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Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit by…
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Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit" (original 2012; edition 2013)

by Corey Olsen (Author)

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2751476,187 (4.2)10
"The Hobbit is one of the most widely read and best-loved books of the twentieth century. In December 2012, millions will be introduced or reintroduced to J.R.R. Tolkien's classic with the arrival of the first of two film adaptations by acclaimed director Peter Jackson. 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 (also known as the Tolkien Professor) will take 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 revolutions 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"--… (more)
Member:JamesT1
Title:Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit"
Authors:Corey Olsen (Author)
Info:Mariner Books (2013), 318 pages
Collections:Your library
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Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit" by Corey Olsen (2012)

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Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
Some new insights, some rather obvious observations. Corey Olsen does not dissect The Hobbit (Thank the Valar!) but discusses the main themes and songs of the book. I would be interested in reading a similar book dealing with The Lord of the Rings. This book would probably be more useful for those not terribly familiar with Tolkien's works. ( )
  ElentarriLT | Mar 24, 2020 |
This isn't a scholarly analysis of The Hobbit. It's a lively, intelligent talk about it.

Corey Olsen (like me) has loved The Hobbit from early childhood, and has reread it frequently since that first long ago adventure. He's able to make at least part of his living talking about his favorite writer -- he has his PhD in medieval English literature and teaches courses on Chaucer, Arthurian literature, and, yes, Tolkien. He points out something that makes this very different from his other classes: "No one had ever come up to me after class to show me the ragged and dearly loved copy of Chrétien de Troyes' Arthurian romances that her parents had first read to her when she was seven."

I have the feeling that all of Olsen's students are very lucky, indeed. And readers can now enjoy the insight and fresh ideas he's gained from enthusiastic rereading of the same loved text.

If you love The Hobbit but tend to skim the poems, Olsen will convince you that you're missing out. If you enjoy the story for its own sake, Olsen will show you the lessons it can teach about human (and hobbit) nature. And if you've read The Hobbit often enough that you think it can't hold any surprises for you -- well, you should definitely read Olsen's book. ( )
  Deborah_Markus | Aug 8, 2015 |
Without a doubt Corey Olsen loves The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. Folk will often take the exploration of a story as finding underlying themes where there isn't any claiming "a cigar is sometimes just a cigar" but Corey Olsen's book takes what already exists in the text and makes it flourish under a scholarly eye. It's like watching a movie you've only seen on a standard television suddenly in a theatre or a large HDTV. Anyone that loves or merely likes the Hobbit will immediately upon finishing this book want to take the journey to the Lonely Mountain once again reading with a new appreciation of Bilbo's journey of balance between his courageous Tookish side and his wise Bagginish side. ( )
  FourOfFiveWits | Feb 23, 2015 |
I first read The Hobbit about 30 years ago as a teenager and loved it! I loved the charming way the story begins, the beautiful world it describes, and especially the humor. I soon after also read The Lord of the Rings, but The Hobbit was always my favorite. (I later gained a greater appreciation for how truly amazing LOTR is when I re-read it as an adult, but I've still never been able to get very far into The Silmarillion.) And with the movie coming out this fall, I was very excited to see this book.

Corey Olsen goes through The Hobbit chapter by chapter and points out the prevailing themes, such as Bilbo's differing natures (Baggins vs. Took) and how he grows through his choices. He also discusses the role luck plays in the story and explains those songs that I always thought were a little strange (now they make a lot more sense). And he takes it from the perspective of the story as it was *before* LOTR was written, before the ring became The Ring. He doesn't bring in any peripheral information from Tolkien's life or his motivations for writing the story (except that it was a children's tale), but does discuss the minor changes he made in preparation for the LOTR books. (Did you know Gollum originally waved a cheerful goodbye from the cave back in 1937? I didn't.)

Unlike some reviewers, I've only re-read The Hobbit a couple of times and it's been a few years since the last time. So I found this book to be a fun reminder of the story I love. Ideally, you could read the two together for a greater insight, but I remembered most of it well enough and I felt transported back to the first time I read the book. If you're reading The Hobbit for the first time, however, you should be aware that there are a few minor "spoilers" where Olsen anticipates some events at the end of the story. But I found Olsen's conclusions and conjectures to be very plausible, and his style to be very pleasing to read. I can enthusiastically recommend this book and I'll be looking to listen to the author's podcasts. ( )
  J.Green | Aug 26, 2014 |
I first read The Hobbit about 30 years ago as a teenager and loved it! I loved the charming way the story begins, the beautiful world it describes, and especially the humor. I soon after also read The Lord of the Rings, but The Hobbit was always my favorite. (I later gained a greater appreciation for how truly amazing LOTR is when I re-read it as an adult, but I've still never been able to get very far into The Silmarillion.) And with the movie coming out this fall, I was very excited to see this book.

Corey Olsen goes through The Hobbit chapter by chapter and points out the prevailing themes, such as Bilbo's differing natures (Baggins vs. Took) and how he grows through his choices. He also discusses the role luck plays in the story and explains those songs that I always thought were a little strange (now they make a lot more sense). And he takes it from the perspective of the story as it was *before* LOTR was written, before the ring became The Ring. He doesn't bring in any peripheral information from Tolkien's life or his motivations for writing the story (except that it was a children's tale), but does discuss the minor changes he made in preparation for the LOTR books. (Did you know Gollum originally waved a cheerful goodbye from the cave back in 1937? I didn't.)

Unlike some reviewers, I've only re-read The Hobbit a couple of times and it's been a few years since the last time. So I found this book to be a fun reminder of the story I love. Ideally, you could read the two together for a greater insight, but I remembered most of it well enough and I felt transported back to the first time I read the book. If you're reading The Hobbit for the first time, however, you should be aware that there are a few minor "spoilers" where Olsen anticipates some events at the end of the story. But I found Olsen's conclusions and conjectures to be very plausible, and his style to be very pleasing to read. I can enthusiastically recommend this book and I'll be looking to listen to the author's podcasts. ( )
  J.Green | Aug 26, 2014 |
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To my mother and father
Jeremiah 33:3
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I have loved J. R. R. Tolkien's books for as long as I can remember, though I must admit I don't recall exactly how old I was when I first read The Hobbit; somewhere around eight, I believe.
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"The Hobbit is one of the most widely read and best-loved books of the twentieth century. In December 2012, millions will be introduced or reintroduced to J.R.R. Tolkien's classic with the arrival of the first of two film adaptations by acclaimed director Peter Jackson. 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 (also known as the Tolkien Professor) will take 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 revolutions 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"--

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