Professor Olsen

The Tolkien Professor at a Washington College graduation ceremony.

Originally from southern New Hampshire, Corey Olsen, the Tolkien Professor, taught for several years in the English Department at Washington College, a delightful little liberal-arts college in Chestertown, on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. There he lectured on 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 was 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.

Corey Olsen previously worked as an English professor at Washington College, Corey Olsen holds a Ph.D. in medieval literature and has been a student of J.R.R. Tolkien’s works all his life. As a professor, Olsen became increasingly frustrated with the separation between academics and general readers — namely, the inability for general readers and lovers of literature to enjoy the thought-provoking discoveries made in the cloistered world of academics.

In July of 2009, The Tolkien Professor launched this site in order to share his scholarly work with the public, to connect with other people who are eager to be included in thoughtful, literary conversation about the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. Since the launch of the site, listeners have downloaded more than 1,200,000 of his lectures and podcasts.

Throughout this website, there are links to lectures that Professor Olsen has taught at Washington College, a podcast series focused on in-depth analysis of The Hobbit, as well as several links to question and answer sessions held by the Tolkien Professor and various prominent scholars in the field of Tolkien studies.

All recorded material is completely free, and please tune in for the opportunity to enter into a more interactive conversation by keeping posted to the Events section of the site as well as on iTunes! Hopefully, you will enjoy the Tolkien Professor’s work and have as much fun listening to the courses and podcasts as he had in making them.

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.

If you are interested in joining the Tolkien Professor on a rich and exciting exploration of Tolkien’s stories, then…

Click friend, and enter!