Tolkien Papers

I’ve been utterly swamped with meetings all week — a little bit on the faculty side, but mostly with cadets keeping me in my office through the evenings in order to chat about their work in progress.

The vast majority of these have been students from my Honors Tolkien class, who are two weeks away from turning in their big term papers. So I’ve been hearing all about where they stand and what they’re working on.

It is, in a word, awesome

As I often tell my students, teachers get to learn far more than students ever do. After all, those 22 Honors kids really only get to learn from one person — yours truly — while I get to learn from all of them. And it’s completely true. Every student comes to class with different life experiences and growing, fertile fields of knowledge that I don’t have. As a result, they make connections that I could never have imagined on my own.

Oh, sure, on any given day some of the connections we might make in class are silly — but mixed in are moments of rare insight and startling brilliance that reverberate long after the class is over.  And believe me, I’m the receiver not the giver of such wonders.

And then there are the papers, where they really buckle down and unleash their unique perspectives on the subject… man, they’re fun. And this group has come up with some staggering things.

For them, the next two weeks surely cannot go slowly enough, but for me I feel like I’m biting my nails off, chomping at the bit to get ahold of them and see what magic they’ve wrought.  I can’t wait!


  1. Hi there! I was looking for some Tolkien info, and I stumbled upon your blog! I had no idea that someone could teach an Honors Tolkien class; now, that’s pretty awesome! I would definitely take that if they had it at my school! 🙂
    I just recently became a YA author, and Tolkien definitely inspired some of my writing. 🙂
    Thanks for you cool point of view!

    God bless,
    Taylor J. Beisler

  2. Tolkien is certainly a great read as well as a great study, Taylor.

    And good luck with your young writing career!

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