The Hobbit and Literary Traditions

Gregory Jackson (Chief of Staff; Vice Chancellor, Undergraduate Academic Affairs; English)
Brian Ballentine (Director, Aresty Undergraduate Research Center)

Why does J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit so powerfully capture our collective imagination with its epic tale of adventure and good versus evil? What is the enduring appeal of an enchanted world like Middle-earth or those of recent popular epics like the Harry Potter and the HBO series Game of Thrones? And how does our fascination with such fantasy worlds serve to mitigate the disenchantment of our own culture? This seminar will explore what makes The Hobbit resonate with our culture and the long history of such tales in our literary tradition. We will explore how themes like a dangerous quest, powerful and dark magic, and the fall and redemption of man trace back to medieval history and religion, resonating with the romance literary conventions. We will also examine the film adaptions of Tolkien’s stories, and consider how the themes in the novel has been adapted over time and in different media. The course will include a viewing of the recent Hobbit movies at the Rutgers Cinema on Livingston campus.

Course Number: 
01:090:101 section 96 index 18073