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

Precepted by James Tauber

All Modules

A Journey Through The History of Middle-earth

Christopher Tolkien’s twelve volumes on the History of Middle-earth give unparalleled insight into the development of J.R.R. Tolkien’s legendarium. They contain early drafts of familiar texts, different conceptualizations of well-known stories, and in some cases completely new material.

In this series of SPACE modules, we will tackle one volume per month over the course of a year. Each month-long module will provide an overview of a volume in context as well as readings from and discussion of highlights in that volume. Each module will include a guest appearance from Tolkien scholar John Garth.

Whether you’ve read the History of Middle-earth before or not, the hope is that these modules will make the volumes more accessible and will enhance your appreciation of the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. There is no requirement that you do every single module in the series as each will be largely standalone, although in later modules, references will be made to earlier volumes.

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Required Texts: Each module will require a particular volume of the History of Middle-earth (any edition) as listed below, however, certain modules will also benefit from access to The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion, and Unfinished Tales.

Module 1: The Book of Lost Tales: Part One
Module 2: The Book of Lost Tales: Part Two
Module 3: The Lays of Beleriand
Module 4: The Shaping of Middle-earth
Module 5: The Lost Road and Other Writings
Module 6: The Return of the Shadow — (The History of TLotR vol. 1)
Module 7: The Treason of Isengard — (The History of TLotR vol. 2)
Module 8: The War of the Ring — (The History of TLotR vol. 3)
Module 9: Sauron Defeated — (The History of TLotR vol. 4)
Module 10: Morgoth's Ring — (The Later Silmarillion vol. 1)
Module 11: The War of the Jewels — (The Later Silmarillion vol. 2)
Module 12: The Peoples of Middle-earth
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A Journey Through The History of Middle-earth: The Book of Lost Tales, Part One

Christopher Tolkien’s twelve volumes on the History of Middle-earth give unparalleled insight into the development of J.R.R. Tolkien’s legendarium. They contain early drafts of familiar texts, different conceptualizations of well-known stories, and in some cases completely new material.

This module is part of a series of modules covering all twelve volumes of The History of Middle-earth. This particular module will provide an overview of Volume One, The Book of Lost Tales Part One, as well as readings from and discussion of highlights in that volume. It will include a guest appearance from Tolkien scholar John Garth.

Whether you’ve read the History of Middle-earth before or not, the hope is that these modules will make the volumes more accessible and will enhance your appreciation of the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. There is no requirement that you do every single module in the series as each will be largely standalone, although in later modules, references will be made to earlier volumes.

A Journey Through The History of Middle-earth: The Book of Lost Tales, Part Two

Christopher Tolkien’s twelve volumes on the History of Middle-earth give unparalleled insight into the development of J.R.R. Tolkien’s legendarium. They contain early drafts of familiar texts, different conceptualizations of well-known stories, and in some cases completely new material.

This module is part of a series of modules covering all twelve volumes of The History of Middle-earth. This particular module will provide an overview of Volume Two, The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, as well as readings from and discussion of highlights in that volume. It will include a guest appearance from Tolkien scholar John Garth.

Whether you’ve read the History of Middle-earth before or not, the hope is that these modules will make the volumes more accessible and will enhance your appreciation of the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. There is no requirement that you do every single module in the series as each will be largely standalone, although in later modules, references will be made to earlier volumes.

A Journey Through The History of Middle-earth: The Lays of Beleriand

Christopher Tolkien’s twelve volumes on the History of Middle-earth give unparalleled insight into the development of J.R.R. Tolkien’s legendarium. They contain early drafts of familiar texts, different conceptualizations of well-known stories, and in some cases completely new material.

This module is part of a series of modules covering all twelve volumes of The History of Middle-earth. This particular module will provide an overview of Volume Three, The Lays of Beleriand, as well as readings from and discussion of highlights in that volume. It will include a guest appearance from Tolkien scholar John Garth.

Whether you’ve read the History of Middle-earth before or not, the hope is that these modules will make the volumes more accessible and will enhance your appreciation of the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. There is no requirement that you do every single module in the series as each will be largely standalone, although in later modules, references will be made to earlier volumes.

