John Garth talk at National WW1 Museum, July 2016
Packing out the National World War I Museum, Kansas City, Missouri, July 2016

Talks and courses by John Garth
I strongly welcome invitations to teach or give talks. I have spoken on Tolkien and other topics in Britain, the US, France, Germany, Italy and elsewhere. I have taught courses at Oxford, in the US and online. You can watch (or listen to) some of my talks here.


1. Courses

Introduction to Tolkien’s Mythology, one-week course for the Oxford Experience, a residential summer programme hosted by Oxford University in the grand surroundings of Christ Church. Upcoming, 8–14 August 2021.

Tolkien and C.S. Lewis in Oxford, annual one-week course for the Oxford Experience, Christ Church, Oxford. 7–11 August 2017; 7–11 August 2018; 12–17 August 2019 and (upcoming) 1–7 August 2021.

The Worlds of J.R.R Tolkien, 12-week course accompanying my book of the same title, for students seeking MA credit with the online Mythgard Institute / Signum University. August–December 2020.

Heroic epic: Tolkien – course by John GarthHeroic epic: Tolkien, intensive five-week course for undergraduates and graduates, examining The Lord of the Rings as an adaptation of the heroic epic mode to reflect the modern experience of war. University of Nevada in Las Vegas, July–August 2016.

Major figures in British literature: Tolkien, 16-week course for undergraduates about The Silmarillion, The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings in their intellectual and historical contexts. University of Nevada in Las Vegas, January–May 2016.

Tolkien’s Wars and Middle-earth, 12-week course for students seeking MA credit with the online Mythgard Institute / Signum University. August–December 2015. Repeated August–December 2017 as an ‘anytime audit’ (recorded) course.

Tolkien and Oxford, one-week course focusing on his backgrounds in war and academia, for the Oxford University Summer School for Adults, with Dr Maria Artamonova. 2–9 August 2014.


2. Talks

2020 Middlemoot‘How Eärendil became the star of hope’, keynote paper for Signum University’s Middlemoot conference online, 10 October 2020 (right).

‘Tolkien and World War One – Why read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings as trench literature?’ Teachers’ webinar for the National World War I Museum in Kansas City, Missouri, 18 August 2020 (available at the museum’s Facebook page).

As part of a full day of streaming audio hosted by on 25 March 2020, I gave listeners a first preview of my upcoming book The Worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien.

Talk on Tolkien and the Great War in a colloquium on Tolkien and war at the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, on 24 January 2020 accompanying the major exhibition Tolkien: Voyage en Terre du Milieu. Online with French voiceover translation.

I spoke on Tolkien and the trenches to the Surrey branch of the Western Front Association, on 11 December 2019, in Cobham, Surrey.

Tolkien with the Lancashire Fusiliers, part of the ‘Summer of Tolkien’ at the Fusilier Museum, Bury, Lancashire, on 28 August 2019. (I also provided the interpretative panels for the museum’s centrepiece exhibition on Tolkien and the Somme.)

The Two Towers of Birmingham and Other Follies, at Tolkien 2019, the Tolkien Society’s biggest-ever conference, held in Birmingham, 8 August 2019 – a foretaste of my 2020 book Tolkien’s Worlds.

Shorthand Signalling: A new source for Tolkien’s Tengwar? — presented remotely to Omentielva Toltea, the eighth international conference on Tolkien's invented languages, Reykjavik, Iceland, 3 August 2019.

Tolkien and the First World War, at the Great War Forum Conference, Tally Ho Conference Centre, Birmingham, 27 April 2019.

Tolkien’s Atlantis myth of Númenor, Taruithorn (Oxford Tolkien Society), 23 January 2019.

Tolkien’s creation myth, Oxford C.S. Lewis Society, 22 January 2019.

Talk to University of Maryland students in Oxford, 21 January 2019.

Talk at the British Library event Tolkien’s World, 16 November 2018, together with artist Alan Lee and Oxford English lecturer Mark Atherton, in celebration of Middle-earth’s Anglo-Saxon connections.

Tolkien: From the Trenches to Middle-earth, Windsor Guildhall, 2 November 2018. (‘Ridiculously interesting!’ was my favourite comment.)

Atlantis and Mars: New Light on Tolkien, Lewis, and their Science-Fiction Pact – keynote talk to the Tolkien Society’s Oxonmoot gathering, St Antony’s College, Oxford, 22 September 2018. Previously presented to the Oxford CS Lewis Society, 17 January 2017.

