Keynote Address: J.R.R. Tolkien: Where Medieval And Modern Meet And Mingle

October 10.  1:30 PM.  LaPlata Multipurpose Room.

Preeminent Tolkien scholar and UMD faculty emerita Verlyn Flieger presents the Mithril Turtle’s Keynote Address, “J.R.R. Tolkien:  Where Medieval and Modern Meet and Mingle.”



In the middle of The Lord of the Rings, with Sam and Frodo about to enter Mordor, Tolkien has them stop their quest, sit down, and stepping out of the story for a moment, talk about the tale they are in.  It is the most self-conscious moment in the book, and seems far more typical of Tolkien’s modernist and post-modernist peers than his medieval models.

We’ll look at passages from The Lord of the Rings in the context of the work of his contemporary authors such as John Fowles and T. S. Eliot, as well as of the medieval poets who were his inspiration.



Verlyn Flieger has loved the works of Tolkien since she first read The Lord of the Rings in the winter of 1956-57. She started teaching The Lord of the Rings at Catholic University in 1972 and is still teaching courses in Tolkien over 40 years later. She is Professor Emerita at the University of Maryland, where she taught courses in Tolkien from 1977-2012. She now teaches online courses for Signum University in Tolkien, Arthurian Literature, and comparative mythology.

Her books on Tolkien include Splintered Light, A Question of Time, Interrupted Music, and Green Suns and Faërie, and editions of Tolkien’s essay “On Fairy-Stories,” and his short story “Smith of Wootton Major.” With Carl Hostetter she edited Tolkien’s Legendarium: Essays on The History of Middle-earth. With David Bratman and Michael D.C. Drout she edits the yearly journal Tolkien Studies.

She has also published two fantasy novels, Pig Tale, and The Inn At Corbies’ Caww,a novella, Avilion, and short stories, “Green Hill Country” in Seekers of Dreams,  collection of fantasy stories, and ‘Igraine at Tintagel” in Amazing Graces, an anthology of women’s fiction.

More information can be found on her website: