Friday, April 6th


Interview and Q&A with Andrew Higgins

4:30 – 6:00 p.m. in Lafayette Hall L108


Interview and questions & answers with this year’s keynote speaker
Dr. Andrew Higgins · co-editor, A Secret Vice

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

Tolkien fireside readings


Come read, recite, or sing your favorite verse or prose passages!
— organized and hosted by the Tolkien Club of UVM

Saturday, April 7th


8:00 – 8:30 a.m. in Waterman Building Memorial Lounge

Continental breakfast with tea & coffee

8:30 – 9:45 a.m. in Waterman Building Memorial Lounge

Session 1


Sian J. Pehrsson, Gerry Blair, & Leslie Stratyner

‘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 a.m. in Waterman Building Memorial Lounge

Session 2: UVM undergraduates


Matt Gattulo, Lucas Hilker, Peter Larsen, & Dan Poll

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

— Matt Gattulo · UVM ’21 · English

Theodicy in Middle-earth

— Lucas Hilker · UVM ’18 · political science

A finger’s difference: The wise and the fools

— Peter Larsen · UVM ’19 · mathematics

Environmental holocaust: Environmentalism in Tolkien’s legendarium

— Dan Poll · UVM ’19 · philosophy

11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. in Waterman Building Memorial Lounge

Session 3


Kristine Larsen, Erik Mueller-Harder, & Jamie Williamson

Wilwarin, Darwin’s moths, Elachista Finarfinella, Mirkwoodian Black Emperors, and Edith Bratt’s mottephobia: Etymology Entomology (in particular, various and sundry appearances of butterflies and moths) in the primary and secondary worlds of philologist, author, and amateur scientist John Ronald Reuel Tolkien; in which the author, rather than innocently and carelessly misread the conference theme, instead boldly endeavors to bend it to her will (rather like the One Ring), in order to forge further connections between Arda, the author, and the audience; including numerous intentional and occasionally admittedly gratuitous references to astronomy, as expected by the seasoned attendee of the University of Vermont Tolkien conference

required alliteration

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

James Williamson • senior lecturer • University of Vermont

12:15 – 1:30 p.m.

Lunch break

1:30 – 2:15 p.m. in Waterman Building Memorial Lounge


Chris Vaccaro & Andrew Higgins

Andrew Higgins

Lexicography and language invention: The Gnomish Lexicon scripts

Dr. Andrew Higgins · co-editor, A Secret Vice

2:15 – 2:20 p.m. in Waterman Building Memorial Lounge

Coffee & tea

2:20 – 3:50 p.m. in Waterman Building Memorial Lounge

Session 4


Marc Zender, Sparrow Alden, Dawn M. Walls-Thumma, & Jeffrey Bullins

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 p.m. in Waterman Building Memorial Lounge

Session 5


Annie Brust, Ian Gauthier, & Marcy Nardi

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