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Class dates: Thursdays, Sept. 13 to Oct. 18, 2012
Total classes: 6
Starting time: 11:30 am Eastern (10:30 Central)
Duration: 1 hour
Prerequisite: Ability to read the book with pleasure at about 3 chapters per week.
Suggested grade level: 8th to 12th grade.
Suggested high school credit: ½ semester. Follow with Fellowship of the Rings for a full semester.
Fee: $100 for all 6 classes.
Instructor: Henry Russell, Ph.D.
Course description: Tolkien’s The Hobbit was written as a children’s story and retains much of the clarity and light-heartedness of its kind. But Bilbo Baggins’ world is slowly made richer and deeper both by the author’s use of the Catholic elements from the great medieval saga of Beowulf and the background world of Tolkien’s deepest Elvish imaginings. By the end of the novel, Tolkien’s life-long themes of 1) a long-fought history that shapes the needs of every modern day; 2) the need for heroism from simple people; 3) the necessity for constant moral vigilance by those who are destined to lead; 4) the conquest of charity over greed; and 5) the sorrow and beauty created by these first four themes, have penetrated to the heart of the reader. The success of this novel convinced Tolkien and his wise and humane publishers, Allen and Unwin, that the modern world was ready to hear more of the complex moral and supernatural world which Tolkien once thought was of interest mostly to scholars of the ancient like himself. We will both discuss the book and welcome comments about the new movie coming out in December.
Class 1: An Unexpected Party—A Short Rest
Class 2: Over Hill and Under Hill—Out of the Frying Pan into the Fire
Class 3: Queer Lodgings—Flies and Spiders
Class 4: Barrels out of Bond—On the Doorstep
Class 5: Inside Information—Fire and Water
Class 6: The Gathering of the Clouds—The Last Stage
Course materials: The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien
Homework: One to one and one-half hours per week. Weekly Quiz, Midterm, and Final. Answer keys provided for parental or self grading.
Instructor biography: Dr. Henry Russell is Headmaster of the St. Augustine’s Homeschool Enrichment Program founded with his wife Crystal. The program began in Fall 2005 with 20 students in two living rooms and now tutors more than 70 students. He is also the President of the SS Peter and Paul Educational Foundation, dedicated to founding an orthodox Catholic Liberal Arts college in southeast Michigan.
A graduate of Princeton and South Caroline (M.S.), Dr. Russell completed his graduate work at Louisiana State University. Formerly the Chairman of Ave Maria College’s Department of Literature, he has also been a professor at Franciscan University of Steubenville and Wake Forest University. He is a founding faculty member of the St. Robert Southwell Creative Writing Workshop held in Mahwah, New Jersey.
Dr. Russell’s works include The Catholic Shakespeare Audio Series available from Kolbe Academy. He was the Associate Editor of The Formalist from 1990-2004 and his writings have been published in various journals. He was honored to edit Dr. Alice von Hildebrand’s groundbreaking volume, The Privilege of Being a Woman.
Equipment requirements: Classes are online, live and interactive. Students are required to have high-speed internet and a headset with microphone.
Dr. Russell will be available via email in between classes for questions and comments.
Recordings of classes are provided to students within 24 hours and available for 6 months.
Homeschool Connections does not provide record keeping services.
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