Tag: Tolkien

'Lord of the Rings' Middle Earth Illustration

There’s a New University Just For Sci-Fi & Fantasy Studies

Students no longer have to travel to a galaxy far, far away to learn all there is to know about science-fiction literature. Instead, they can do it from the comfort of their living room (more specifically, the comfort of their pajamas). Signum University isn’t just an online college: it’s a university entirely dedicated to the study of genre fiction from a literary, historical, and philosophical perspective. Talk about the ultimate fantasy—which, of course, is also a subject. So, congratulations, genre nerds! (Of course, I say that with the utmost affection.) You can now put “majored in Tolkien” in your Tinder bio and mean it.

 

Signum University

Signum University

Yes, Signum University’s logo looks like it should be adorning the cover of a Hunger Games novel. Signum University’s specializations include Tolkien Studies; Imaginative Literature; Classic, Medieval, and Renaissance Literature; and Germanic Philology (the study of Germanic languages). Each of these programs falls under the M.A. in Language & Literature, a program of graduate study. While the degree takes two to seven years to complete depending on the number of credits per semester—which can vary due to work or financial reasons-students are welcome to audit single classes for drastically reduced costs. You may not be able to major in Star Wars, but you can take an academic course on it.

 

'Star Wars' characters

Image Via Time Magazine

Other courses of note include Sherlock, Science, and Ratiocination; Literary Copernicus: The Cosmic Fiction of H.P. Lovecraft; The Potter Saga; and Tolkien’s World of Middle-earth. Though degree credits are more expensive, individual, twelve-week courses can cost as little as $95—for some, that’s a small price to pay for a world of information (or several, as the case may be). Cory Olsen, the university’s founder, said that the ideal students are working professionals who want to take the courses for “personal enrichment.” That enrichment, it seems, isn’t about getting rich—there probably aren’t a lot of entry-level jobs in Tolkien Studies. But you can study the Harry Potter franchise and make your coursework magical.

 

Signum University course catalogue

Image Via Signum University

 

Though early in its certification process, Signum University‘s New Hampshire approval is its first step to national official recognition, which would allow the institution to begin conferring master’s degrees nationwide. Let’s hope this degree program also moves out of this country—that would only make sense when it’s already out of this world!

 

Featured Image Via Financial Times

Hobbiton garden

This Book FINALLY Explains Why Hobbits Drink Coffee

“The Lord of the Rings” may be the most fully-fleshed out fantasy series of all time. J.R.R. Tolkien’s attention to detail is famed. He constructed usable languages and maps to make the world as immersive as possible for readers. Botanist Walter Judd and artist Graham Judd have taken that level of immersion a step further in the new book “Flora of Middle-Earth.”

 

Flora Middle-Earth cover

via Amazon

 

Judd uses the real-life origins of Tolkien’s flora to examine how the plants fit into Middle-Earth. When the book examines coffee, for example, Judd writes: 

[Tolkien] considered the presence of coffee in Middle-Earth as representing an independent, and earlier, introduction from the mountains of northeastern Africa — a plant brought into lands controlled by Gondor as a result of its trade with Haradwaith and Khand … Additionally, he may have thought that coffee (in contrast to the tomato) was more in keeping with the essentially English nature of the Shire.

 

So Tolkien considered the climate of each region he invented, what flora might grow there, and how that flora might be traded to different regions in Middle-Earth. These entries will be joined by Graham Judd’s drawings, which demonstrate the flora in the world. This book will break fun facts down, and will assuredly make your next read through of the series that much more gripping!

 

So much immersion… / via GIPHY

 

Feature image courtesy of Hobbiton Tours.