Welcome to SPACE, our adult continuing education program which offers interactive monthly courses for personal enrichment! Learn more here.

Fantasy Portal

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A Journey Through The History of the Hobbit Series

Just as Christopher Tolkien did for the rest of his father’s Middle-earth works, John Rateliff has compiled the manuscripts and early versions of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and presented them with notes and commentary. In this three-part series, we will work our way through Rateliff’s book, The History of the Hobbit. From the first drafts where Gandalf was called Bladorthin (and Thorin was called Gandalf) to the later versions made to better fit with The Lord of the Rings, this SPACE series will give you a much better understanding of how The Hobbit was crafted and a new appreciation for the story that, in some respects, started it all. As well as Rateliff’s material, these modules will also feature some never-before-seen visualizations of The Hobbit draft texts from the Digital Tolkien Project.

Module 1: Chapters I through VII
Module 2: Chapter VIII to the end of The Second Phase
Module 3: The Third Phase onwards
Precepted by James Tauber

A Journey Through The History of the Hobbit 1 First in the Series

In Module 1 of our journey through The History of the Hobbit we will explore Chapters I through VII.

Just as Christopher Tolkien did for the rest of his father’s Middle-earth works, John Rateliff has compiled the manuscripts and early versions of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and presented them with notes and commentary. In this three-part series, we will work our way through Rateliff’s book, The History of the Hobbit. From the first drafts where Gandalf was called Bladorthin (and Thorin was called Gandalf) to the later versions made to better fit with The Lord of the Rings, this SPACE series will give you a much better understanding of how The Hobbit was crafted and a new appreciation for the story that, in some respects, started it all. As well as Rateliff’s material, these modules will also feature some never-before-seen visualizations of The Hobbit draft texts from the Digital Tolkien Project.

Module 1: Chapters I through VII
Module 2: Chapter VIII to the end of The Second Phase
Module 3: The Third Phase onwards
Precepted by James Tauber

A Journey Through The History of the Hobbit 2 Continuing Series

In Module 2 of our journey through The History of the Hobbit we will explore Chapter VIII to the end of The Second Phase.

Just as Christopher Tolkien did for the rest of his father’s Middle-earth works, John Rateliff has compiled the manuscripts and early versions of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and presented them with notes and commentary. In this three-part series, we will work our way through Rateliff’s book, The History of the Hobbit. From the first drafts where Gandalf was called Bladorthin (and Thorin was called Gandalf) to the later versions made to better fit with The Lord of the Rings, this SPACE series will give you a much better understanding of how The Hobbit was crafted and a new appreciation for the story that, in some respects, started it all. As well as Rateliff’s material, these modules will also feature some never-before-seen visualizations of The Hobbit draft texts from the Digital Tolkien Project.

Module 1: Chapters I through VII
Module 2: Chapter VIII to the end of The Second Phase
Module 3: The Third Phase onwards
Precepted by James Tauber

A Journey Through The History of the Hobbit 3 Continuing Series

In Module 3 of our journey through The History of the Hobbit we will explore The Third Phase onwards.

Just as Christopher Tolkien did for the rest of his father’s Middle-earth works, John Rateliff has compiled the manuscripts and early versions of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and presented them with notes and commentary. In this three-part series, we will work our way through Rateliff’s book, The History of the Hobbit. From the first drafts where Gandalf was called Bladorthin (and Thorin was called Gandalf) to the later versions made to better fit with The Lord of the Rings, this SPACE series will give you a much better understanding of how The Hobbit was crafted and a new appreciation for the story that, in some respects, started it all. As well as Rateliff’s material, these modules will also feature some never-before-seen visualizations of The Hobbit draft texts from the Digital Tolkien Project.

Module 1: Chapters I through VII
Module 2: Chapter VIII to the end of The Second Phase
Module 3: The Third Phase onwards
Precepted by James Tauber

Book Club: Dune by Frank Herbert First in the Series

Kull Wahad, let’s read Frank Herbert’s Dune! Join us for the first module in a series of three modules in which we closely read Frank Herbert’s masterwork. We will explore themes like heroism, mythology, history, ecology, politics and religion while following the dynastic struggles between the Atreides family and the ruthless Harkonnens. Every week, you will get to connect with fellow book lovers and share your insights. This module is perfect for the creative writer looking to pick up techniques through close reading, or for anyone looking for a cozy book club. Let the spice flow!

Module 1: Book I: Dune
Module 2: Book II: Muad’dib
Module 3: Book III: The Prophet
Precepted by Julian Barr

Book Club: Dune by Frank Herbert (Part III: The Prophet) Continuing Series

Kull Wahad, let’s read Frank Herbert’s Dune! Join us for the final module of our series in which we closely read Frank Herbert’s masterwork. We will explore themes like heroism, mythology, history, ecology, politics and religion while following the dynastic struggles between the Atreides family and the ruthless Harkonnens. Every week, you will get to connect with fellow book lovers and share your insights. This module is perfect for the creative writer looking to pick up techniques through close reading, or for anyone looking for a cozy book club. Let the spice flow!

Module 1: Book I: Dune
Module 2: Book II: Muad’dib
Module 3: Book III: The Prophet

Note: If you did not participate in an earlier module of this series, please consider joining still! You would be most welcome to jump in mid-stream with us.
Precepted by Julian Barr

Book Club: Dune by Frank Herbert (Part II: Muad’dib) Continuing Series

Kull Wahad, let’s read Frank Herbert’s Dune! Join us for the second module in a series of three modules in which we closely read Frank Herbert’s masterwork. We will explore themes like heroism, mythology, history, ecology, politics and religion while following the dynastic struggles between the Atreides family and the ruthless Harkonnens. Every week, you will get to connect with fellow book lovers and share your insights. This module is perfect for the creative writer looking to pick up techniques through close reading, or for anyone looking for a cozy book club. Let the spice flow!

Module 1: Book I: Dune
Module 2: Book II: Muad’dib
Module 3: Book III: The Prophet

Note: If you did not participate in module 1 of this series, please consider joining still! You would be most welcome to jump in mid-stream with us.
Precepted by Julian Barr

Book Club: Dune by Frank Herbert (Series) Series

Kull Wahad, let’s read Frank Herbert’s Dune! In this series of three modules, we will closely read Frank Herbert’s masterwork. We will explore themes like heroism, mythology, history, ecology, politics and religion while following the dynastic struggles between the Atreides family and the ruthless Harkonnens. Every week, you will get to connect with fellow book lovers and share your insights. This module is perfect for the creative writer looking to pick up techniques through close reading, or for anyone looking for a cozy book club. Let the spice flow!

Module 1: Book I: Dune
Module 2: Book II: Muad’dib
Module 3: Book III: The Prophet
Precepted by Julian Barr

Book Club: Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

A 2020 winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction, Hamnet is a retelling of Shakespeare’s lost years that focuses on his relationship with Anne Hathaway. At times magical and surreal, it has hues of magic realism and a unique style. We will discuss the themes, imagery, character development, and many allusions to different plays of Shakespeare in a relaxed and interactive way.
Precepted by Pilar Barrera

Book Club: Children of Dune (Part 1 of 2) Series

Have you seen the Preacher?

