapter III, Parts 15-19 (notes)
Original Date: January 27, 2016
Week 5: The Charting of the Silmarillion
Read: Chapter IV-V (notes)
Original Date: February 3, 2016
Week 6: A Mystery in the Silmarillion
Read: Chapter VI (notes)
Original Date: February 10, 2016
Week 7: The Sorting of the Silmarillion
Read: Chapter VII (notes)
Original Date: February 17, 2016
Week 8: Reflections on the Silmarillion
Bonus Q&A Session (notes)
Original Date: February 24, 2016
Artwork for The Shaping of Middle-earth
Artwork for The Shaping of Middle-earth seminar was adapted from “The Gates of Sirion” by Ted Nasmith. Used with permission.