Fantasy, like youth, is wasted on the young. J.R.R. Tolkien was 40 when he wrote "The Hobbit," about a 50-year old's adventure. His best-known heroes, Bilbo and Frodo, are not teenage chosen ones or lost royal young-lings: they are middle-aged yeomen doing their best--which still comes up short. As an academic, Tolkien insisted that children have, as a rule, less need than older people" of what "fairy stories offer." Now that you're old enough to get more out of them, it's time to revisit (or finally meet, if you haven't yet) Tolkien's masterpieces. As a baseline, this course will assume a casual reader's familiarity with "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings." If you haven't read them yet, there's still time before the term starts.
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