In this two-month module, we will read and discuss the third Dune novel, Children of Dune. Chaos and civil war threaten the Atreides legacy as religious fanatics rise to challenge the family’s rule.

The culmination of the initial Dune trilogy is another sweeping epic of intrigue and survival in the face of overwhelming odds. We will explore themes like hero cults, history, politics and religious violence, as the heirs of Paul Atreides discover the path laid out for them—and its deadly consequences.

Whether you are a new or continuing student in our Dune book club, all are welcome to join this class. Connect with book lovers, compare to the adaptations, and share your insights.

Let the spice flow!
Precepted by Julian Barr

Book Club: Children of Dune (Part 2 of 2) Continuing Series

Have you seen the Preacher?

In this two-month module, we will read and discuss the third Dune novel, Children of Dune. Chaos and civil war threaten the Atreides legacy as religious fanatics rise to challenge the family’s rule.

The culmination of the initial Dune trilogy is another sweeping epic of intrigue and survival in the face of overwhelming odds. We will explore themes like hero cults, history, politics and religious violence, as the heirs of Paul Atreides discover the path laid out for them—and its deadly consequences.

Whether you are a new or continuing student in our Dune book club, all are welcome to join this class. Connect with book lovers, compare to the adaptations, and share your insights.

Let the spice flow!
Precepted by Julian Barr

Book Club: Dragonlance Chronicles by Margaret Weiss and Tracy Hickman

Join us for a nostalgic look back at the early days of Dungeons & Dragons with Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman's beloved series! Across three modules, we'll follow the heroic adventures of unforgettable characters like Tanis, Raistlin, Caramon and Sturm as they battle the forces of the Dragon Queen. Along the way, we'll explore themes of friendship, sacrifice and the redeeming power of love. Whether you're a long-time fan or discovering the world of game lit for the first time, our book club is the perfect way to connect with fellow readers and share your thoughts on these epic tales. This module is perfect for the creative writer looking to pick up techniques through close reading, or for anyone looking for the warmth of a cozy book club.

Module 1: Dragons of Autumn Twilight
Module 2: Dragons of Winter Night
Module 3: Dragons of Spring Dawning
Precepted by Julian Barr

Book Club: Dune Messiah

By Shai-Hulud, let’s read Dune Messiah!

In this one-month module, we will read and discuss the second Dune novel, Dune Messiah. Paul Atreides has avenged his father and created a new interstellar empire—but at what cost?

Though considerably shorter, the follow-up to Dune is even more intricate and complex. We will explore themes like hero cults, history, politics and religious violence, as Paul’s vision leads him into a trap of his own making.

Whether you are a new or continuing student in our Dune book club, all are welcome to join this class. Connect with book lovers, compare to the adaptations, and share your insights.

Let the spice flow!
Precepted by Julian Barr

Book Club: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Gulping gargoyles, let's read the next Harry Potter book!

By popular demand, here is the long-awaited Harry Potter book club! We will get together twice a week to explore the series, reading through the books at a relaxed pace. Connect with fellow readers and share your insights as we discover (or rediscover) the magic.

Over one month, we will follow twelve-year-old Harry's adventures as he uncovers the dark secrets lurking beneath Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Whispers and plots abound within the castle, as Harry must confront the evil legacy of Voldemort.

This book club is all about sharing the moments of unexpected, joyful discovery through close reading. Focusing on the text, we will share our personal readings and experiences. We will learn from our classmates in a kindness-first, supportive environment.

Together, we can tackle some big questions about the series. What was it about the Harry Potter books that resonated with so many people? To what extent is it possible or indeed desirable to separate art from artist?

Most of all, however, we will have an inclusive dialogue that embraces a multiplicity of views and enriches our experience of the text.
Precepted by Julian Barr

Book Club: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Blimey, let's read the third Harry Potter book!

We will get together twice a week to explore the series, reading through the books at a relaxed pace. Connect with fellow readers and share your insights as we discover (or rediscover) the magic.

Over one month, we will follow twelve-year-old Harry's adventures as he uncovers the dark secrets lurking beneath Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Whispers and plots abound within the castle, as Harry must confront the evil legacy of Voldemort.

This book club is all about sharing the moments of unexpected, joyful discovery through close reading. Focusing on the text, we will share our personal readings and experiences. We will learn from our classmates in a kindness-first, supportive environment.

Together, we can tackle some big questions about the series. What was it about the Harry Potter books that resonated with so many people? To what extent is it possible or indeed desirable to separate art from artist?

Most of all, however, we will have an inclusive dialogue that embraces a multiplicity of views and enriches our experience of the text.
Precepted by Julian Barr

Book Club: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Merlin's beard, let's read the first Harry Potter book!

By popular demand, here is the long-awaited Harry Potter book club! We will get together twice a week to explore the series, reading through the books at a relaxed pace. Connect with fellow readers and share your insights as we discover (or rediscover) the magic.

First, we will go back to where it all began, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Over one month, we will follow eleven-year-old Harry's adventures as he commences his study at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Together, we will explore themes like friendship, courage, and the power of love.

This book club is all about sharing the moments of unexpected, joyful discovery through close reading. Focusing on the text, we will share our personal readings and experiences. We will learn from our classmates in a kindness-first, supportive environment.

Together, we can tackle some big questions about the series. What was it about the Harry Potter books that resonated with so many people? To what extent is it possible or indeed desirable to separate art from artist?

Most of all, however, we will have an inclusive dialogue that embraces a multiplicity of views and enriches our experience of the text.
Precepted by Julian Barr

Book Club: The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander

Dive into the world of Welsh mythology with Lloyd Alexander's classic children’s fantasy series, The Chronicles of Prydain. Over three modules, we'll explore the five novels and Disney’s animated adaptation. We will unpack themes like bravery, friendship and identity while following the epic journey of Taran, an assistant pig-keeper who dreams of adventure. Every week, you will get to connect with fellow book lovers and share your insights. This module is perfect for the creative writer looking to pick up techniques through close reading, or for anyone looking for the warmth of a cozy book club. Enroll now and join the battle against Arawn and the Horned King!

Module 1: The Book of Three / The Black Cauldron
Module 2: The Castle of Llyr / Taran Wanderer
Module 3: The High King / Disney’s The Black Cauldron
Precepted by Julian Barr

Book Club: The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini

Kvetha Fricaya: greetings, friends! Ahead of the release of the newly announced sequel, Murtagh, go back to where it all began with Christopher Paolini's much-loved Inheritance Cycle. In a series of four modules, we'll follow Eragon as he joins the ranks of the legendary dragon riders and embarks on an epic journey to free the land of Alagaësia from tyranny. Identifying how Paolini actively engages with fantasy tropes, we will explore themes of destiny, courage and friendship. Connect with fellow book lovers to share insights on the readings. This module is perfect for the creative writer looking to pick up techniques through close reading, or for anyone looking for the warmth of a cozy book club. May your swords stay sharp!

