Tolkien as translator

Course Dates: 09/11/19
Time: 10:30 - 16:30
Location: KS - Keeley Street
Steven Breeze

One of the 20th Century’s most popular authors, J.R.R. Tolkien was also a scholar of the medieval period. He translated the poetic masterpieces Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Beowulf. This course considers his translations, his style, and what it tells us about 20th century perceptions of medieval literature.


What is the course about?

On this course we will analyse translations of medieval writing made by Tolkien. We will look at his style, the influences that made him translate in the ways he did, and the cultural context at the time he was working. We will also consider the language choices he makes, and the relationship between his creative works, his academic work, and his translation.

What will we cover?

The key texts Tolkien translated.
The style of his translations.
How his translations relate to his other work.
His working practices, and approach to work, that often led him to leave much of his work unfinished.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

Identify Tolkien’s principal translations.
Identify the linguistic characteristics of Tolkien’s translations.
Identify the cultural contexts that informed his writing.
Discriminate between unfinished work and material Tolkien deemed ready for publication.
Compare his translation work with his other published writing.
Evaluate his translations as material for enjoyment or academic purposes.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This course is for anyone interested in the subject. Hand-outs will be given to support learning and you will be invited to take part in group discussion.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

Presentation, group discussion, and literary analysis using provided material. No work will be set outside the class, though suggestions for further reading will be provided.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

You can bring pen and paper but course notes will be provided. All texts we will look at will also be provided in handouts.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Please see our range of Literature courses under Humanities in the prospectus and under History, Culture and Writing on the website at

General information and advice on courses at Build is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details

Tutor Biographies
We’re sorry. We don’t have a bio ready for the tutor of this class at the moment, but we’re working on it! Watch this space.

Book your place

Course Code: HLT153

Sat, day, 09 Nov - 09 Nov '19

Duration: 1 session

Full fee: £59.00
Senior fee: £47.00
Concession: £30.00

Or call to enrol: 222-66-889-99

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Any questions? [email protected]
or call 020 7492 2652

Please note: we offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. For more information visit our online . You can also visit the Information, Advice and Guidance drop-in service, open from 12 – 6.45, Monday to Friday.