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

Worldbuilding Portal

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Are You Tolkien To Me?

Why are the works of J.R.R. Tolkien still so relevant to us in the 21st century? In this course, we will look at some of the central themes of his novels, including Family, Home, Good vs. Evil, and Loss, exploring how Tolkien is still speaking to us almost fifty years after his death.

There are no required texts for this course, however, you may find having a copy of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings very useful (any edition).
Precepted by Sara Brown

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: 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: 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

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: Long Project Preparation

Well-prepared writers enjoy more completion success! We will build worlds, plan character arcs, and try to define the bones of our stories during a month of glorious sub-creation! When you declare your intentions to the group, that act of bravery alone adds momentum to your writing efforts after the month is over. (This Module is great preparation before National Novel Writing Month)


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

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 Terry Pratchett's Discworld: Which Witch is Which?

Terry Pratchett's witches - Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg and Magrat Garlick - are more than just a marvelous spoof of those in Shakespeare's 'Macbeth'. In addition to their undoubted comedic value, they are also a voice for some of the major themes of the Discworld novels. Through readings of extracts from the relevant novels, as well as reference to some modern scholarship, we will examine the differences between witch magic and wizard magic; the role of witches in Discworld society; Pratchett's representations of gender; themes of power and authority, and the presentation of the minor witch characters. 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

Geology of Fictional Worlds

This course introduces the student to the various aspects of geology and how they can relate to worldbuilding and mapmaking. This includes continents, plate tectonics, mountains, water, glaciers, planetary patterns, the distribution of rock types and natural resources, natural disasters and weather patterns. This background would allow students to better evaluate fictional maps as well as create them. Examples will be drawn from Middle-earth, Earth-sea, Westeros, Dungeons and Dragons, and suggestions from students.
Precepted by Shawn Gaffney

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep / Blade Runner - A Study in Adaptation

"I've seen things you people wouldn't believe..."

Dive into a world where the lines between human and machine blur. In this module, we will read Philip K. Dick's classic novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Then we shall compare it to the ground-breaking cinematic adaptations, Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049 . Unpacking the evolution of the story and its various iterations, we will get together twice a week to discuss its questions about humanity, empathy, and artificial intelligence. No prior knowledge assumed - all are welcome in this class!

Week 1 & 2: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Week 3: Blade Runner
Week 4: Blade Runner 2049
Precepted by Julian Barr

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

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

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

Lowdham’s Report on the Adunaic Language

Tolkien wrote a grammar of the Adunaic language, the language of Númenor, as part of his Notion Club Papers in the 1940s. Unlike his other language invention, this work was never revisited and so, even though it is incomplete, we don’t have to sort through multiple layers of corrections and changes-of-mind. This is an uncharacteristically “clean” description of one of Tolkien’s languages.

In this module, we’ll take on the role of budding philologists, working our way through the “Report”. We’ll not only get more insight into Tolkien’s language invention but into grammar, philology, and linguistics in general. We’ll draw comparisons with “real” languages of the primary world and see how languages were described in the tradition Tolkien was trained in.
Precepted by James Tauber

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

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

The History, People, and Culture of Tolkien's Númenor

With the publication of The Fall of Númenor (November 2022) we finally have much of Tolkien’s writing on this period in the history Middle-earth drawn together in one place. This offers a unique opportunity, at a moment when the island of Númenor has come to greater public awareness via Amazon’s show ‘The Rings of Power’, to fully examine this aspect of Tolkien’s secondary world. In this course, we will explore the history of Númenor, with particular focus on important events, significant people, the geography of the island, and the evolving culture of the Númenóreans.

Special Note: We are excited to announce that Brian Sibley, noted for his BBC Radio adaptations of both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, as well as for his many books on Tolkien, will be joining us in one of the sessions (Date tbc). He is going to talk to us about his work on the new book The Fall of Númenor, and will be available to answer any questions you might have.
Precepted by Sara Brown

Tolkien And Alchemy

Transformation and the process of transformation, either physical or of the self, is a significant theme in Tolkien’s writing and appears throughout the Middle-earth legendarium. In this SPACE course, we will explore how the practice, philosophy and symbolism of alchemy resonate in the texts and provide another way to read the changes that are apparent throughout. Amongst other topics, we will look at the Music of the Ainur and Tolkien’s creation myth, the recurring symbolism of the alchemical colours: Black, White and Red, the metaphor of Gold, the nature of the One Ring, and Frodo as alchemical subject.
Precepted by Sara Brown

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's Unfinished Tales

The Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth is a collection of stories and essays by J.R.R. Tolkien which are filled with all the wonderful elements of story-telling that are to be found in The Silmarillion, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings and yet, for some reason, they are less well-known and less studied. Some, like ‘Aldarion and Erendis: The Mariner’s Wife’, offer a compelling insight into the Second Age and the time of Númenor. Others, such as ‘The History of Galadriel and Celeborn’, ‘The Quest of Erebor’, or ‘The Hunt for the Ring’, shed further light on the events of the Third Age that are so familiar to readers of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. We will discuss some of these stories and place them in the context of the other Middle-earth works.

Access to a copy of The Unfinished Tales is essential. Prior knowledge of the stories within is desirable, but you could read them as we go along.
Precepted by Sara Brown

Vampires, Werewolves and Wights – Oh My! Uncanny Creatures in Middle-earth

There are dragons in Tolkien’s works, of course, as well as Ents, Trolls, and Orcs, all enabling Tolkien to give shape and dimension to his world of Middle-earth. Less discussed amongst readers of the legendarium are the weird creatures that sit in the shadows – the ones designed to really make the back of your neck prickle. In this course, we will discuss these more troubling inhabitants of Middle-earth, with some close reading of the texts to guide our way.

Access to copies of The Silmarillion, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings is essential. Prior knowledge of the texts is desirable, but you could read them as we go along.
Precepted by Sara Brown
If you have any questions about the SPACE program, please reach out to [email protected].