Module 1: Eragon
Module 2: Eldest
Module 3: Brisingr
Module 4: Inheritance
Precepted by Julian Barr

Book Club: The Sword of Shannara Trilogy by Terry Brooks

Experience the wonder and adventure of Terry Brooks' original The Sword of Shannara Trilogy. Over three modules, we'll journey through the Four Lands and follow the heroic quest of the Ohmsford family to save their world from darkness. Together, we'll discuss themes such as family legacies, ordinary courage and the importance of self-discovery. Exploring the influence of Tolkien, we will unpack the stylistic choices Brooks uses to make the Shannara books beloved bestsellers across the globe. This module is perfect for the creative writer looking to pick up techniques through close reading, or for anyone looking for the warmth of a cozy book club.

Module 1: The Sword of Shannara
Module 2: The Elfstones of Shannara
Module 3: The Wishsong of Shannara
Precepted by Julian Barr

Chrétien de Troyes: "Lancelot, Knight of the Cart" and "Erec & Enide"

This course explores two works by Arthurian legend-maker, Chrétien de Troyes. In the first-ever tale of Sir Lancelot, "The Knight of the Cart," Chretien invents the hero who loves Queen Guinevere beyond all bounds of reason—so much that he will face deadly and (even worse) socially humiliating perils to prove his devotion. In the early work, "Erec and Enide," Chretien perhaps invents the tradition of Arthurian courtly romance itself. With Camelot as its background, the knight Erec and maiden Enide pass through a series of trials testing their bravery and love for each other. Told with a mixture of heroic panache, comic irony, and relish for entertaining detail, these foundational works of Arthurian romance show the genius of master story-teller of the high Middle Ages.
Precepted by Liam Daley

Chretien de Troyes: “Yvain, Knight of the Lion” and “Cliges”

It’s twelfth-century France, and on the battlefield, knights are fighting in deadly earnest—but around the fireside, courtly men and ladies can read about knightly deeds of arms and feats of love in safety and comfort. And today, we still can as well! This course explores two Arthurian romances of the master-romancer, Chretien de Troyes. In “Yvain, Knight of the Lion,” held by many to be Chretien’s masterpiece, Yvain learns that rash attempts at heroism sometimes have unexpected and disastrous consequences—but then again, sometimes earn the friendship of a heroic, feline beast. The story of “Cliges” (what medievalist Derek Pearsall calls Chretien’s most “lavishly plotted” romance) follows, first, the career of a knight, Alexander, and then years later, that of his son, Cliges—two men whose choices in both love and war prove that history doesn’t always repeat itself.
Precepted by Liam Daley

Creative Writing: Cultures in Fantasy and Science Fiction

This module takes a deep dive into imagined culture. How can you integrate imaginary customs, traditions, art, values and social norms seamlessly into your narrative? Analyzing examples from authors such as Brandon Sanderson, Robert Jordan, Frank Herbert and Margaret Atwood, you will discover how details such as clothing, body language and colloquialisms can enrich your world. Whether you are a beginning writer or looking to enhance your current skills, this is the ideal module for anybody who wants to make their universe feel like a real place!
Precepted by Julian Barr

Creative Writing: Fantastic Beasts and How to Write Them

Manticores, Owlbears and Kappas, oh my! In this quirky module, we will continue our deep dive into world-building, with a particular focus on monsters and imagined creatures. Using extracts from ancient myths and medieval bestiaries as writing prompts, you will have the opportunity to share short pieces or extracts from longer projects in a supportive workshop. Alternatively, you can let your imagination run wild as you populate a menagerie with creatures of your own devising! A fun module that will help you fill your world with uncanny fauna.


Note: For more information about the Collaborative Feedback Method in SPACE, please check out our video here.
Precepted by Julian Barr

Creative Writing: Historical Fantasy

Step back in time and unleash the fantastic! In this module, you will unlock the secrets of transporting readers into historical worlds that incorporate magic, myth and legend. Unpacking examples from authors such as Michelle Paver, Lian Hearn and Mary Robinette Kowal, you will discover how to fuse the writing techniques of realistic historical fiction with those of fantasy. You will then have the opportunity to write short pieces based on fun writing prompts and share them in a supportive workshop, or you can share extracts from an extended project if you prefer. A fascinating module that will help you bring life to worlds of wonder and delight.


Note: For more information about the Collaborative Feedback Method in SPACE, please check out our video here.
Precepted by Julian Barr

Creative Writing: History and Politics in Fantasy and Science Fiction

Let’s go deeper into world-building with this exploration of history and politics in fantasy and science fiction. How can you write a sense of history and add political conflict to enrich the setting of your world? Unpacking examples from authors such as Robert Jordan, Samantha Shannon, Frank Herbert and James S. A. Corey, you will discover how to seamlessly integrate history and politics into your world-building. You will then have the opportunity to share your own world-building in a supportive workshop. This is the perfect module for any writer who wants to make their world feel immersive.
Precepted by Julian Barr

Creative Writing: Pitching Your Story

You've written an epic book or an incredible screenplay, but what comes next? In this module, we will discuss how to make your story irresistible to potential buyers and entice readers to pick up your book! Examining successful examples combined with my experience in attracting publishers and an agent, we will workshop your query letter, synopsis and blurb, before finessing your verbal pitch. Whether you are looking to a traditional writing deal or an indie career, this module will help you sell the sizzle in your narrative.
Precepted by Julian Barr

Creative Writing: Religion in Fantasy and Science Fiction

In this module, we continue our exploration of world-building, asking deep questions about religion in fantasy and science fiction. How does religion affect the day-to-day life of your characters, or their sense of morality? To what extent do your characters believe in the soul or the afterlife? How do magic and science interact with religion? How does religion relate to spirituality in your universe? Is it possible to be an atheist in a world where gods walk among humans? In this module, you will have the opportunity to write short pieces based on writing prompts, or share your ongoing projects in a supportive workshop. This is a wondrous module for anyone who wants to deepen their imagined universes!
Precepted by Julian Barr

Creative Writing: World-Building in Action



How do you world-build without losing your reader? In this module, we will consider techniques on the scene level to embed world-building seamlessly into your narrative without bogging the reader down in exposition. Considering examples from J.R.R. Tolkien, Ursula K. Le Guin and Frank Herbert, we will learn from the masters to bring your world to vivid life. Focusing on viewpoint, characterization, word choice, and narrative conflict, we will workshop how to draw your reader in and make your universe feel like a real place. No matter your genre, this module will enrich your commercial fiction and help make your vision a reality.


Note: For more information about the Collaborative Feedback Method in SPACE, please check out our video here.
Precepted by Julian Barr

Creative Writing: Writing Computers

What does a computer scientist wish that writers knew? That we are building aliens right here on Earth? That perception is not what we think it is? Join us for four weeks of learning, writing, and feedback. In "How Does Hacking Actually Work?" we'll learn to write far more complex and realistic scenes than Hollywood. In "Computer Perception" we'll talk about detecting the simple presence of volts and the most subtle patterns of the cosmos. In "Computer Interfaces" we're going to cook up stories about the Alien, the Understander, and the Quality of Misunderstanding. Finally in "Atemporal Decision Theory" we're going to ask enough questions about Truth, sentience, and honor to fill adventure after adventure with artificial and artisanal intelligences. Each week we'll have a learning and discussion day plus a day to reflect on "This idea made me ask 'what if?' and reach for my keyboard."

Note: For more information about the Collaborative Feedback Method in SPACE, please check out our video here.
Precepted by Sparrow Alden and Daroc Alden

Discovering the Discworld: Quis Custodiet Custard?

