Marquette University’s Tolkien Course, Manuscripts Popular with Students
Tags: Jesuit, jesuits, Marquette University, Society of Jesus
“The Hobbit” has grossed over $600 million and earned three Oscar nominations, so it’s no surprise that a J.R.R. Tolkien course at Marquette University in Milwaukee is hugely popular with students.
The university is one of the main repositories of Tolkien’s writings and drawings, including the manuscripts for “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit.” William Ready, director of Marquette’s libraries from 1956 to 1963, obtained the manuscripts through a London book dealer for less than $5,000. Marquette’s Tolkien collection numbers more than 10,000 pages of the author’s book manuscripts, typescripts and drawings.
“It’s a fantastic course,” said senior Joe Kirchoff. “It’s a great way to look at something that’s such a creative work of genius in such a way you really come to understand the man behind it.”
Taught for the first time this past fall, the course was part of the university’s celebration of the 75th anniversary of the publication of “The Hobbit,” which happened to coincide with the release of the film. On February 21, the last anniversary event — a roundtable discussion on the film — will be held at the university.
While other schools offer Tolkien classes, Marquette students were able to see Tolkien’s revisions and maps at the school’s archive.
“It’s the best class I’ve had in 27 years here for student preparation, interest and enthusiasm,” English professor Tim Machan told the Associated Press. “And I can throw out any topic and they will have read the material and they want to talk about the material.”