Professor Thomas A. Shippey, Ph.D.

Professor Thomas A. Shippey
  • St. Louis University
  • University of Cambridge
There’s nothing to beat a new idea, a new angle, a new response—except a new idea that people have been waiting for without knowing it; a new idea that responds to an existing new situation.

Dr. Thomas A. Shippey is Professor Emeritus at Saint Louis University, where he held the Walter J. Ong, S.J., Chair of Humanities. He holds a B.A., an M.A., and a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge.

Professor Shippey has published more than 100 articles, mostly in the fields of Old and Middle English language and literature, and he has a long-standing interest in modern fantasy and science fiction. He is a regular reviewer for The Wall Street Journal on both medieval and modern topics, and he also writes for The Times Literary Supplement and the London Review of Books, among other journals. His books include The Road to Middle-earth: How J.R.R. Tolkien Created a New Mythology; Beowulf: The Critical Heritage (with Andreas Haarder); J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century; and his edited collection The Shadow-Walkers: Jacob Grimm’s Mythology of the Monstrous.

He has given invited lectures and keynote speeches at conferences in at least 25 states and more than 10 European countries. He appeared on an often-replayed television program, The Story of English, hosted by Robert McCrum and Robert MacNeil, and he was an adviser on pronunciation for Peter Jackson’s three Lord of the Rings movies.

Testimonials

Each lecture has made me want to go out and learn more about the books he has been talking about - which is surely the true aim of giving any lectures. Those books I have already read (more than half of them) I am encouraged to re-visit, and those I have not read I am now determined to catch up with. More please!


Ian Baird, Ph.D.


Professor Shippey speaks as a born story-teller, reveling in these great characters, the heroes – male and female – of the very core of the Western narrative tradition. Shippey’s analysis, always interwoven with irresistible story-telling, provides cultural and historical contexts, which become in Shippey’s hands themselves fascinating stories, but the steady purpose of such contextualization is the illumination of this collection of classic stories and characters of our world.


Joseph Harris

Harvard University

14 Courses and Sets

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14 Courses and Sets

  1. Heroes and Legends: The Most Influential Characters of Literature

    Heroes and Legends: The Most Influential Characters of Literature

    Thomas A. Shippey
    4.5 out of 5
    80% of reviewers would recommend this product
    (65)
    Starting at $129.95 Starting at $129.95 $254.95 $129.95$254.95
    Heroes hold a special place in our imagination. Names such as Odysseus, Beowulf, and Queen Guinevere summon up mythic legends, while Sherlock Holmes, Dracula, and Huckleberry Finn are some of the most recognizable figures in all of world literature. What do these memorable characters have in common? And what impact have they made on world history? Heroes and Legends: The Most Influential Characters of...
  2. 36 Books That Changed the World Collection

    36 Books That Changed the World

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    3.4 out of 5
    61% of reviewers would recommend this product
    (13)
    Starting at $199.95 Starting at $199.95 $199.95 $199.95$199.95
    Since the development of written language, books have played major roles in the world: Entertaining. Instructing. Inspiring. Even changing the course of history. Now, with 36 Books That Changed the World, a fascinating Great Courses Collection crafted from our extensive library of courses, take a riveting tour of the profound impact of books from thousands of years of history and from civilizations around the globe.
  3. (Set) Heroes and Legends: The Most Influential Characters of Literature & How to Read and Understand Shakespeare  Set

    (Set) Heroes and Legends: The Most Influential Characters of Literature & How to Read and Understand Shakespeare

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $259.90 Starting at $259.90 $509.90 $259.90$509.90
    Learn just why the heroes we see in classic literature and in the plays of William Shakespeare move us so, in this entertaining course set that gives us deeper insights into this literature and the tools to understand it. Heroes and Legends: The Most Influential Characters of Literature shows us why these literary characters are so enduring and what makes them successful. And How to Read and Understand...
  4. (Set) Heroes and Legends: The Most Influential Characters of Literature & Classical Mythology  Set

    (Set) Heroes and Legends: The Most Influential Characters of Literature & Classical Mythology

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $429.90 Starting at $429.90 $509.90 $429.90$509.90
    Learn about some of the most enduring characters in literature in this absorbing and entertaining course set. In Heroes and Legends: The Most Influential Characters of Literature, understand just what makes heroes, including those in mythology, some of the most recognizable figures in all of literature. And in Classical Mythology, focus on the primary characters and stories in Greek and Roman mythology to see...
  5. (Set) Heroes and Legends: The Most Influential Characters of Literature & Art of Reading  Set