Terry Pratchett’s early work fits the category of parody, and his later work certainly maintains that early mocking spirit. In his later Discworld novels, however, especially The City Watch sequence, Pratchett turns his mocking lens from generic conventions and tropes to the dangerous ideologies and power structures that permeate contemporary urban life. Edward James calls The City Watch novels “the most political of Pratchett’s works,” and Neil Gaiman reminds us that “beneath any jollity, there is a foundation of fury.” Pratchett’s “fury” and the City Watch novels’ politics together invite us to consider the sequence as social satire and explore what Pratchett may be arguing needs to change, whilst still enjoying the novels for their humour and wonderfully entertaining narrative style.

In this course, we will explore The City Watch novels and do exactly that: laugh and have fun whilst discussing the underlying messages that Pratchett offers us.

Access to the listed texts is desirable. Prior knowledge of at least the majority of the listed texts will be assumed.
Precepted by Sara Brown

Discovering the Discworld: The Existential Angst of Death

Like most literary Grim Reapers, Discworld’s Death is a black-robed skeleton (usually - he wears the Dean's "Born to Rune" leather jacket in Soul Music, and overalls in Reaper Man), carrying a scythe or, for royalty, a sword. He is an anthropomorphised personification of a natural process who sometimes has his duties carried out by his apprentice Mort, or his granddaughter Susan, and is occasionally accompanied by the Death of Rats. The Death of Pratchett’s Discworld is a parody of several other personifications of death; unlike many of them, though, he has a personality beyond this. As an immortal outside observer, Death is fascinated by humans, puzzled both by their stupidity and their fortitude despite it. Often out of concern for their well-being, or sometimes simply curiosity, he tries to understand the ways of humans – why and how they do the things they do. Needless to say, this leads to all sorts of disasters (including taking time off from his job reaping souls to become a farmer) but, in the process, Death learns ever more about humans and begins to sympathise with them. Death has many purposes in the narratives; however, in this compelling character, Pratchett has created a figure that makes us laugh but more importantly, he makes us think. In some ways, the Death series is ironically the most human of all.

Access to the listed required texts is desirable and prior knowledge of at least the majority of those texts will be assumed.

We will also be talking about Death’s appearances in other Discworld books, as well as in the short story "Death and What Comes Next" (provided as a pdf).
Precepted by Sara Brown

Encountering the Japanese Weird through Lafcadio Hearn's Kwaidan

Japanese ghost stories are famous for their many chilling, sometimes funny, and creepy ghosts and yokai. Lafcadio Hearn, a Greek-later-Japanese writer popularized these stories in his book Kwaidan. In this module, we will discuss the stories, the settings, and their cultural and religious background.
Precepted by Pilar Barrera and Robert Steed

Exploring Natsume’s Book of Friends: Part 1 First in the Series

Natsume’s Book of Friends is a contemplative and heartfelt anime/manga series about a boy who inherited a book from his grandmother, allowing him to control youkai. Instead, he chooses to free them. This series sits at the intersection of fantasy and slice of life, and it touches on many aspects of Japanese folklore and culture, at the same time telling a story about connection and compassion. In this module, we will watch and discuss the first two seasons of the anime, paying particular attention to themes including: the iyashikei (healing) genre of anime, the portrayal of youkai in popular culture, and the use of concepts and imagery from Japanese literature and folklore in the series.

This module is primarily discussion based, with some contextual information provided by the preceptor. There will be a Google Doc for class discussion and your preceptor will use slides, but sparingly.
Precepted by Nancy "Anni" Foasberg

Exploring Natsume’s Book of Friends: Part 2 Continuing Series

The third and fourth seasons of Natsume’s Book of Friends continue the story of a boy who can see youkai, and who usually frees them or helps them rather than control or exorcize them. These two seasons continue to explore the themes of loneliness, connection, and the conflict between humans and others, but also introduces the Matoba clan, a group of exorcists. As with the first module, we will look at the role of youkai and the way that both characters and the audience are healed.
Precepted by Nancy "Anni" Foasberg

Exploring Natsume’s Book of Friends: Part 3 Continuing Series

The fifth and sixth seasons of Natsume’s Book of Friends continue the story of a boy who can see youkai, and who usually frees them or helps them rather than control or exorcize them. These two seasons continue to explore the themes of loneliness, connection, and the conflict between humans and others, but also provide further insight into the secondary characters that surround Natsume. As with the first two modules, we will look at the role of youkai and the way that both characters and the audience are healed.
Precepted by Nancy "Anni" Foasberg

Exploring Natsume’s Book of Friends Series Series

Natsume’s Book of Friends is a contemplative and heartfelt anime/manga series about a boy who inherited a book from his grandmother, allowing him to control youkai. Instead, he chooses to free them. This series sits at the intersection of fantasy and slice of life, and it touches on many aspects of Japanese folklore and culture, at the same time telling a story about connection and compassion.

This series is primarily discussion based, with some contextual information provided by the preceptor. There will be a Google Doc for class discussion and your preceptor will use slides, but sparingly.
Precepted by Nancy "Anni" Foasberg

Exploring Violet Evergarden

Come join us for a stunning coming-of-age fantasy anime that follows the story of Violet Evergarden, a former soldier who finds forgiveness, healing, and self-worth through the unassuming power of writing letters. In this module, we will discuss how Violet Evergarden functions as a postwar recovery and travel story, as well as the anime’s use of Victorian and post-World War I aesthetics to tell Violet’s unusual yet unforgettable tale.

Fantasy Book Club: The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

Join Ms. Elise for a cozy, relaxed Book Club as we read and discuss the magic of C.S. Lewis's Prince Caspian . In this Book Club style module, each participant comes to our Club meetings with their own reflections and discussion questions about the text. YOU guide the magic!
Precepted by Elise Trudel Cedeño

Fantasy Book Club: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Join Ms. Elise for a cozy, relaxed Book Club as we read and discuss the magic of C.S. Lewis's The Voyage of the Dawn Treader . In this Book Club style module, each participant comes to our Club meetings with their own reflections and discussion questions about the text. YOU guide the magic!
Precepted by Elise Trudel Cedeño

His Dark Materials in Context: The Amber Spyglass

Sir Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy is widely regarded as a modern classic, has been described by The New Statesman as “the most ambitious work since The Lord of the Rings,” and has been adapted onto stage, radio, and screen. The series is also deep and complex, drawing from a rich array of literary, philosophical, and theological ideas.

In this three-module series we will read, successively, the three novels in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, juxtaposing each with selected materials that will allow us to read Pullman’s work both on its own and in conversation with other works. Students can join one, two, or all three modules. There are no prerequisites.

• Module 1: His Dark Materials in Context: The Golden Compass (a.k.a. Northern Lights) (October 2023)

• Module 2: His Dark Materials in Context: The Subtle Knife (December 2023)

• Module 3: His Dark Materials in Context: The Amber Spyglass (January 2023)
Precepted by Faith Acker and Gabriel Schenk

His Dark Materials in Context: The Golden Compass

Sir Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy is widely regarded as a modern classic, has been described by The New Statesman as “the most ambitious work since The Lord of the Rings,” and has been adapted onto stage, radio, and screen. The series is also deep and complex, drawing from a rich array of literary, philosophical, and theological ideas.

