Mike Foster, Metamora, Illinois:
The first Tolkien work I read was “The Fellowship of the Ring over the 1973-74 Illinois Central College winter break, rapidly followed by The Two Towers and The Return of the King. I had turned 27 that Dec. 28.
Sad to say, I was not part of the mid-Sixties Tolkien boom, stalling out at the house of Tom Bombadil on the first try and “The Council of Elrond” on the second. Stalled I stayed until I was in my third year of teaching at Illinois Central College in East Peoria, whose faculty I had joined upon completing my English M.A. at Marquette in 1971.
At an English department meeting, the college president noted that traditional survey literature classes were declining in enrollment and that a remedy to that would be prudent. By the end of the meeting I had created a syllabus for Lit…
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