Language and Etymologies

15th annual Tolkien in Vermont conference at UVM

April 6 & 7, 2018

  • discussion forum

  • Facebook page

  • Please register in advance at RegOnline: $25 ​​for ​​the ​​general ​​public; ​​$15 ​​for ​​Vermont ​​residents; ​​free ​​for ​​students ​​at ​​the ​​University ​​of ​​Vermont. ​​

  • Please note that the conference this year is returning to its former home at the Waterman Building, 85 South Prospect Street.

Friday, April 6th, 2018

Friday evening Tolkien fireside readings 2018

Organized and hosted by The Tolkien Club of UVM

Waterman Building Memorial Lounge: 7:30 – 9:00 p.m.

Come read, recite, or sing your favorite verse or prose passages!

Saturday, April 7th, 2018

Waterman Building: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

8:00 – 8:30: Continental breakfast


8:30 – 9:45: Session #1

• ‘There he came walking into the woods of Ithilien’: Robert Quilter Gilson and the foundation of Tolkien’s scholar-soldier

Sian J. Pehrsson • Geological Survey of Canada

• Tolkien's auctorial finesse with word hoards, archaisms, and the depths of time

Gerry Blair • independent scholar

• Tolkien and Anglo-Saxon

Leslie Stratyner • Mississippi University for Women

9:45 – 11:00: Session #2: UVM undergraduates

• So beautiful, it’s scary: Tolkien, the romantics, and the sublime

Matt Gattulo • English ’21

• Theodicy in Middle-earth

Lucas Hilker • Political Science ’18

• A finger’s difference: The wise and the fools

Peter Larsen • Mathematics ’19

• Environmental holocaust: Environmentalism in Tolkien’s legendarium

Dan Poll • Philosophy ’19

11:00 – 12:15: Session #3

• Wilwarin, Darwin’s moths, Elachista Finarfinella, Mirkwoodian Black Emperors, and Edith Bratt’s mottephobia: Moths and butterflies in Middle-earth

Dr. Kristine Larsen • Professor of Physics and Astronomy • Central Connecticut State University

• Mapping Mordor: Normalizing Tolkien’s maps as the first step in examining his worldbuilding method of construction-by-revision; or, Yet further confirmation (as if we needed it) that Tolkien had no master plan, did not “first make a map and make the narrative agree,” and, in fact, never did produce a map that exactly portrays what’s described in The Lord of the Rings

Erik Mueller-Harder • independent scholar

• Tolkien, archaism, and translation practices c. 1900 – 1960s

Jamie Williamson • Senior Lecturer • University of Vermont

12:15 – 1:30: Lunch


1:30 – 2:15: Keynote address

Dr. Andrew Higgins • PhD ’15 • Metropolitan University, Cardiff

2:15 – 2:20: Coffee & tea break


2:20 – 3:50: Session #4

• Of Elbereth, Elvish greetings, and Ëarendil’s star: Etymology, linguistic esthetic, and mythopoeia in The Lord of the Rings

Dr. Marc Zender • Assistant Professor • Tulane University

• Finding footing in a forest of fins: Name etymology as a characterization technique of the Finwëan Noldor

Dawn M. Walls-Thumma • Coventry Village School

• Subtle seeds: A look at the hyphenated words of The Hobbit

Sparrow Alden • Preceptor and student advisor • Signum University

• Black speech, the Mouth of Sauron, and the acousmatic voice in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films

Jeffrey Bullins • Assistant Professor of Communications • SUNY Plattsburgh

3:50 – 5:00: Session #5

• The language of light: Traversing female landscapes in Middle-earth

Annie Brust • Kent State University

• Tolkien’s English mythology: Beorn and the veteran’s liminal identity

Marcy Nardi • Simon Fraser Univerity

• Riddles and laughter: Powers for good in Tolkien’s Middle-earth

Ian Gauthier • Children’s Librarian • Aldrich Public Library