In this three-module series we will read, successively, the three novels in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, juxtaposing each with selected materials that will allow us to read Pullman’s work both on its own and in conversation with other works. Students can join one, two, or all three modules. There are no prerequisites.

• Module 1: His Dark Materials in Context: The Golden Compass (a.k.a. Northern Lights) (October 2023)

• Module 2: His Dark Materials in Context: The Subtle Knife (December 2023)

• Module 3: His Dark Materials in Context: The Amber Spyglass (January 2023)
Precepted by Faith Acker and Gabriel Schenk

His Dark Materials in Context: The Subtle Knife

Sir Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy is widely regarded as a modern classic, has been described by The New Statesman as “the most ambitious work since The Lord of the Rings,” and has been adapted onto stage, radio, and screen. The series is also deep and complex, drawing from a rich array of literary, philosophical, and theological ideas.

In this three-module series we will read, successively, the three novels in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, juxtaposing each with selected materials that will allow us to read Pullman’s work both on its own and in conversation with other works. Students can join one, two, or all three modules. There are no prerequisites.

• Module 1: His Dark Materials in Context: The Golden Compass (a.k.a. Northern Lights) (October 2023)

• Module 2: His Dark Materials in Context: The Subtle Knife (December 2023)

• Module 3: His Dark Materials in Context: The Amber Spyglass (January 2023)
Precepted by Faith Acker and Gabriel Schenk

Le Morte Darthur: Sir Thomas Malory's "The Death of King Arthur"

“Yet some men say in many parts of England that King Arthur is not dead… and men say that he shall come again…”

Is Arthur dead? Or was he taken to Avalon to be healed? And will he indeed come again one day? Written within the confines of a common prison, Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte Darthur (c. 1470) addresses these very questions—trying to make sense of Arthur's legendary reign and “piteous” death for a war-torn England at the very close of the Middle Ages. In reading Malory's widely beloved and arguably definitive retelling of the death of the Arthur, this course examines the final dissolution of the Round Table, from the doomed love affair of Lancelot and Guinevere to Arthur's fatal (or near-fatal) wounding by Mordred—a continuous narrative contained within the last two books of Malory's sprawling chronicle, “The Book of Sir Launcelot and Queen Guinevere” and the titular “The Most Piteous Tale of the Morte Arthur.” Told with a both poignant sense of loss and an undisguised enthusiasm for chivalric adventure, this lively and idiosyncratic tale of Arthur's death combines the best of all the Arthurian epics that preceded it, and would influence all those that would follow after.
Precepted by Liam Daley

Ink Spots and Tea Stains: What we Learn from C.S. Lewis's Writing Habits

C.S. Lewis is one of the most prolific and influential writers of the 20th century. And yet, in his early career as an Oxford don, he viewed himself as a failed poet. Moreover, his most canonical and transformational writing happened during the most stress-filled periods of his life. This short course allows students to peek into the writing life of C.S. Lewis. Our goal is to see through the lines of printed text by visiting the letters and archival remains of Lewis in a virtual setting. Most of C.S. Lewis's papers remain undigitized and unpublished, available only locally at archives in North America and England.

As Professor Brenton Dickieson has visited these archives, he is able to invite students to appreciate C.S. Lewis's writing life by looking at the way that he consciously and unconsciously built his literary career. This course is for writers who are developing their own habits and literary life-prints, as well as folks who are curious about C.S. Lewis's life beyond the biographies and bestselling books.
Precepted by Brenton Dickieson

In the Age of Wonder: The Many Themes of Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal

The Dark Crystal, a film directed and created by Jim Henson and Frank Oz, was released at Christmastime in 1982. An attempt at a more mature and decidedly darker direction for Henson, it performed modestly in the box office to mixed reviews. Despite its poor initial beginnings, over the next 42 years, The Dark Crystal became a cult classic. Why the appeal all these years later? In this class we will explore this multifaceted dark fantasy as a stand of world building from the better appreciated “Muppet” canon. Over the course of eight sessions we will discuss the world of Thra through the film itself, seen afresh with the new lenses of various forms of modern criticism. Please join us for a combination of short lectures and lively discussion of this visual and technical masterpiece whether you’re a long-time fan or neophyte.
Precepted by Kerra Fletcher and Jay Moses

Introduction to Oscar Wilde's Fairy Tales: A House of Pomegranates

Poignant, hilarious, ironic, sad, beautiful, Oscar Wilde’s literary fairy tales evoke vivid and intense imagery and discuss topics such as social status, wealth, and Christianity. In these modules, we will read and discuss Oscar Wilde’s fairy tales. We will talk about the plot, characters, specific nuances of the language, use of irony, and symbolism. We will also discuss stories that influenced some of the tales, especially Andersen’s tales such as “The Little Mermaid,” “The Shadow,” “The Darning Needle,” and others.

This module is part of a two-module series, but each one stands alone and is independent from the other. In the first module, we will talk about the fairy tales from The Happy Prince and Other Tales, and in the second module we will discuss A House of Pomegranates.
Precepted by Pilar Barrera

Introduction to Oscar Wilde's Fairy Tales: The Happy Prince and Other Tales

Poignant, hilarious, ironic, sad, beautiful, Oscar Wilde’s literary fairy tales evoke vivid and intense imagery and discuss topics such as social status, wealth, and Christianity. In these modules, we will read and discuss Oscar Wilde’s fairy tales. We will talk about the plot, characters, specific nuances of the language, use of irony, and symbolism. We will also discuss stories that influenced some of the tales, especially Andersen’s tales such as “The Little Mermaid,” “The Shadow,” “The Darning Needle,” and others.

This module is part of a two-module series, but each one stands alone and is independent from the other. In the first module, we will talk about the fairy tales from The Happy Prince and Other Tales, and in the second module we will discuss A House of Pomegranates.
Precepted by Pilar Barrera

Inventing the Holy Grail: Chretien de Troyes's complete “Perceval"

The story of the Holy Grail that was sought by King Arthur’s knights begins with this tale: Chretien de Troyes’s “Perceval, or the Story of the Grail.” This coming-of-age story follows the adventures of Perceval, as he moves from rustic ignorance of his own identity into full-fledged knighthood. As series of mistakes, triumphs, and misadventures leads him almost (but not quite) to the discovery of that most holy of relics. His journey of spiritual understanding, like the quest for the Holy Grail itself, remains incomplete as Chretien’s unfinished romance breaks off in mid-sentence. This course, however, continues Perceval’s story through the numerous continuations of additions by which different authors brought to the tale within a century of its first appearance.

Note on Text: While most of Prof. Daley’s courses are flexible with regard to edition, in this case there is only one English translation that provides the complete text of Chretien’s “Perceval,” and all of the surviving translations: Nigel Bryant’s The Complete Story of the Grail, listed below.
Precepted by Liam Daley

J.R.R. Tolkien: A Life in Letters Series

How do you pick up the threads of an old life? Come and take a deep dive, attempting to do just that, as we look into the life of the maker of Middle-earth! This series will go on an adventure through the life of Tolkien over three months through the lens of the newly revised and expanded Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien. As the module follows the narrative presented in Tolkien's own words in his letters, the class sessions will allow for discussions of Tolkien's thoughts and problems as he raises them --- as well as the chance to read and discuss selections of his creative works along the way.