A Journey Through The History of Middle-earth: The Shaping of Middle-earth

Christopher Tolkien’s twelve volumes on the History of Middle-earth give unparalleled insight into the development of J.R.R. Tolkien’s legendarium. They contain early drafts of familiar texts, different conceptualizations of well-known stories, and in some cases completely new material.

This module is part of a series of modules covering all twelve volumes of The History of Middle-earth. This particular module will provide an overview of Volume Four, The Shaping of Middle-earth, as well as readings from and discussion of highlights in that volume. It will include a guest appearance from Tolkien scholar John Garth.

Whether you’ve read the History of Middle-earth before or not, the hope is that these modules will make the volumes more accessible and will enhance your appreciation of the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. There is no requirement that you do every single module in the series as each will be largely standalone, although in later modules, references will be made to earlier volumes.

Ancient Greek Morphology

Designed for intermediate students of Classical or Biblical Greek with roughly a year under their belts, this course will provide a detailed look at the inflectional system of Ancient Greek, moving past the memorization of paradigms to provide a rich linguistic explanation for why Ancient Greek word forms work the way they do.

Bridge to the Silmarillion

This course is intended for people who have read Lord of the Rings and are beginners to the Silmarillion. We will re-read various passages from Lord of the Rings that make reference to First Age people, places, and events: the mighty Elf-friends of old, the Exile of the Elves; the Tale of Tinúviel; the story of Eärendil and more. We will whet our appetites and gather some motivating questions that will make a future journey into the Silmarillion easier and more enjoyable.

Electronic Text Markup With XML and TEI

This module will introduce the markup of literary and historical texts electronically. It will begin with a tour of the Extensible Markup Language (XML) and then the guidelines of the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI). There will plenty of hands-on activities to markup your out-of-copyright texts of choice.

Music Theory for the Mathematically-Inclined

Music is often described as mathematical but music theory is rarely taught from this perspective. This course will cover traditional basic music theory but will explore some of the underlying mathematical reasons why music works the way it does. Nothing beyond high school math is required.

The History of the Symphony: After Beethoven

This module will be a chronological listening tour of the history of the symphony after Beethoven. We will explore the symphony’s subsequent development in the romantic era, and its rethinking in the 20th century. We will listen to some key works together and discuss some of the innovations introduced in those particular works.

The History of the Symphony: Beginnings to Beethoven

This module will be a chronological listening tour from the precursors of the symphony in the baroque era to the birth of the symphony in the classical era culminating in the works of Beethoven. We will listen to some key works together and discuss some of the innovations introduced in those particular works.

'The Rings of Power' Discussion Group

The wait is over and Amazon’s new Tolkien-inspired series has come. Already, this series has stimulated much heated discussion across various social media, with the images and trailers dividing opinion among Tolkien fans. In this discussion group, we will watch the show and discuss what we have seen, linking it to what we already know about Tolkien’s creation, and exploring the ways in which ‘The Rings of Power’ is extending the world of Middle-earth.

Access to copies of The Silmarillion, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings is desirable. Prior knowledge of the texts is also desirable, but you could manage without. Knowledge of The History of Middle-earth series and The Unfinished Tales is a bonus!

The Second Age of Middle-earth

The Second Age of Middle-earth saw the rise and fall of Númenor, the rise and (apparent) fall of Sauron, and the creation of the Rings of Power. This course will look at the events of the Second Age with readings from LOTR (especially Appendix A and B), Unfinished Tales, and the Silmarillion. It will be of particular interest to people who want to know more about the Second Age to be ready for the Amazon Prime series LOTR: The Rings of Power starting in September 2022.

Tolkien’s Invented Languages in The Lord of the Rings

In this puzzle-solving course we will work to piece together Tolkien’s invented languages based primarily on how they are used in The Lord of the Rings. Although much richer linguistic information became publicly available later, this course will look primarily at those aspects of the languages revealed through the main text and appendices of The Lord of the Rings.

Tolkien's Writing Systems

This module will study various writing systems invented or adapted by Tolkien. We will primarily look at the Tengwar and the Angerthas (Cirth) described in The Lord of the Rings but we will also touch on other systems such as the Hobbit runes and other runic variants as well as the Goblin Alphabet from Letters from Father Christmas. Along the way we will introduce some basic phonetics and place Tolkien’s inventions in the context of the writing systems of the primary world.
If you have any questions about the SPACE program, please reach out to [email protected].