Professor Olsen

The Tolkien Professor at a Washington College graduation ceremony.

Originally from southern New Hampshire, Corey Olsen, the Tolkien Professor, currently teaches in the English Department at Washington College, a delightful little liberal-arts college in Chestertown, on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. There he lectures in Chaucer, Arthurian literature, courtly love, the Bible, Greco-Roman mythology, and a full-semester course on the works of Tolkien. In 2007, Professor Olsen was honored with the Alumni Association’s Award for Distinguished Teaching, the most prestigious teaching award given to a faculty member at Washington College. He is also the faculty advisor of the auspiciously-named English honor society, Sigma Tau Delta (STD).

A young Tolkien Professor leading the indefatigable Moocows while wearing his second-best marching hat.

Corey Olsen received his BA from Williams College, where he double-majored in English and Astrophysics, in 1996. A Phi Beta Kappa member, Olsen graduated with Highest Honors in English, sang with the Elizabethans, and proudly directed the Mucho Macho Moocow Marching Band. In 2004, Olsen graduated with a Ph.D. in English from Columbia University. He specializes in medieval literature, especially the poetry of Geoffrey Chaucer, the Morte d’Arthur of Sir Thomas Malory, and, of course, the works of J.R.R. Tolkien.

Encouraged by his enthusiastic podcast listeners, Corey Olsen established the Mythgard Institute in 2011. Mythgard’s purpose is to provide support and facilitate research and lectures in Tolkien studies, fantasy literature, and related fields through an online medium. The Institute extends the Tolkien Professor dialogue through the belief in studying what we love and sharing it with all those who wish to learn. Mythgard and its partner-in-learning, Signum University, strive to create an environment where students and general readers of any background can learn, research, and explore the 21st century world of Faerie, Fantasy, and Medieval academia through a welcoming and interactive research and lecture-based environment.