Throughout the course, we will be discussing the events of Tolkien’s life in tandem with the letters and filling out a more complete picture of the man through his work, his personal life, and his creative endeavours. Names, places, and stages of history can all too easily become abstractions on a page but, in this course, we will see the way in which Tolkien's personal environment was intimately connected to his works, and how it shaped the life of the man behind the legendarium.

You can join us for the whole series or just jump in a month at a time as we explore the newly revised and expanded Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien!
Precepted by Sara Brown and Patrick Lyon

J.R.R. Tolkien: A Life in Letters 1 First in the Series

How do you pick up the threads of an old life? Come and take a deep dive, attempting to do just that, as we look into the life of the maker of Middle-earth! This series will go on an adventure through the life of Tolkien over three months through the lens of the newly revised and expanded Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien. As the module follows the narrative presented in Tolkien's own words in his letters, the class sessions will allow for discussions of Tolkien's thoughts and problems as he raises them --- as well as the chance to read and discuss selections of his creative works along the way.

Throughout the course, we will be discussing the events of Tolkien’s life in tandem with the letters and filling out a more complete picture of the man through his work, his personal life, and his creative endeavours. Names, places, and stages of history can all too easily become abstractions on a page but, in this course, we will see the way in which Tolkien's personal environment was intimately connected to his works, and how it shaped the life of the man behind the legendarium.

You can join us for the whole series or just jump in a month at a time as we explore the newly revised and expanded Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien!
Precepted by Sara Brown and Patrick Lyon

J.R.R. Tolkien: A Life in Letters 2 Continuing Series

How do you pick up the threads of an old life? Come and take a deep dive, attempting to do just that, as we look into the life of the maker of Middle-earth! This series will go on an adventure through the life of Tolkien over three months through the lens of the newly revised and expanded Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien. As the module follows the narrative presented in Tolkien's own words in his letters, the class sessions will allow for discussions of Tolkien's thoughts and problems as he raises them --- as well as the chance to read and discuss selections of his creative works along the way.

Throughout the course, we will be discussing the events of Tolkien’s life in tandem with the letters and filling out a more complete picture of the man through his work, his personal life, and his creative endeavours. Names, places, and stages of history can all too easily become abstractions on a page but, in this course, we will see the way in which Tolkien's personal environment was intimately connected to his works, and how it shaped the life of the man behind the legendarium.

You can join us for the whole series or just jump in a month at a time as we explore the newly revised and expanded Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien!
Precepted by Sara Brown and Patrick Lyon

J.R.R. Tolkien: A Life in Letters 3 Continuing Series

How do you pick up the threads of an old life? Come and take a deep dive, attempting to do just that, as we look into the life of the maker of Middle-earth! This series will go on an adventure through the life of Tolkien over three months through the lens of the newly revised and expanded Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien. As the module follows the narrative presented in Tolkien's own words in his letters, the class sessions will allow for discussions of Tolkien's thoughts and problems as he raises them --- as well as the chance to read and discuss selections of his creative works along the way.

Throughout the course, we will be discussing the events of Tolkien’s life in tandem with the letters and filling out a more complete picture of the man through his work, his personal life, and his creative endeavours. Names, places, and stages of history can all too easily become abstractions on a page but, in this course, we will see the way in which Tolkien's personal environment was intimately connected to his works, and how it shaped the life of the man behind the legendarium.

You can join us for the whole series or just jump in a month at a time as we explore the newly revised and expanded Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien!
Precepted by Sara Brown and Patrick Lyon

Loving the Alien

Science fiction and other popular media frequently feature depictions of extraterrestrial life. From little green men to Daleks to the Borg and beyond, our stories are filled with visions of beings both alien to us yet also remarkably familiar.

This module will consist of two elements:

(1) Exploration and discussion of fictional extraterrestrials from popular series including but not limited to Star Trek, Doctor Who, Star Wars, and assorted anime/comic book titles.

(2) An introduction to the real-world Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) and the field of astrobiology, which will help us more deeply appreciate the question, “Are we alone?”
Precepted by Jennie Starstuff

Meeting the Horned God of the Witches

The Horned God, alongside being modern paganism's most popular deity, enjoys a rich heritage in speculative fiction and popular culture. In this module, we will explore his ancient (and modern) origins, his appearances in both esoteric and popular literature, and his surprising role as an environmental figure. Throughout the module, students will gain familiarity with the four core figures that make up the Horned God (Pan, Cernunnos, the Sorcerer of Trois Freres, and Herne the Hunter), and key narratives associated with him. They will also have an opportunity to ponder the complex web of influences between modern paganism and speculative fiction.

This module builds on the work of Margaret Murray and the module 'The Witch-Cult Hypothesis', but does not require prior knowledge of the material covered there.
Precepted by Anna Milon

Nordic Madness: Exploring Children's Literature in Three Nordic Authors

In this module we will join the madness, adventure and melancholy of three famous Nordic authors: Hans Christian Andersen, Astrid Lindgren, and Tove Jansson. From the tragic unrequited love of a snowman to the crazy adventures of Pippi Longstocking and the Moomins, this module is a rollercoaster of emotions and beautiful imagery. You will need two books: Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren and Moominland Midwinter by Tove Jansson.
Precepted by Pilar Barrera

Reading L.M. Montgomery as Fantasy: Part 1: Anne of Green Gables

This course will be offered for the first time this October 2023 (Anne’s favourite month)

Within weeks of its 1908 publication, L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables became a bestseller. Over the years, this charming orphan story put Montgomery and her imaginative Prince Edward Island on a global map.

Despite the fact that Anne of Green Gables is Canada’s bestselling novel throughout the world—or because of it—Montgomery was ignored by the literati and scholarship. Montgomery was a public intellectual, the first female Canadian fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and invested Officer of the Order of the British Empire. Still she was dismissed as “just” a children’s writer, a regionalist, or a woman. It was 25 years after Montgomery’s death before children’s literature and feminist scholars began to recover her work as worthy of study.

While there is a robust field of Montgomery scholarship, there are areas where our focus is sometimes too narrow. One of these is the category of “realistic” fiction. While there is a kind of verisimilitude about everyday life in the late Victorian era in her work, the realism is pressed to the margins of definition as Montgomery romanticizes the worlds she creates. And can we disagree that there is something magical about Anne herself? By changing our way of approach and by looking at Anne of Green Gables as a fantasy novel, what can we unveil in this classic novel?

Native Prince Edward Islander and Montgomery scholar Brenton Dickieson will lead students through a rereading of Anne of Green Gables using the lenses we use to study fantasy and speculative fiction with the goal of allowing one of the greatest living children’s books to live in new ways.
Precepted by Brenton Dickieson

Reading Middle English: An introduction to Middle English Language and Literature

This course introduces the basics of Middle English language and literature, including grammar, syntax, and pronunciation. Designed for students new to reading Middle English texts in their original form, the course focuses mainly on the English of London and the south of England in the thirteenth through fifteenth centuries—the language of Chaucer, Gower, Langland and others.

