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

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

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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," 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.

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  • Paperback | 272 pages
  • 149.86 x 223.52 x 20.32mm | 362.87g
  • 01 Nov 2012
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
  • John Wiley & Sons Ltd
  • Chichester
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 0470405147
  • 9780470405147
  • 147,105

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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.

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Review quote

"The value in this approach, of course, is that these essays are simple; they are incredibly short (each runs about five pages), and they are clear and accessible." (Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts, 1 February 2015) "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)

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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 Mountain Key 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 Nagel Pondering 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.

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