So, I just order another lecture series from The Great Courses, to go with the Bart Erhman one from several years ago. This one is called HEROES AND LEGENDS: THE MOST INFLUENTIAL CHARACTERS OF LITERATURE, and my attention was drawn to it by noticing that the first lecture was devoted to "Frodo Baggins -- A Reluctant Hero" and the last two to Lisbeth Salander ("Avenging Female Fury") and Harry Potter (Whistle-Blower Hero"), while most of the other twenty-one come from more traditional literature (the Wife of Bath, Elizabeth Bennett, Sherlock Holmes).
What entirely escaped me, until my attention was drawn to the fact by a posting over on the MythSoc list, is that the lecturer is none other than Tolkien scholar and distinguished medievalist Tom Shippey. Here's the link:
I've ordered the audiobook version of the course, so more on this one when it's arrived and I've had a chance to listen to it. Shippey is a great lecturer, charismatic of presence and memorable of phrase, so I'm really looking forward to this one.
Oh, and we've just heard that the Shippey festschrift,* of which I'm one of the editors, is either in typesetting or about to enter that stage, so we're getting close to the release date, which shd be late spring/early summer. I've also been told that it's appeared in McFarland ads in LIBRARY JOURNAL (Feb 15 2014 issue, p. 52) and BOOKLIST (ibid, p. 13). And now it's available for preorder on Amazon as well, which estimates the release date as May 15th -- just a hair too late for Kalamazoo, but if we're lucky they might have an advance copy or two on display there. We'll see. It's nice for this project, which took far longer than any of us thought it would, to finally be coming to fruition.
currrent audiobook: DREAMS OF TERROR AND DEATH: THE DREAM CYCLE OF H. P. LOVECRAFT (which turns out to actually not be 'the dream cycle' of HPL but his dreamland stories mixed with a lot of other things, like CHARLES DEXTER WARD, "Pickman's Model", and "From Beyond")
current reading: AT THE BACK OF THE NORTH WIND by Geo. MacDonald (just finished, thank God); I AM A BARBARIAN by E. R. Burroughs (just started; the story of Caligula's bodyguard)
*TOLKIEN IN THE NEW CENTURY: ESSAYS IN HONOR OF TOM SHIPPEY