As a language-learning course as well as a literature course, the first half of each meeting will be devoted to reading Middle English aloud and answering questions about pronunciation and comprehension; the second half will focus on the reading’s content, from basics of plot and conventions of genre to the historical context of each text. Course readings include: a selection of lyric poetry, two short poems by Chaucer, the chivalric romance Sir Orfeo, the Chester play of “Noah’s Flood,” a chronicle of the reign of King Henry V, Chaucer’s “Treatise on the Astrolabe,” and selections from the Paston Letters (noble family during the Wars of the Roses).
Precepted by Liam Daley

Representing Utopia through the Ages

While the idea of establishing an ‘actual’ utopia has been disparaged since the first half of the twentieth century from socio-political perspectives (e.g. the failed age of ideology from 1917-1945), literary and related cultural narratives have a long history of imagining and representing utopia (also paradise, the golden age, etc.). These utopias often function to criticize the problematic social norms and climates of their times as well as providing progressive imaginings for a better future, often based on certain ideals or virtues. In this module, we go on a chronological tour of different representations of utopia, including: the paleolithic utopia of hunter-gatherers (e.g. as discussed in Harari’s Homo Sapiens) (before 10,000 BC), the Bronze Age utopia of Minoan Crete (4000-1400 BCE), Plato’s mythical island of Atlantis (ca 400 BC), the pastoral utopia of the Roman poet Virgil (ca 40 BC), the New World utopia of Sir Thomas More (1516), the Enlightened, reasoned utopia of Robinson Crusoe (1719), Tolkien’s fantasy utopia of Númenor (ca 1940), and more.
Precepted by Hamish Williams

Russian Fairy Tales: Journeys, Quests, and Chicken Legs

In this module we will explore some of the most important Russian fairy tales, their archetypal characters, and beautiful imagery. We will travel to magical lands and meet incredible characters, even a talking pancake!
Precepted by Pilar Barrera

Shakespeare's Epic Fairy Tales: Pericles and Cymbeline

This module looks at two late plays frequently overlooked in Shakespeare studies: Pericles, Prince of Tyre and Cymbeline. In Pericles, Shakespeare and collaborator George Wilkins present a medievalist fairy-tale of adventure on the high seas, set in the ancient Mediterranean and narrated by Middle English poet, John Gower. In Cymbeline, a princess’s attempt to rid herself of the suitor she loathes and reunite with the man she loves leads to a tangle of escapes, pursuits, and mistaken identities. Decried by some critics for their eccentric and eclectic plots, both plays feature grand voyages across land and sea, benevolent magic, and the loss and recovery of true love.
Precepted by Liam Daley

Shakespeare's Epic Fairy Tales: "The Winter's Tale" and "The Two Noble Kinsmen"

This module continues the examination of Shakespeare’s late work with two baffling and beautiful plays. "The Winter’s Tale" begs the question: where does art end and magic begin? Containing the bard’s most famous stage direction—“Exit, pursued by a bear”—this tale of jealousy and forgiveness transforms from domestic tragedy into pastoral comedy, before finally arriving Shakespeare’s strangest endings. "The Two Noble Kinsmen", Shakespeare’s final work, gives Chaucer’s Middle English "The Knight’s Tale" a Renaissance rewrite. Co-authored with rising start of the Jacobean stage, John Fletcher, this tragicomedy expands the scope of Chaucer’s female characters while hinting at range of suppressed, taboo romantic desires. Blending the poignant and the absurd, the playwrights claim they only hope their “modern” adaptation won’t raise Chaucer’s angry ghost!
Precepted by Liam Daley

Star Wars and Joseph Campbell

Unleash the power of the Force and explore the mythological roots of the Star Wars universe! This module takes you on a journey through the iconic Original Star Wars Trilogy, revealing the timeless archetypes and universal themes that have captivated audiences for generations. As a class we will read Joseph Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces and discuss its influence on the Original Star Wars Trilogy. You will get to examine the hero's journey as presented in Campbell's influential work and how it shaped the characters, plot, and imagery of the Star Wars films. Let’s get together and geek out over the mythology underpinning this beloved franchise!
Precepted by Julian Barr

The Andre Norton Nebula Award

Join Dr. Sara Brown and Sparrow Alden as they read their way through the winners and nominees of the Andre Norton Nebula Award for Middle Grade and Young Adult Fiction. How do these books speak to their special audience? What do they reflect about changing society? How do they build or break down their readers' connection to modern culture? How do they use heritage and world mythology to bring their stories to life?

Each time this module is presented, we will choose two different Norton Award novels to read, enjoy, discuss, and analyze with various critical tools. Mostly we're going to read great books and have fun working to understand them at deeper and deeper levels.
Precepted by Sparrow Alden and Sara Brown

The Argonauts: Apollonius of Rhodes

The journey awaits! In this standalone module, we will read Apollonius of Rhodes' epic Argonautica from start to finish. Guided by a twisted prophecy, our hero Jason embarks on a journey across the roaring waves. His goal: the golden fleece. Jason cannot do it alone, and must assemble the greatest team the Greek world has ever seen-- the fighter Hercules, the seer Idmon, the bard Orpheus, and many more. Their quest will lead them to ancient tombs, magical intrigues and battle with the ravening harpies. Each week, we will read one book of the Argonautica, following our heroes' adventures in a world of gods and magic. Packed with fascinating detail, this module is a perfect introduction to classical myth and epic!
Precepted by Julian Barr

The Dark is Rising Sequence Series

Susan Cooper’s classic fantasy series takes us into a world where the forces of the Light battle against those of the Dark, but these are also coming-of-age stories in which children are at the forefront of the conflict. Deeply rooted in the folklore of the British landscape, the narratives are often set in spaces encoded in ancient wisdom and traditions and employ, as Tolkien did in his legendarium, songs and verse that pass on those traditions.
Precepted by Sara Brown

The Dark is Rising Sequence 1: Over Sea, Under Stone First in the Series

Susan Cooper’s classic fantasy series takes us into a world where the forces of the Light battle against those of the Dark, but these are also coming-of-age stories in which children are at the forefront of the conflict. Deeply rooted in the folklore of the British landscape, the narratives are often set in spaces encoded in ancient wisdom and traditions and employ, as Tolkien did in his legendarium, songs and verse that pass on those traditions.

In this book, the first of the series, Cooper introduces us to the folklore of Cornwall, interweaving ancient customs with a modern confrontation against forces of evil. In this class, we will explore all the themes and ideas in the story and consider what it still has to say to us in the 21st century.
Precepted by Sara Brown

The Minoans and Modernity: Minotaurs, Labyrinths, and Other Myths

When one thinks of ancient, pre-classical civilisations, one thinks of Sumerians, Egyptians, Hittites, and, not least, Minoans. The Minoan civilisation, discovered around 1900 by English archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans, has often been styled as the first major European civilisation, equally proficient in technology and the arts, with a sea empire spanning across the Eastern Aegean. But how much of what we imagine about the Minoans is truthful and how much is modern mythmaking?

