Thursday, March 21, 2013

Research Projects

Now that you have all finished your research projects, feel free to discuss any of the following:
-- What was the most difficult part of the research process for your project?
-- What was the most surprising or unexpected piece of info you learned from your project?
-- How has your view of Tolkien and/or his work changed as a result of your project?

6 comments:

Ashley Cauley said...

I did my research project on an unfinished time travel story called "The Lost Road." Tolkien had an interesting idea with the time travel thing, but there are only four completed chapters. The most difficult part of the paper was the fact that it was unfinished. It has been published by Christopher Tolkien in a volume of "The History of Middle-earth." Predictably, there were LOTS of footnotes. Reading half of an unfinished story while having to constantly refer to the footnotes was difficult for me. I would have preferred to have read a completed story.

Lorin said...

I wrote about the maps Tolkien and his son made to accompany The Hobbit, LOTR, and the Silmarillion, and while I wasn't sure I'd find it that interesting, I actually really did! Except now I feel some sort of revulsion for the non-Tolkien-drawn maps included in some of the Tolkien books I have. I guess that just means that I need to go out and buy books that have his original maps in them now :)

S. M. said...

My research paper covered The Father Christmas Letters. The number of letters in the collection surprised me (there are over twenty), so the hardest part for me was choosing which scenes and illustrations to discuss. Each letter has its own charm and story, but I knew that I couldn’t discuss all of them. In the end, I decided to write about certain passages and pictures that would give readers a feel for the collection without bogging them down with too many details.

Troy Wells said...

I wrote about a poem Tolkien wrote called "Mythopoeia." It was written based off the response Tolkien gave C.S. Lewis one night when Lewis called myths useless. How cool is it that when someone offended Tolkien he would write and publish a six-page poem ripping into them as a response. A big reason I enjoyed the poem was that it gave a bit more insight into Tolkien's views on creation/subcreation as well as his views on the afterlife. I happy I got this poem assigned to me because I had already read "Leaf by Niggle" and was very interested in learning more of Tolkien's views on the afterlife. I was also happy that the poem was only six pages:)

sworland said...

I researched a collection of 16 poems Tolkien published as The Adventures of Tom Bombadil. You can find them all in the Tales from the Perilous Realm. I really encourage you to read them, and read them out loud if you do! It makes them way easier to get through, and it's easier to hear and appreciate Tolkien's rhyme schemes and word plays. I focused on three of the poems for my paper, and I researched the influences of Greek mythology on Tolkien's works. I got so interested in this project, and it was really fun to learn more about Tolkien's childhood (he spoke in fluent Greek during a school debate one time in order to better argue his point - what a boss). I learned a lot about the timing of his writing, too. I discovered several instances where Tolkien was writing multiple pieces at once and the works clearly influence one another.

Julie Lautenschleger said...

I wrote about Tolkien's children's book, Mr. Bliss. The most difficult part of the research project was finding sources that weren't directly related to the children's book. For instance, finding material on Tolkien's view on children and children's books in general was much more challenging than finding publications that discussed Mr. Bliss. This project gave me quite a bit of insight into Tolkien's perspective on literary perfectionism (which I discuss in a post above!). I had no idea to what lengths Tolkien really went to in order to finish a work, and found it quite interesting that he chose never to do that with Mr. Bliss and instead had it published after his death. I think I have gained a good deal of respect for Tolkien's attention to detail, as I haven't heard of any other author take such great pains to get everything "just right."