The Riddles of The Hobbit

Authors: Roberts, A.

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About this book

Riddles are threaded through The Hobbit , and are key to Tolkien's creative imagination. The Riddles of The Hobbit situates this novel and the rest of Tolkien's writing in the context of Old English riddling culture, and more modern day examples; it sets out to solve the many riddles of the novel in original and often surprising ways.

About the authors

Adam Roberts is Professor of Nineteenth-century Literature at Royal Holloway, University of London, UK. He is also the author of more than a dozen science fiction novels: his most recent, Jack Glass (2012) won the BSFA and Campbell awards for the year's best science fiction novel. He has published a number of critical and academic works on science fiction, 19th-century and other topics.

Reviews

"He's known as an SF writer of no mean skill, but Adam Roberts is also a professor. Here he applies his mighty mind to a dissection of The Hobbit. Roberts is keen to emphasise the subjectivity of interpretation, stating that there are many ways to read riddles and stories. This is a strength, as the chief pleasure to be had here is seeing The Hobbit through the eyes of someone who loves it dearly. 5 stars." SFX

"Riddles Of The Hobbit is an intriguing and fun reading of Tolkien's work. Fascinating from a historical and literary perspective, Roberts may well be an academic writer, but the text is no worse for it. Rather this is a very enjoyable journey into the puzzles that make reading 'The Hobbit' so memorable. There is plenty here to interest the most ardent Tolkien reader and casual fan alike." - SFCrowsnest

" the book does a wonderful job of illustrating the depth and complexity of thought inherent in Tolkien's work, without ever losing sight of the deeply religious and conservative nature of that work. It is a fine example of the skill of distancing appreciation of literary craft from the nature of the literary work under examination . It is also amusing, intelligent, and rather sentimental about a well-loved literary favorite." - Cheryl Morgan

"Adam Roberts lays out his ideas in a straightforward, uncomplicated manner, so that one has neither to be a Tolkien scholar nor an expert at solving riddles to understand and appreciate this book. His wit and humor, along with his clever use of rhetorical devices, make The Riddles of the Hobbit an enjoyable read, as well as an informative one." - The Blog of The Hobbit

"There's much of interest in this book for the Tolkien enthusiast. Even aspects of Tolkien's work that might be familiar to most are presented and examined in a refreshing way." - mytolkienbooks.com

"If you're a more advanced literary or linguistic scholar or armchair philosopher and are looking for some interesting ideas to discuss around the gaming table, this book will spark much dynamic conversation." - Legendarium. Middle Earth Network

"Roberts applies great imaginative ingenuity to the reading of riddles. His book complements existing work on Tolkien by adopting a free interpretative approach which is justified, not by some abstract postmodern theory, but by a bold claim about the riddling, ironic, polysemous nature of Tolkien's texts." - Brian Rosebury, author of Tolkien: a Cultural Phenomenon

"Even the seasoned Tolkien fan can still learn new things from this excellent book . . . In this enlightening exploration Roberts uncovers the nature of Tolkien's handiwork and illustrates how the act of reading is in fact an act of unriddling." - Tolkien Library

"Two final words of sheer enjoyment: Adam Roberts's The Riddles of the Hobbit is a wonderful tear across open academic country, a fusion of scholarly and fannish writing which is an intellectual pleasure from first to last." - Strange Horizons 2013 round-up

"Roberts makes a compelling argument, but what I most enjoyed about the book is that it made me think about the text in another way adding another layer to what many consider just a book for kids. 9/10." - Sci-fi-online.com

"The Riddles of the Hobbit is a loving look at the use of riddles in The Hobbit (and, to a lesser extent, The Lord of the Rings)

as well as a scholarly rumination on the significance of riddles in life and literature." - SciFi Bulletin

"You are wondering, as I was, how much can be said about the riddles from The Hobbit. What I didn't understand is that the conversation between Bilbo and Gollum are not the only place where riddles are found in the book . Roberts understands, as, of course, Tolkien did, that the Anglo-Saxon world loved riddles, and saw life (and death) as a riddle." - HollywoodJesus.com

"I was worried that the author would have failed to take account of what are often considered to be the foremost analyses of the Tolkien's riddles . However, this turned out to be a false worry: Roberts not only includes references to all of these, but also expands upon and, at times, questions certain aspects of their work all of which makes for a rewarding read." - Mythoi

'Roberts does a good job of covering the background of riddle games in the Anglo-Saxon and Norse cultures...This fascinating book is for anyone interested in the background and roots of The Hobbit. Summing up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers' - CHOICE


Buy this book

eBook $19.99
price for USA
  • The eBook version of this title will be available soon
  • ISBN 978-1-137-37364-9
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format:
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Download immediately after purchase
Hardcover $28.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-137-37363-2
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
The Riddles of The Hobbit
Authors
Copyright
2013
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan UK
Copyright Holder
Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited
eBook ISBN
978-1-137-37364-9
DOI
10.1057/9781137373649
Hardcover ISBN
978-1-137-37363-2
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
192
Topics