Did you know that J.R.R. Tolkien's critically acclaimed children's book, The Hobbit, Or There and Back Again, was published on September 21st, 1937? Never out of print, this classic work tells the tale of Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit, whose race resembles very short humans with feet of fur and leather. He and his companions, a troop of dwarves, are encouraged by Gandalf, the wise, benevolent wizard, to undertake a journey to reclaim their stolen treasure from Smaug, the sly dragon, and are met by hungry trolls, elves, goblins, and other mythical and fantastic creatures along the way. While being an underground dweller (those that prefer the comfort of their cozy pastoral homes in The Shire), the loyal, honorable hobbit stands apart by adventure and bravery: he maintains his common sense, courage, and desire to serve in the face of danger, greed, and adversity. Central to the book is the development of a common person into a hero, with good versus evil being in continuous tension.
The Hobbit was so successful that J.R.R. Tolkien, English writer, scholar, and former professor of Old and Middle English at the University of Leeds and the University of Oxford, published over the coming decades a fantasy series that built upon its themes: The Fellowship of the Ring (1954); The Two Towers (1954); and Return of the King (1955) which explore Christianity, mythology, and philology. Tolkien's works has been adapted to popular film and stage, most notably by New Zealand director Peter Jackson.
The following articles are drawn from Proquest Historical Newspapers, which informs and inspires classroom teaching and learning.
- E. A. L. (1954, Nov 21). Off the Beated Path: Prof. Tolkien's Hobbits Story Continuation Good To Read Aloud. Daily Boston Globe (1928-1960)
- Henniker-Heaton, P.J. (1968, May 23). Tolkien Disguised Ss Himself: Slow-Burning Fuse Courage--Win Or Lose. The Christian Science Monitor (1908-)
- Hughes, R. (1977, Jul 10). Measuring The Man Who Created a World Of Hobbits and Goblins. Chicago Tribune (1963-1996)
- Uschan, M.V. (1977, Sep 04). At Marquette There Dwells 'The Hobbit': Another Tolkien Tale Of Elves and Dwarfs. The Washington Post (1974-)
- Taylor,R. (1981, Nov 11). Imaginative Realm Of the Author Of 'The Hobbit'. Boston Globe (1960-)
- Aoki,E. (1988, Aug 21). We Can't Kick 'The Hobbit': J.R.R. Tolkien's Classic Tale Is a Half-Century Old and As Popular As Ever. Boston Globe (1960-)
- 50 Years Later, 'The Hobbit' Still Fascinates Americans. (1988, Sep 01). The Sun (1837-)
- Foster, R.D. (1992, Sep 24). Tolkien Of Their Affection: Literature: The Fantasy Novelist and His World Of Hobbit Creatures Are More Than a Passing Interest For These Readers. Los Angeles Times (1923-1995)
- Williams, L. (1992, Jan 03). J.R.R. Tolkien, Man Of Myths: Trailing Hobbits Into a World Of Fantasy. The Sun (1837-)
- Wallace, A. (2018, Apr 28). From Jumble Sale To Auction: First Edition Of 'Hobbit' May Fetch 30,000: Art, Antiques and Collecting. The Irish Times (1921-)
- Dubs, Kathleen E., and Janka. Kaščáková. Middle-Earth and Beyond: Essays on the World of J.R.R. Tolkien. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars, 2010. e-book
- Pearce, Joseph. Bilbo’s Journey : Discovering the Hidden Meaning of the Hobbit. Charlotte, North Carolina: Saint Benedict Press, 2012. e-book
- Tolkien, J. R. R. The Hobbit; or, There and Back Again. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1938. Closed Stacks Juvenile PZ8.T52 Ho2 1938
- A Hobbit House, Courtesy Wikimedia Commons
- Special News Slide, Courtesy of the Gottesman Libraries
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