In this module, we will examine the immense impact which the discovery of Minoan Crete and its integration with the classical myths of the Minotaur and the Labyrinth has had on literature, movies, the arts, and even computer games. We will examine the works of Sir Arthur Evans, Pablo Picasso, Nikos Kazantzakis, Robert Graves, Mary Renault, Poul Anderson, and Stephen King, among others. In so doing, we will explore such key 'Minoan' concepts and phenomena as: the sublime, utopianism, feminism, irrationality and the unconscious, mythmaking, and European identity.
Precepted by Hamish Williams

The Trojan Quest: Aeneid 1

Troy has fallen, but the journey has just begun... This 3-module series will work steadily through the 12 books of Virgil's epic Aeneid, whose influence in the medieval period eclipsed even Homer. Each week we will read one book of the Aeneid in translation, focusing on Virgil's approach to characterisation, plot structure and themes. With two hours to spend on each book, students can enjoy a relaxed reading pace and friendly class discussion.
Precepted by Julian Barr

The Witch in Fact and Fiction

The witch contains a multitude of meanings, from victim to agent of political resistance to a paragon of magical power. While the witch is overtly present in modern media, her origins are often obscured. Is the witch always female? Where does her magic come from? And who devised the eight annual pagan festivals? This module uses Steve Hutton's Raven's Wand fantasy novel (and Book 1 of his Dark Raven Chronicles series) as a starting point to discuss how witches are depicted in fiction and history, and what witches themselves have to say about that.

The Dark Raven Chronicles offer an engaging overview of the main trends for depicting witches in speculative fiction. On our journey through the book, we will discuss what historical details and popular assumptions the author draws on, and how they compare to the lives of people accused of witchcraft in the past, and those who identify as witches today.
Precepted by Anna Milon

Tolkien and the Classical World

Based on the preceptor's edited volume, Tolkien and the Classical World, this module takes students on a tour of the classical influences and ideas on the life, writings, and thought of English fantasy writer J.R.R. Tolkien, while also introducing seminal Greco-Roman texts to those without any classical background.
Precepted by Hamish Williams

Tolkien and the Romantics: Dark Romanticism and the Gothic Literary Tradition

The Gothic genre has inspired many creative minds to explore the darker realms of human psychology and the wider world, sparking fear, terror, horror and repulsion in its audience. J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth is as much a ruined Gothic wasteland as it is an idyllic utopia. From Shelob's cave and the hypnotic Mirkwood to the Paths of the Dead and the Barrow-Downs, this module will examine Tolkien's use of Dark Romantic and Gothic techniques that were used by writers such as Horace Walpole, Mary Shelley, Edgar Allan Poe, Bram Stoker, and E.T.A. Hoffman to strike terror in the heart of their readers.

The module will follow an 8-lesson structure as follows:
• Lecture 1: The Funk of Forty Thousand Years: A Literary History of the Gothic
• Workshop 1: Chilly Echoes in Tolkien's Middle-earth
• Lecture 2: Bottomless Supernatural: Terror, Horror, Abject
• Workshop 2: Conjuring Creepy Creatures
• Lecture 3: The Weird, the Eerie, and the Dark Side of the Mind
• Workshop 3: Defamiliarising Middle-earth
• Lecture 4: Ruined Landscapes
• Workshop 4: What is left? Can the Gothic recover Middle-earth?

Note: The hybrid 8-lesson structure above is the new format for this module moving forward.
Precepted by Will Sherwood

Tolkien and the Romantics: Forging Myth and History

J.R.R. Tolkien famously 'found' his legendarium, translating and editing The Red Book of Westmarch for his twentieth century readers. This is not the first time an author has 'forged' a 'lost' literary history as James Macpherson's 'Ossian' documents from the 1760s started a craze for forgeries. Thomas Chatterton's Rowley and Turgot manuscripts similarly fed off the Ossian controversy while questioning what it really meant to 'forge' a document.

The module will follow an 8-lesson structure as follows:
• Lecture 1: The 1760s, the Age of Forgery
• Workshop 1: Which Red Book are we reading?
• Lecture 2: The Growth of Romantic Nationalism
• Workshop 2: The Book of Lost Tales: a mythology for which England?
• Lecture 3: Oral Traditions: Immortality and Youth
• Workshop 3: Vocalising Myth and History
• Lecture 4: Textual Traditions: Mortal Anxiety and Tangible History
• Workshop 4: Writing myth and history

Note: The hybrid 8-lesson structure above is the new format for this module moving forward.
Precepted by Will Sherwood

Tolkien and the Romantics: Imagining and Dreaming

The imagination and dreams are essential parts of J.R.R. Tolkien's world building which he explored across many stories from 'The Lord of the Rings' and 'On Fairy-stories' to 'The Notion Club Papers'. The same can be said of the Romantics who saw an important connection between the two. In works such as Samuel Taylor Coleridge's 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner' and 'Kubla Khan', Lord Byron's 'The Dream' and 'Darkness', and Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein', the imaginary and dream-like meet with awe-inspiring, melancholy or blood-chilling results.

The module sessions are structured as follows:
• Class 1: The Realms of (Childhood) Faery (60m)
• Class 2: Faery’s Enchantment (60m)
• Class 3: The Terror of the Night (60m)
• Class 4: The Past is an Imagined Dreamworld (90m)
• Class 5: Visions of the Apocalypse (60m)
• Class 6: Senses and Sensation (60m)
• Class 7: Glimpses, mere Fragments (90m)
Precepted by Will Sherwood

Wayward Children Novella Series Series

Boarding schools have become a staple in fantasy, but Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children specializes in children that have stumbled into and then out of portals and haven't quite managed to adjust to being back from their adventures. There are three rules at Eleanor West's: No Solicitations, No Visitors, and No Quests.
Precepted by Laurel Stevens

Wayward Children Novellas: Part 1 First in the Series

Boarding schools have become a staple in fantasy, but Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children specializes in children that have stumbled into and then out of portals and haven't quite managed to adjust to being back from their adventures. There are three rules at Eleanor West's: No Solicitations, No Visitors, and No Quests.

Explore the first three novellas (Every Heart a Doorway, Down Among the Sticks and Bones, and Beneath the Sugar Sky) of the Hugo and Nebula-winning Wayward Children series by Seanan McGuire. Join in for a discussion on portal fantasies, children's adventures, and what it can mean to believe in a world you may never see again.
Precepted by Laurel Stevens

Wayward Children Novellas: Part 2 Continuing Series

Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children has three rules: No Solicitations, No Visitors, and No Quests. Pity that most worlds give no care for rules not their own.
Precepted by Laurel Stevens

Wayward Children Novellas: Part 3 Continuing Series

Boarding schools have become a staple in fantasy, but Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children specializes in children that have stumbled into and then out of portals and haven't quite managed to adjust to being back from their adventures. There are three rules at Eleanor West's: No Solicitations, No Visitors, and No Quests.
Precepted by Laurel Stevens

Yōkai and Legends: Exploring the Weird in Japanese and Latin American Cultures

Ghost stories are an important element from all cultures, but in weird and, of course, mysterious ways, there seem to be similar legends and stories of Yōkai in Japanese and Latin American Cultures. From the similarities of Obon with Día de los Muertos to different legends such as Kuchisake onna and La Llorona, we will discuss these legends within their cultural context and have fun with these weird and fantastic beings.
Precepted by Pilar Barrera and Robert Steed
If you have any questions about the SPACE program, please reach out to [email protected].