Tolkien Society Seminar

Summer 2022

~ Tolkien and the Gothic ~

Tolkien Society Seminar 2022 – Tolkien and the Gothic

Back to events feed Hilton Hotel, Leeds

Hilton Hotel, Leeds

The Tolkien Society Seminar is a short conference of both researcher-led and non-academic presentations on a specific theme pertaining to Tolkien scholarship. The Society held three seminars in 2021 (Twenty-first Century Receptions of Tolkien, Tolkien and Diversity, and Translating and Illustrating Tolkien) and their online setting has seen increased interest with over 700 attendees from 52 countries at Tolkien and Diversity’. After the seminar, all paper recordings from the seminars are uploaded onto the Tolkien Society’s YouTube channel. We are delighted to be running a hybrid seminar where speakers and audience can enjoy discussions on Tolkien in person and online.

Sunday 3rd July (Hybrid event) Hilton Hotel, Leeds (Free)

Tolkien’s engagement with the Gothic is not as straightforward as one may assume. His earliest understanding of the word and the language of the Goths can be traced to his reading of Joseph Wright’s A Primer of the Gothic Language (1892). His early fascination with Gothic consequently fed his own experimentations with language creation and legendarium.

However, his prose and poetry show a clear awareness of the Gothic literary tradition that had previously captured the imaginations of eighteenth and nineteenth century writers. Beyond his writing, Gothic influences can be found in Tolkien’s life: from the European fascination with Gothic architecture to the physical and psychological terrors of the Great War.

The seminar aims to explore the ways that Tolkien engaged with the various applications of the Gothic and how this in turn has influenced creative engagements with Tolkien.

Papers may consider, but are not limited to:

  • The Gothic literary tradition in Tolkien’s work
  • Tolkien’s work with the Gothic language
  • Biographical influences of Gothic architecture and the Great War
  • The Gothic in Tolkien art and illustrations
  • Gothic complexities when translating Tolkien

The Tolkien Society invites abstract submissions of no more than 300 words, for a 20-minute paper and 5 minutes of questions. The call for papers’ deadline is the end of the day, Friday 1st April.

Submit your paper

Submit your paper here.


The seminar will be free for all attendees (both online and in-person). You will be able to sign up to attend the seminar soon.

International Medieval Congress

There will be seven Tolkien-related sessions at the IMC in 2022:

  • J. R. R. Tolkien: Medieval Roots and Modern Branches (Monday 4 July: 11.15−12.45)
  • Tolkien and Medieval Poets: A Session in Memory of Richard C. West (Monday 4 July: 14.15−15.45)
  • Tolkien as a Gateway to Interdisciplinary Teaching: A Round Table Discussion (Monday 4 July: 19.00−20.00)
  • Borders between Life and Death in Tolkien’s Legendarium (Wednesday 6 July: 09.00−10.30)
  • Family, Orientation, Transgression, and Crossing Borders of Middle-earth (Wednesday 6 July: 11.15−12.45)
  • Crossing Borders in Middle-earth (Thursday 7 July: 11.15−12.45)

Visit Dr Andrew Higgins’ blog for more information.

The Venue

Hilton Leeds City, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4BX

The hotel is roughly three minutes from Leeds train station. Leave the station via the main exit near Marks and Spencers. Cross the road via the pedestrian crossing and go down the staircase to the right of the taxi rank. At the bottom of the stairs take a right and continue along the road and under the recently refurbished railway bridge. Hilton Leeds City is located approximately 200m on the right.

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