John Garth Tolkien Seminar Augsburg 2017 – DTSKeynote talk, Ilu’s Music: The creation of Tolkien’s Creation myth, at the Fantasy, Science Fiction and Literary World-building conference and Tolkien Seminar, Augsburg University, Germany, 28 October 2017 (left).
Also presented to:
The Oxford Tolkien Society, 23 November 2017;
, a one-day literary conference on fantasy, science-fiction and fairy-tales hosted by Signum University on 28 April 2018; at
, Signum University’s annual conference, at the National Conference Center in Leesburg, Virginia, on 22 June 2018;
The Weston Library, Oxford, on 8 September 2018 as part of the co-events to the Bodleian’s Tolkien exhibition. You can watch that here (until 28 October only).

‘The likeness of Lúthien: How Britain and Edith Tolkien are reflected in Middle-earth’, at Estelcon, the Spanish Tolkien Society’s convention at Tortosa, Catalonia, 13–14 October 2017.

Talks in Oslo at ArtheCon, annual convention of Arthedain, the Tolkien Society of Norway, about the revenant dead of The Lord of the Rings and the invention of Númenor, 25–26 March 2017.

Reading from the letters of Tolkien's friend Rob Gilson in a commemoration of his battalion, The Maltings, Ely, 8 December 2016.

Talk, ‘The Great Wave: Tolkien’s Atlantis myth, the 1930s crisis of civilisation, and the bridge to The Lord of the Rings’, at the Tolkien Day symposium hosted by Liverpool Hope University, 11 November 2016.

John Garth book signing at the National World War I Museum in Kansas City, Missouri, July 2016Signing books at the National World War I Museum, Kansas City, Missouri, July 2016

Double-length talk, ‘Revenants: How the ghosts of World War One returned to haunt The Lord of the Rings, at the annual conference of Seryn Ennor, the Swiss Tolkien Society, hosted by the Greisinger Museum in Jenins, 3 September 2016.

Talk on Tolkien, writing and publication, to the Henderson Writers’ Group, Las Vegas, 25 July 2016.

Talk on Tolkien’s ghosts, followed by book signing, at the National World War 1 museum, Kansas City, Missouri, 16 July 2016.

Writer's Block Garth posterTolkien talk and discussion, Writer’s Block bookshop, Fremont Street, Las Vegas, 16 February 2016 (right).

Talk on research as Black Mountain Institute Fellow in Humanistic Studies, International Education Week at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, 17 November 2015.

‘“Quickened to full life by war”: A fresh look at why Tolkien fell for Faërie’ — talk at the Tolkien Society Seminar 2015, Leeds, 3 July 2015.

Tolkien talk for the Brigham Young University London Centre, LDS Church, London, 9 April 2015.

Talk on Tolkien and the First World War, the Tenth Annual Joan Coffey Symposium, Sam Houston State University, Texas, 25 March 2015.

‘Tolkien and the Great War’, Hudson Library and Historical Society, Ohio, 3 March 2015.

Tolkien on the brink of Middle-earth 100 years ago’, Regent’s Park College, Oxford, 27 February 2015.

Tolkien’s Dead Marshes, at Great War and Modern Imagination Conference, Beverley, East Yorkshire. 26 November 2014.

Tolkien’s 1914 creative breakthrough at Tolkien in Oxford: A Symposium, Merton College. 18 November 2014. Previously presented to the Oxford CS Lewis Society, 11 November 2014

Live Q&A, Compiègne’s Bibliothèque Saint-Corneille, as part of exhibition, Tolkien et la Grande Guerre, le fondement d'une mythe. 15 November 2014.

Reading from the letters of Robert Quilter Gilson, TCBS, as part of the centenary Remembrance Sunday events at his alma mater, Trinity College, Cambridge. 9 November 2014.

John Garth at Military History Museum, DresdenQuestions at Dresden’s Militär Historisches Museum, November 2014 (© C. Ulke/MHM)

Talk on ‘Tolkien und der Erste Weltkrieg’ at the Militär Historisches Museum in Dresden, 2 November 2014. The capacity crowd has only been topped twice, by a foreign minister and a film star.

I talked with four Oxford Anglo-Saxon professors in ‘Tolkien’s Beowulf: A Roundtable’, a Medieval English Research Seminar with the Faculty of English at Oxford University. 22 October 2014.

Talk on Tolkien to Western Front Association (Herts and Beds branch), Harpenden. 10 October 2014.

Talk on ‘Tolkien on the brink of Middle-earth, 1914’, at Oxonmoot, the Tolkien Society annual gathering, 12 September 2014. Watch highlights...

