Who Are You?: Mythopoeia and the Perilous Realm in the Works of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien


Course Description

When Alice first meets the Caterpillar in Wonderland, he asks her a seemingly simple question: “Who are you?” Why does she find it difficult to reply? Did she lose her identity when she fell down the rabbit hole? Carroll’s tales have served as an inspiration and a springboard for many storytellers, including J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. The objective of this course will be to explore some of the works of fiction by these two authors. We will establish the idea of the “perilous realm” through a reading of Carroll’s Alice stories. We will then examine two books from C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia, some of J.R.R. Tolkien’s short stories, and finally, The Hobbit.

Questions raised will include: What is the “perilous realm”? How do the central characters change throughout the story? What does their growth imply about the human condition? How do stories affect and change the reader? How do free choices affect the interactions among the characters in the stories? What are the roles of hope, pity, and despair? What is a “eucatastrophe”? What are the larger ethical and moral messages these authors are advancing?


Please note, that all courses have a maximum enrollment of 18 students.

Priority is given to students who pay upon registration.

For fully registered courses, a waiting list will be created. Should vacancies develop, those on the waiting list will be contacted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Please note that we do not allow participants to audit courses for free.

Course Details

First Session: Thursday, January 9th 2020

Course Length: 12 weeks, Thursdays, 6:15 PM - 8:15 PM

Discussion Team: Joseph Vietri, Anne Fitzpatrick, Irene Menear

Course Fees: 

$150.00 (tuition fee)

$100.00 (promotion for new students)


Administrative Fee:



$185.00 (tuition fee)

$135.00 (promotion for new students)


Please note, degree students must schedule an appointment with the Admissions and Accreditation Committee to register for courses for this term. Degree students should not register online.

The course fees are refundable in full before the second session. After the second session, a fee of $50 for the withdrawal will be applied. Refunds will not be issued after the third session.


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