Lewis and Tolkien – ENGL 465

CG • Section 8WK • 07/01/2018 to 12/31/2199 • Modified 09/05/2023

Course Description

A study of the major works of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien.

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.


If there exists an intersection of the Christian faith and important modern literature, the works of C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien stand at the center. No other two authors have meant more to so many genres of writing—literary criticism, fantasy literature, poetry, Christian apologetics—than Lewis and Tolkien. And their legacies are still growing today. This class will offer a close look at the lives and important works of the two most important Christian literary figures of the last century.

Course Assignment

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview.

Discussions are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to provide a thread in response to the provided prompt for each discussion. Each thread must be 300–350 words, include at least 2 citations from the assigned readings, and demonstrate course-related knowledge. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to 2 other classmates’ threads. Each reply must be at least 50–100 words.

For each Reading Response in this course, the student will be asked to engage an element (most often a theme) within selected text. The kind of analysis the student will be tasked with will vary from reading response to reading response, but in each response assignment, the aim is to discern and make an argument for how the element within the text functions. 

This reading response will vary in minimum length (300-400 words, depending on the topic), avoid summary, and be MLA or APA formatted, in accordance with the style guide required throughout the student's degree program.

Synthesis Essay Assignment

The goal of this paper is to pull together various strands from the sources encountered in the course including: biographical, theoretical, thematic, historical, figurative, literary, psychological, etc. The student will draw on elements from the reading, supplemental course material, and class lectures to argue for one insight either about 1) Lewis, 2) Tolkien, or 3) their friendship. This essay should be at least 1200 words, avoid summary, include at least 3 citations, and be MLA or APA formatted, in accordance with the style guide required throughout the student's degree program.

This paper should be 2000 words and it should focus on either a biographical or thematic element from the texts and research engaged with throughout this class. The student will use at least two primary texts from this class, either one of the textbooks or articles. Sources should be cited using correct MLA formatting. The purpose is to form an argument about a literary theme, biographical reading, or theological element in the text, then support that argument with an insightful close reading of that text. The student should consult and incorporate at least 4 to 5 secondary sources.