Tolkien presentation slated at Wilton library on Jan. 14

WILTON – Clia M. Goodwin, PhD, will present the program “J.R.R. Tolkien and the Uses of Fantasy” at the Wilton Public Library on Tuesday, Jan. 14, at 7 p.m.

The program is provided through the New Hampshire Humanities Council and is free and open to the public.

Goodwin writes in her handout, “More and more readers, young and old, have been drawn to fantasy literature, which has transformed itself in just a few decades from a marginal genre to a wildly popular and important cultural phenomenon. This popularity has expanded partly because of contemporary film’s ability to create believable fantasy world.

“Once dismissed as escapist trash, fantasy, as described by a contemporary critic (and one-time student of Professor Tolkien), is the ‘dominant literary mode of the 20th century.’?”

“What accounts for its special appeal? To explore the popularity of fantasy, this presentation considers, as did Tolkien, the ‘rewards’ of fantasy, as reveled in ‘The Lord of the Rings.’

“Tolkien’s world of Middle-Earth is both familiar and strange, and his creation seems very real to readers. The tales have mythic structures that reinforce a detailed world of wonder and terror and explore the human condition – the existence of good and evil, tragedy, trials, joys – in a hero’s metaphorical and actual journey to triumph and consolation.”

Her presentation will discuss Tolkien’s background and sources, using images of Tolkien’s illustrations and maps of
Middle-Earth and the role of “The Hobbit” in the creation of Tolkien’s world.

Goodwin is a lecturer, teacher, writer and musician now living in Dover. She grew up in Tulsa, Okla., completed a bachelor’s in English literature and a master’s in humanities at the University of Arkansas.

She pursued her love of medieval literature at the University of Illinois at Champagne-Urbana, concentrating on Old English, Old French and Old Norse literature and languages. She received a grant to study “Beowulf” at Harvard.

She is a member of the Medieval Academy of America and taught humanities at the University of New Hampshire for more than 20 years.

For more information, call the library at 654-2581.