The Lord of the Rings trilogy has delighted millions of fans worldwide in book and movie form. With the theatrical release of the two-part film The Hobbit slated for 2012 and 2013, attention will once again turn to J. R. R. Tolkien's classic works. In a culture where truth is relative and morality is viewed as old-fashioned, we welcome the chance to view the world through hobbit eyes: we have free will, our choices matter, and living a morally heroic life is possible.
In this engaging and thought-provoking book, Tolkien expert Matthew Dickerson shows how a Christian worldview and Christian themes undergird Tolkien's Middle-earth writings and how they are fundamentally important to understanding his vision. This revised and expanded edition of Following Gandalf includes new material on torture, social justice, and the importance of the body.
Matthew Dickerson (PhD, Cornell University) is a professor at Middlebury College in Vermont, a writer, and the director of the New England Young Writers' Conference at Bread Loaf. His previous works include From Homer to Harry Potter; The Mind and the Machine; Narnia and the Fields of Arbol: The Environmental Vision of C. S. Lewis; and Ents, Elves, and Eriador: The Environmental Vision of J. R .R. Tolkien.
"What are the costs of military victory? Is mercy sometimes too expensive? Can torture ever be justified? Are there any moral absolutes in a world of competing faiths and cultures? Matt Dickerson's A Hobbit Journey traces these and many other issues through their surprisingly detailed presentation in Tolkien's fiction. If anyone should still doubt Tolkien's applicability and relevance to the twenty-first century, this is the book to put in their hands.
author of J. R. R. Tolkien: Author of the Century
A Hobbit Journey instantly engages readers with its combination of scholarly knowledge and love for J. R. R. Tolkien's work. Matthew Dickerson resists imposing his own rigid, limiting thesis and instead interprets the text by simply pointing out to fellow readers what is there. In doing so he illuminates the power of Tolkien's stories to challenge, delight, and transform us.
author of Tolkien and C. S. Lewis: The Gift of Friendship and J. R. R. Tolkien: The Making of a Legend
Most fantasy novels are like amusement parks--full of familiar sights, sounds, smells, and thrills. But J. R. R. Tolkien's stories, which have inspired legions of imitators, offer much more than amusement. They are countries full of treasure that will go undiscovered and unappreciated unless we learn how to be attentive treasure hunters. Matthew Dickerson writes as one who has spent his summers in the Shire, hiked every trail in Mirkwood Forest, taken counsel from Gandalf, and argued with Gollum and Smaug. It's as though he sharpened the tools of his intellect in deep conversation with Tolkien himself. He will prove to be a thought-provoking guide through Middle-earth whether you're a frequent visitor there or a newcomer ready for the adventure of a lifetime.
author of Auralia's Colors and Through a Screen Darkly
"A Hobbit Journey is a grand accomplishment: a thoughtful exploration of the virtues and values that sustain the heartbeat of Tolkien's Middle-earth. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I expect that you will too.
-Diana Pavlac Glyer,
author of The Company They Keep: C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien as Writers in Community