    (Set) Heroes and Legends: The Most Influential Characters of Literature & Art of Reading

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $259.90 Starting at $259.90 $509.90 $259.90$509.90
    Learn how to read literature with deeper insight with this practical and entertaining course set. First, in Heroes and Legends: The Most Influential Characters of Literature, learn why some of the most enduring characters in literature have been mainstays of our culture and have even changed history. Then, in The Art of Reading, learn concepts and techniques to better understand what you are reading and to...
  6. (Set) How Great Science Fiction Works & Heroes and Legends Set

    (Set) How Great Science Fiction Works & Heroes and Legends

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $279.90 Starting at $279.90 $524.90 $279.90$524.90
    From Doctor Who to Doctor Zhivago, this two-course set looks at literary icons in two distinct genres. Start with an enthralling exploration of science fiction across decades in How Great Science Fiction Works. Then study some of the most memorable and important characters ever created in literature with Heroes and Legends: The Most Influential Characters of Literature.
  7. (Set)  Heroes and Legends & Western Literary Canon in Context Set

    (Set) Heroes and Legends & Western Literary Canon in Context

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $329.90 Starting at $329.90 $629.90 $329.90$629.90
  8. (Set) 36 Revolutionary Figures of History & 36 Books That Changed the World Set

    (Set) 36 Revolutionary Figures of History & 36 Books That Changed the World

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $399.90 Starting at $399.90 $399.90 $399.90$399.90
    Learn something new and exciting with this set of collections courses. Start by exploring 36 revolutionary figures that have changed the course of history. Then, dive into 36 books that have played a central role in shaping our culture – from entertaining and instructing to shaping our social mores.
  9. (Set) Great Utopian and Dystopian Works of Literature & Heroes and Legends Set

    (Set) Great Utopian and Dystopian Works of Literature & Heroes and Legends

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $449.90 Starting at $449.90 $524.90 $449.90$524.90
    Dive deep into the best (and the worst) of literature with this two-course set. Start by examining the peaceful to the nightmarish, and the conservative to the subversive through Great Utopian and Dystopian Works of Literature. Then, meet the fictional champions who made impacts that have lasted centuries with Heroes and Legends: The Most Influential Characters of Literature.
  10. (Set)  Heroes and Legends & The Odyssey of Homer Set

    (Set) Heroes and Legends & The Odyssey of Homer

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $219.90 Starting at $219.90 $454.90 $219.90$454.90
  11. (Set) King Arthur & Heroes and Legends Set

    (Set) King Arthur & Heroes and Legends

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $279.90 Starting at $279.90 $524.90 $279.90$524.90
    What makes an ordinary fictional character into a legend? Uncover that and more in this intriguing set of courses. Begin by exploring how the story of King Arthur has become a central myth in Western culture. Then dive into the characters in history that have become heroes and legends, from Beowulf to Harry Potter.
  12. (Set) A Children’s Guide to Folklore and Wonder Tales & Heroes and Legends: Set

    (Set) A Children’s Guide to Folklore and Wonder Tales & Heroes and Legends:

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $279.90 Starting at $279.90 $524.90 $279.90$524.90
    Take an intellectual journey into the stories and characters you know and love with this endearing two-course set. Discover how the cherished tales of our childhood act as powerful symbols in A Children’s Guide to Folklore and Wonder Tales. Then, study some of the most memorable and important characters ever created with Heroes and Legends: The Most Influential Characters of Literature.
  13. (Set) Great Mythologies of the World & Heroes and Legends Set

    (Set) Great Mythologies of the World & Heroes and Legends

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $744.90 Starting at $744.90 $879.90 $744.90$879.90
    The abundant stories of the world helped define and shape our civilizations. Explore the origins, heroes, villains, and messages from the some of the great cultures with this two-course set. Start with the Heroes and Legends: The Most Influential Characters of Literature to discover memorable characters in fiction. Then explore the archetypes provided the basis for these stories in Great Mythologies of the World.
  14. (Set) Writing Great Fiction & Heroes and Legends Set

    (Set) Writing Great Fiction & Heroes and Legends

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $449.90 Starting at $449.90 $524.90 $449.90$524.90
    Get an in-depth look at characters in this two-course set. Study the art of fiction writing with a published novelist. Then, examine the concept of the hero in literature from across time and around the globe.