Tolkien Chat 13:Mythcon 44

Tolkien Chat 13: Mythgard at Mythcon 44

July 12 through 15 saw a swarm of fantasy scholars and fans descend on the Kellogg Conference Center of Michigan State University to participate in the Mythopoeic Society’s Mythcon 44. This year’s theme, “The Green and Growing Land,” spark the imagination of a number of Mythgard Institute students. As a result, seven presentations across the weekend were made by Mythgardians:

  • Laura Lee Smith – “First Contact: Man in the Landscape of Tormance and Perelandra”
  • Ryan Joy – “Mary Shelley’s Creature and Picard’s Humanity”
  • Kris Swank – “Good Plain Food: Diet and Virtue in the Fantasies of Tolkien and Lewis”
  • Trish Lambert – “How the Respective Cosmogonies of Narnia and Middle-earth Affect Grief and Hope in the Environment”
  • Dan Kinney – “The Musical Heart of the Lands of Narnia and Middle-earth”
  • Andrew Higgins – “A Linguistic Exploration through Tolkien’s Earliest Landscapes”

In addition, Professor Verlyn Flieger made a presentation entitled “How Forests Behave-Or Do They” and visiting lecturer Douglas Anderson, who was Scholar Guest of Honor at the event, gave a presentation about fairies in fantasy works of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Mythgard students were limited to the podium. Deborah Sabo and Laura Berkholtz were in the audience, contributing their own thoughts and observations during question and answer sessions.

And there is more! Professor Flieger also won the Inklings Studies prize and accepted it to a standing ovation. Our own Professor Olsen was also a nominee in this category, and though it was a disappointment not to hear his name announced, it was a eucatastrophic consolation to hear Dr. Flieger’s name boom through the speakers. Here’s hoping Dr. Olsen is nominated again next year!

There were so many interesting papers presented that there is no way to write about them all. Instead, a group of Mythgard students got together in the bar of the Kellogg Center and shared thoughts about the presentations they had attended. Captured in a short recording in this Tolkien Chat, it offers some bits and bobs about this year’s Mythcon.

The 2014 Mythcon conference will take place next August at Wheaton College, Norton Massachusetts. Here’s hoping we see even more Mythgardians in attendance…including Dr. Olsen!

Download .mp3 (right click and choose “Save As…” to download)