John Garth's talk on the breaking of Tolkien's first fellowshipIllustrated biographical talk, ‘The Breaking of Tolkien's First Fellowship’, opening a weekend of Great War commemorations in Marston Green, Warwickshire (former home of the Gilson family), 1 August 2014.

Talk on Tolkien to the University of Alabama’s Oxford summer school, Worcester College, 23 July 2014.

Guest of honour at Tolkien Thing, the annual gathering of the German Tolkien Society, at Castle Breuberg in Hesse, 18–20 July 2014.

éStoria festival, Gorizia, Italy, 21 May 2014: Panel discussion on Tolkien and the First World War. Watch the discussion (in English and Italian)...

Exeter College, Oxford, 30 April 2014: ‘Rector's Seminar’ on Tolkien as an undergraduate.

Exeter College, Founder’s Day Weekend, 6 April 2014: Tolkien at Exeter College.

Exeter College annual City Lecture, Freshfields, Fleet Street, 25 February 2014: Tolkien at Exeter College.

Oxford Tolkien Society, Christ Church, 8 November 2013: On Tolkien, the Great War, and Frodo.

Oxford C.S. Lewis Society, Pusey House, 22 October 2013: ‘Deaths, beliefs and griefs observed: C.S. Lewis, Aldous Huxley and JFK, died 22 November 1963’. Now available in full at the Daily Beast.

National Army Museum, 17 October 2013: ‘Shadow of the past: Memories of the Somme in Tolkien’s Middle-earth’ (right).

British Studies at Oxford summer school, St John’s College, 29 July 2013, on the Dead Marshes and the Somme.

Oxford Tolkien Spring School, Oxford University, 21 March 2013: ‘Tolkien’s life’.

Oxford University C.S. Lewis Society, Pusey House, 19 February 2013 and 8 June 2010, on the Dead Marshes and the Somme.

National World War I Museum, Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.A., 30 September 2012 (via live video feed). ‘Talking Tolkien: From the Somme to the Shire’.

Return of the Ring conference, Loughborough University, 19 August 2012: ‘Robert Quilter Gilson, TCBS: A brief life in letters’.

Hungarian Tolkien Society conference in Budapest, 16 June 2012. ‘In a hole in the ground: Tolkien in the trenches’.

Festival in the Shire, Pontrhydfendigaid, Wales, 15 August 2010. On Rob Gilson.

Penkridge Library, Staffordshire, 10 July 2009.

National Army Museum, London, 5 July 2007 (right).

Tolkien 2005 conference, Aston University, Birmingham, 13 August 2005.

The Lord of the Rings, 1954–2004: Scholarship in Honor of Richard E. Blackwelder, conference at Marquette University, Milwaukee, 21 October 2004. ‘Frodo and the Great War’. See here for one discussion of my paper.

Tolkien e la Terra di Mezzo conference, Italian Tolkien Society, Brescia, Italy, 21 March 2004.

Tolkien Society annual general meeting, the White Hart Hotel, Lincoln, 24 April 2004.

Rice University, Houston, Texas (Medieval Studies Workshop, Center for the Study of Cultures) 6 February 2004.

Oxford Tolkien Society, Christ Church College, 21 November 2003.

Eltham College, London, 29 November 2002.

Oxonmoot (annual Tolkien Society gathering) at St Anthony’s College, Oxford, on 22 September 2001 and 19 September 2003.

Cambridge Tolkien Society, 13 March 2001.

I have been a panellist in discussions on researching Tolkien at the Return of the Ring conference, 19 August 2012 (with Janet Brennan Croft, Verlyn Flieger and Robert S. Blackham), and on Tolkien and war at Oxonmoot, 20 September 2003 (with Jane Chance, Colin Duriez and Ted Sherman) and at the Tolkien 2005 conference, 12 August 2005 (with Tom Shippey).

The Worlds of
J.R.R. Tolkien

UK hardback
John Garth – The Worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien

US hardback
John Garth – The Worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien

To buy in French, Russian, Czech, Spanish, Italian, Finnish, Hungarian, German, or another language
see links here

Tolkien and
the Great War

UK paperback/ebook
John Garth Writer Tolkien And The Great War

US paperback/ebook
Tolkien and the Great War HMH

Audiobook read by
John Garth

Amazon UK, Audible UK,
Audible US

To buy in Italian, German, French, Spanish or Polish,
see links here

Tolkien at
Exeter College

Garth, Tolkien at Exeter College

© John Garth 2006