Michael D. C. Drout

Last updated
Michael D. C. Drout
BornMay 3, 1968
Occupation Literary critic and author
Genre Fantasy
Anglo-Saxon literature
Medieval literature
Science fiction

Michael D. C. Drout ( /drt/ ; born 1968) is Professor of English and Director of the Center for the Study of the Medieval at Wheaton College. He is an author and editor specializing in Anglo-Saxon and medieval literature, science fiction and fantasy, especially the works of J. R. R. Tolkien and Ursula K. Le Guin.



Drout holds a Ph.D. in English from Loyola University Chicago (May 1997), an M.A. in English from the University of Missouri (May 1993), an M.A. in Communication from Stanford University (May 1991), and a B.A. in Professional and Creative Writing from Carnegie Mellon University.

He is best known for his studies of Tolkien's scholarly work on Beowulf and the precursors and textual evolution of the essay Beowulf: the Monsters and the Critics , published as Beowulf and the Critics by J. R. R. Tolkien (2002), which won the Mythopoeic Award for Scholarship in Inklings Studies, 2003.

He is the editor of the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: Scholarship and Critical Assessment (2006), a one-volume reference on Tolkien's works and their contexts. [1]

With Douglas A. Anderson and Verlyn Flieger, he is co-editor of Tolkien Studies: An Annual Scholarly Review, (Volumes 1–7, 2004–2010).


Books written or edited by Michael Drout include:


Michael Drout has published thirteen audio lectures for Recorded Books' Modern Scholar Series:

Drout has both a nostalgic love of the Anglo-Saxon language, and academic expertise in its linguistic basis for the modern English Language; he maintains a growing collection of recorded Anglo-Saxon on Anglo-Saxon Aloud.

Related Research Articles

<i>Beowulf</i> Old English epic poem

Beowulf is an Old English epic poem consisting of 3,182 alliterative lines. It is one of the most important works of Old English literature. The date of composition is a matter of contention among scholars; the only certain dating pertains to the manuscript, which was produced between 975 and 1025. The anonymous poet is referred to by scholars as the "Beowulf poet".

Old English literature, or Anglo-Saxon literature, encompasses literature written in Old English, in Anglo-Saxon England from the 7th century to the decades after the Norman Conquest of 1066. "Cædmon's Hymn", composed in the 7th century, according to Bede, is often considered as the oldest surviving poem in English. Poetry written in the mid-12th century represents some of the latest post-Norman examples of Old English; for example, The Soul's Address to the Body found in Worcester Cathedral Library MS F. 174 contains only one word of possible Latinate origin, while also maintaining a corrupt alliterative meter and Old English grammar and syntax, albeit in a degenerative state. The Peterborough Chronicle can also be considered a late-period text, continuing into the 12th century. The strict adherence to the grammatical rules of Old English is largely inconsistent in 12th century work – as is evident in the works cited above – and by the 13th century the grammar and syntax of Old English had almost completely deteriorated, giving way to the much larger Middle English corpus of literature.

In J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth fiction, such as The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, the terms Man and Men are humans, whether male or female, in contrast to Elves, Dwarves, Orcs, and other humanoid races. Hobbits were a branch of the lineage of Men.

Grendel Fictional character in the poem Beowulf

Grendel is a character in the Anglo-Saxon epic poem Beowulf. He is one of the poem's three antagonists, all aligned in opposition against the protagonist Beowulf. Grendel is feared by all in Heorot but Beowulf. A descendant of Cain, Grendel is described as "a creature of darkness, exiled from happiness and accursed of God, the destroyer and devourer of our human kind". He is usually depicted as a monster or a giant, although his status as a monster, giant, or other form of supernatural being is not clearly described in the poem and thus remains the subject of scholarly debate. The character of Grendel and his role in the story of Beowulf have been subject to numerous reinterpretations and re-imaginings.


Heorot or Herot is a mead-hall and major point of focus in the Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf. The hall, located in Denmark, serves as a seat of rule for King Hrothgar, a legendary Danish king. After the monster Grendel slaughters the inhabitants of the hall, the Geatish hero Beowulf defends the royal hall before subsequently defeating him. Later Grendel's mother attacks the inhabitants of the hall, and she too is subsequently defeated by Beowulf. The hall is generally held to correspond to the great hall of Lejre in Denmark found in North Germanic texts. A location of the same name receives mention in the Old English poem Widsith.

Tom Shippey British linguist, critic, fiction writer

Thomas Alan Shippey is a British scholar and retired professor of Middle and Old English literature, as well as medievalism and modern fantasy and science fiction. In particular he is widely considered one of the world's leading academic scholars on the works of J. R. R. Tolkien about whom he has written several books and many scholarly papers.

