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The Hobbit and Philosophy: for When You've Lost Your Dwarves, Your Wizard, and Your Way

The Hobbit and Philosophy: for When You've Lost Your Dwarves, Your Wizard, and Your Way

Paperback Blackwell Philosophy & Pop Culture (Paperback)

Edited by William Irwin, By (author) Gregory Bassham, By (author) Eric Bronson

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  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Ltd
  • Format: Paperback | 272 pages
  • Dimensions: 150mm x 224mm x 20mm | 363g
  • Publication date: 1 November 2012
  • Publication City/Country: Chichester
  • ISBN 10: 0470405147
  • ISBN 13: 9780470405147
  • Illustrations note: black & white illustrations
  • Sales rank: 162,922

Product description

A philosophical exploration of J.R.R. Tolkien's beloved classic--just in time for the December 2012 release of Peter Jackson's new film adaptation, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit is one of the best-loved fantasy books of all time and the enchanting "prequel" to The Lord of the Rings . With the help of some of history's great philosophers, this book ponders a host of deep questions raised in this timeless tale, such as: Are adventures simply "nasty, disturbing, uncomfortable things" that "make you late for dinner," or are they exciting and potentially life-changing events? What duties do friends have to one another? Should mercy be extended even to those who deserve to die? Gives you new insights into The Hobbit 's central characters, including Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf, Gollum, and Thorin and their exploits, from the Shire through Mirkwood to the Lonely Mountain Explores key questions about The Hobbit 's story and themes, including: Was the Arkenstone really Bilbo's to give? How should Smaug's treasure have been distributed? Did Thorin leave his "beautiful golden harp" at Bag-End when he headed out into the Wild? (If so, how much could we get for that on eBay?) Draws on the insights of some of the world's deepest thinkers, from Confucius, Plato, and Aristotle to Immanuel Kant, William Blake, and contemporary American philosopher Thomas Nagel From the happy halls of Elrond's Last Homely House to Gollum's "slimy island of rock," The Hobbit and Philosophy is a must read for longtime Tolkien fans as well as those discovering Bilbo Baggins and his adventures "there and back again" for the first time.

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Author information

Gregory Bassham is Chair of the Philosophy Department at King's College and a professor of philosophy. He edited The Ultimate Harry Potter and Philosophy and co-edited The Chronicles of Narnia and Philosophy (Open Court) and The Lord of the Rings and Philosophy . Eric Bronson is a visiting professor in the Humanities Department at York University in Toronto, Canada. He is the editor of Poker and Philosophy (2012), and co-editor of The Lord of the Rings and Philosophy (2003) and Baseball and Philosophy (2011). William Irwin is Professor of Philosophy at King's College. He originated the philosophy and popular culture genre of books as coeditor of the bestselling The Simpsons and Philosophy and has overseen recent titles including House and Philosophy, Batman and Philosophy, and Alice in Wonderland and Philosophy.

Review quote

"Gregory Bassham and Eric Bronson's anthology of essays, 'The Hobbit and Philosophy', may have an overblown title, but the authors do a good job of focusing on themes like possessiveness, providence and free will, courage and decision-making." ( The Times Literary Supplement, 21 December 2012)

Back cover copy

J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit" is one of the best-loved myths of all time, and Middle Earth provides the setting for a wealth of philosophical conundrums. Discovering their inner Took, leading philosophers provide spellbinding observations into this magical tale, debating: are adventures potentially life-changing events or simply "nasty, disturbing, uncomfortable things"? Should friends be dutiful to one another? Is it right to show mercy even to those who deserve to die? From Elrond's Last Homely House, to Gollum's "slimy island of rock," the book covers: New insights into Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf, Gollum, and Thorin and their exploits, from the Shire to the Lonely MountainKey questions, including: was the Arkenstone really Bilbo's to give? How should Smaug's treasure have been distributed? Did Thorin leave his "beautiful golden harp" at Bag-End when he headed out into the Wild? (If so, how much could we get for that on eBay?)The wisdom of some of the world's deepest thinkers, from Confucius, Plato, and Aristotle to Immanuel Kant, William Blake, and Thomas NagelPondering big hairy feet and riddles and rings, this is a must read for longtime Tolkien fans as well as those discovering Bilbo Baggins and his adventures "there and back again" for the first time.

Table of contents

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: Thag You Very Buch x Introduction: Never Laugh at Live Philosophers 1 Gregory Bassham and Eric Bronson PART ONE DISCOVER YOUR INNER TOOK 1 The Adventurous Hobbit 7 Gregory Bassham 2 "The Road Goes Ever On and On": A Hobbit's Tao 20 Michael C. Brannigan 3 Big Hairy Feet: A Hobbit's Guide to Enlightenment 32 Eric Bronson 4 Bilbo Baggins: The Cosmopolitan Hobbit 45 Dennis Knepp PART TWO THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE SLIMY 5 The Glory of Bilbo Baggins 61 Charles Taliaferro and Craig Lindahl-Urben 6 Pride and Humility in The Hobbit 74 Laura Garcia 7 "My Precious": Tolkien on the Perils of Possessiveness 90 Anna Minore and Gregory Bassham 8 Tolkien's Just War 103 David Kyle Johnson 9 "Pretty Fair Nonsense": Art and Beauty in The Hobbit 118 Philip Tallon 10 Hobbitus Ludens: Why Hobbits Like to Play and Why We Should, Too 129 David L. O'Hara PART THREE RIDDLES AND RINGS 11 "The Lord of Magic and Machines": Tolkien on Magic and Technology 147 W. Christopher Stewart 12 Inside The Hobbit: Bilbo Baggins and the Paradox of Fiction 161 Amy Kind 13 Philosophy in the Dark: The Hobbit and Hermeneutics 176 Tom Grimwood PART FOUR BEING THERE AND BACK AGAIN 14 Some Hobbits Have All the Luck 193 Randall M. Jensen 15 The Consolation of Bilbo: Providence and Free Will in Middle-Earth 206 Grant Sterling 16 Out of the Frying Pan: Courage and Decision Making in Wilderland 218 Jamie Carlin Watson 17 There and Back Again: A Song of Innocence and Experience 235 Joe Kraus CONTRIBUTORS: Our Most Excellent and Audacious Contributors 251 INDEX: The Moon Letters 257