What the narrative text analysis laboratory consists of The Hobbit: a journey of personal growth, conducted by Wu Ming 4 and organized by the University of Trento?

We all had that time when our favorite fantasy books were, more or less kindly, accompanied to the classroom door, since that kind of entertainment literature didn't belong to places of culture. I don't know about you, but for me meeting this type of attitude has been a constant in my life as a nerd student (therefore in the 13 years spent between middle school and university).

So you will understand my surprise every time I read about an official cultural activity dedicated to fantasy. Then of course, at the moment the fantasy seems to have entered the textbooks only of the middle schools, with some passages of Harry Potter to explain the fantastic story, while in universities he sets foot, very cautiously, almost alone Tolkien .

However, this is a clear improvement compared to the situation of just ten years ago, as demonstrated by the initiatives proposed, in recent years, also by theUniversity of Trento. Let's see what it is.

The Hobbit: a journey of personal growth

After holding a conference dedicated to Tolkien in 2017, the University of Trento returns to dedicate further space to the father of contemporary fantasy, this time organizing a laboratory dedicated to The Hobbit

This initiative will be held by Federico Guglielmi, the best known writer under the pseudonym of Wu Ming 4, which he had already published in 2013 Defend Middle-earth. Written on JRR Tolkien.

The lab, The Hobbit: a journey of personal growth, has two main objectives: to analyze Tolkien's first novel in its themes, motifs and archetypes, whether explicit or implicit, and personally rework these themes by writing fanfiction.

Not that Wu Ming 4 or Unitn explicitly speak of fanfiction, of course, but they prefer to put the matter in more noble terms. In fact, we read in the announcement:

The further challenge for the participants will be that of creative writing: the shadow areas of the story, which emerged thanks to the in-depth analysis, will be filled through an activity of 'expansion of the world' and completion (spin off) in harmony with the poetics Tolkien.

That is, to use the fanfiction jargon, students will have to write What if and Missing Momentsbut trying to stay in tune with Tolkien's themes and style. Although we are accustomed to denigrating the writings of fans, accusing them of being low literature, in reality these reworking exercises, proposed by Wu Ming 4 and which share the same theoretical assumptions as fanfictions, are excellent for stimulating the critical spirit.

The spin-off must be written in THIS handwriting, huh!
The spin-off must be written in THIS handwriting, huh!

Logistic information

The lab The Hobbit: a journey of personal growth It will take place from Monday 29 October to Monday 26 November, while the fanfictions the spin-offs must be written and delivered by December 31, 2018.

It is not yet known which classroom will host the business, but it will certainly be part of the Department of Letters and Philosophy, in via Tomaso Gar 14, Trento.

For students enrolled at the University of Trento, this laboratory may be worth as internal internshipthus earning 2 credits.

Although similar activities are generally open to the public, this laboratory is aimed at students enrolled in the Master's Degree Program in Euro-American Literature, Translation and Literary Criticism, although students from other curricula can also apply to participate.

So, nerds from Trentino, hurry up and send your application, because the deadline for registration is 20 October! You can download the form to subscribe to this link, by clicking on the folder “Proposals for Languages” and then on the PDF file Stage Wu Ming 4-The Hobbit.

And if any of you will participate, write to let us know how it went and, if you want, for share your spin-offs with the public!