<i>The Monsters and the Critics, and Other Essays</i> collection of J. R. R. Tolkiens scholarly linguistic essays

The Monsters and the Critics, and Other Essays is a collection of J. R. R. Tolkien's scholarly linguistic essays edited by his son Christopher and published posthumously in 1983.

The Man in the Moon Stayed Up Too Late is the imagined original ditty that is recorded in 'our time' as the simplified nursery rhyme "Hey Diddle Diddle". The supposed original was invented by J. R. R. Tolkien. The title of this version is given in The Adventures of Tom Bombadil. It was first published in Yorkshire Poetry in 1923.

The works of J. R. R. Tolkien have generated a body of research covering subjects such as Tolkien as a writer of fantasy, Old English literature and Tolkien's invented languages.

"English and Welsh" is J. R. R. Tolkien's inaugural O'Donnell Memorial Lecture of October 21, 1955. The lecture sheds light on Tolkien's conceptions of the connections of race, ethnicity, and language.

<i>Beowulf</i>: The Monsters and the Critics 1936 lecture by J. R. R. Tolkien

"Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics" was a 1936 lecture given by J. R. R. Tolkien on literary criticism on the Old English heroic epic poem Beowulf. It was first published as a paper in that year in the Proceedings of the British Academy, and has since been reprinted in many collections.

On Translating <i>Beowulf</i> essay by J. R. R. Tolkien

"On Translating Beowulf" is an essay by J. R. R. Tolkien which discusses the difficulties faced by anyone attempting to translate the Old English heroic-elegiac poem Beowulf into modern English. It was first published in 1940 as a preface contributed by Tolkien to a translation of Old English poetry; it was first published as an essay under its current name in the 1983 collection The Monsters and the Critics, and Other Essays.

Scholars and critics have identified many themes of The Lord of the Rings, a major fantasy novel by J. R. R. Tolkien, including a reversed quest, the struggle of good and evil, death and immortality, fate and free will, the danger of power, and various aspects of Christianity including the presence of three Christ figures, for prophet, priest, and king, as well as elements such as hope and redemptive suffering. There is also a strong thread throughout the work of language, its sound, and its relationship to peoples and places; and of moralisation from descriptions of landscape. Out of these, Tolkien stated that the central theme is death and immortality.

Verlyn Flieger is an author, editor, and professor in the Department of English at the University of Maryland at College Park. She teaches courses in comparative mythology, medieval literature and the works of J. R. R. Tolkien.

<i>Tolkien: A Look Behind "The Lord of the Rings"</i> book by Lin Carter

Tolkien: A Look Behind "The Lord of the Rings" is a study of the works of J. R. R. Tolkien written by Lin Carter. It was first published in paperback by Ballantine Books in March 1969 and reprinted in April 1969, April 1970, July 1971, July 1972, February 1973, July 1973, June 1975 and November 1977, after which it went out of print for over twenty-five years. The book has been translated into French, Japanese and Polish. A new edition updated by Adam Roberts was published by Gollancz in August 2003; it constituted both the first British edition and first hardcover edition. The first American hardcover edition was published by Tor Books in 2004.

<i>Beowulf and the Critics</i> book

Beowulf and the Critics by J. R. R. Tolkien is a 2002 book edited by Michael D. C. Drout that presents scholarly editions of the two manuscript versions of Tolkien's essays or lecture series "Beowulf and the Critics", which served as the basis for the much shorter 1936 lecture "Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics".

<i>J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia</i> Scholarly work by Michael D. C. Drout

The J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: Scholarship and Critical Assessment, edited by Michael D. C. Drout, was published by Routledge in 2006. A team of 127 Tolkien scholars on 720 pages cover topics of Tolkien's fiction, his academic works, his intellectual and spiritual influences, and his biography. Co-editors were Douglas A. Anderson and Verlyn Flieger, Marjorie Burns and Tom Shippey.

The works of J. R. R. Tolkien, especially The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, have exerted considerable influence since their publication. A culture of fandom sprang up in the 1960s, but reception by the establishment of literary criticism has been slower. Nevertheless, academic studies on Tolkien's works have been appearing at an increasing pace since the mid-1980s.

In the fiction of J. R. R. Tolkien, Moria, also named Khazad-dûm, is an ancient subterranean complex in Middle-earth, comprising a vast labyrinthine network of tunnels, chambers, mines and halls under the Misty Mountains, with doors on both the western and the eastern sides of the mountain range. Moria is introduced in Tolkien's novel The Hobbit, and is a major scene of action in The Lord of the Rings.

<i>Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary</i> Modern English translation J. R. R. Tolkien

Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary is a prose translation of the early medieval epic poem Beowulf from Old English to modern English. Translated by J. R. R. Tolkien from 1920 to 1926, it was edited by Tolkien's son Christopher and published posthumously in May 2014 by HarperCollins.