J.R.R. Tolkien wrote, “The Gospels contain a fairy-story, or a story of a larger kind which embraces all the essence of fairy-stories…But this story has entered History.” In other words, the literary effects of the fairy-story occur at their highest perfection in the true Gospel narrative, and herein is the value of fairy-stories: they train our imaginations to respond more fully to, as Tolkien put it, the “Christian joy, the Gloria.” This course uses Tolkien’s theology of the fairy-story to examine examples of the genre: three written by others which he admired and five written by Tolkien himself. Unlike his larger works, these shorter fairy-tales are less in the epic romance tradition of Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion, and yet form a foundational set of readings for understanding Tolkien’s corpus. In Tolkien’s view, the fairy-tale disciples the adult Christian imagination to desire more deeply the good news of the Gospel: this theme will be investigated throughout the course.
Online only, runs 10 weeks, meeting 1 hr./wk. via videoconference. Students will also have the option to participate in a class discussion board. Register to reserve your spot and schedule will be set after a poll of participating students; if the class time does not fit your schedule, you will be eligible for a full refund. Note: all classes are offered dependent on demand and require a minimum of four participating students.