Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit

Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit

Book - 2012
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"An admirable and thought-provoking consideration of the underlying themes of The Hobbit , following the there-and-back-again progress from its famous first line on through to Bilbo's return home at the story's end." --Douglas A. Anderson, author of The Annotated Hobbit

The Hobbit is one of the most widely read and best-loved books of the twentieth century. Now Corey Olsen takes readers deep within the text to uncover its secrets and delights.

Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit" is a fun, thoughtful, and insightful companion volume, designed to bring a thorough and original new reading of this great work to a general audience. Professor Corey Olsen takes readers on an in-depth journey through The Hobbit chapter by chapter, revealing the stories within the story: the dark desires of dwarves and the sublime laughter of elves, the nature of evil and its hopelessness, the mystery of divine providence and human choice, and, most of all, the transformation within the life of Bilbo Baggins. Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit" is a book that will make The Hobbit come alive for readers as never before.
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, c2012.
ISBN: 9780547739465
Characteristics: 318 p. ;,22 cm.


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IndyPL_SteveB Dec 20, 2018

This book is a real find. Olsen is a professor of English at Washington College in Maryland and teaches classes about Tolkien. This is by far the best book I have ever read about *The Hobbit.* Olsen does not view *The Hobbit* as merely a children’s book trial run for *The Lord of the Rings*. He considers it a major novel on its own. Olsen explores the book chapter by chapter, with special focus on themes like Bilbo’s two-sided character (the respectable Baggins vs. the wilder Took side), the choices Bilbo makes, the races of Middle Earth as seen in *The Hobbit*, the moral issues as the book becomes more serious in its second half, and the relationship between “luck” and “fate” in the story. The best part is that the book is as clearly written as it is possible to be, and at a vocabulary level that a high school student or college freshman could handle. None of the intimidating and turgid literary criticism style that appears intended to hide ideas. It really held my attention. Highly recommended.

Mar 14, 2017

For Knowledge and Insight, a fun and easy read is not always the best way. I have read through many of the modern books examining Tolkien and Lewis but I find it hard to beat Humphrey Carpenter's Tolkien biography and his follow-up book, "The Inklings," which was a group centered on Lewis, not a Tolkien fan-club.
It turns out that Ronald(as he was called) was born in South Africa and soon after, his father died. He was raised by his mother's family. His beloved mother spoke and read French, Latin and Greek, and Tolkien showed uncommon facility with languages. His mother also died early, and so Tolkien always was reaching for that idyllic beautiful country home(like the Shire) that in England was passing away.
World War I influenced his descriptions of Mordor and Isengard, but he was already at home passing on his love of medieval English to further generations - a theme(passing on lore to the future generations) also found in his books.
In short, enjoy the films, but remember that you are cheating yourself when you pass on reading the original books.

Dec 25, 2013

Easy and fun to read literary analysis; provides a greater depth of insight into why the themes of the book continue to hold such great interest for each generation that picks it up. I had just completed re-reading the Hobbit with my 6 year old daughter, who completely loved the experience, and I found it just as powerful and gripping a novel as when I was young.

m2 Nov 26, 2012

A good review of The Hobbit looking at basic themes and especially delving into the meaning of all the poetry of the book and how it supports theme. Great reading in advance of the release of the Hobbit series of movies by Peter Jackson which in turn commemorates the 75th ANNIVERSARY of the publication of the Hobbit. How indebted we are to Mr. Tolkien, even now, 75 years later.

Oct 29, 2012

A treat for Tolkien fans, especially those who like his poetry. Like the book itself, it's more entertaining than profound.

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