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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Adam Roberts, The Riddles of the Hobbit


Jun 10 2017, 11:36pm

Post #1 of 2 (1684 views)
Adam Roberts, The Riddles of the Hobbit Can't Post

Has anyone else read Adam Roberts' book The Riddles of the Hobbit (Palgrave macmillan, 2013)? I'm a fan of his fiction, plus I read his excellent history of Science Fiction, so I had to get this book. I have to say, I'd always regarded the riddling sequence from The Hobbit as a bit silly, but Roberts has made the sequence much more compelling, putting the riddles (and the larger theme of riddling in Tolkien) in the context of the kinds of old English and Saga literature Tolkien himself knew well. Some of his analysis is funny, playful, very erudite.


Jun 11 2017, 12:32am

Post #2 of 2 (1678 views)
I found the playfulness distracting, actually. [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree that Roberts is a bright character, but as with his parodies I felt he was writing primarily to amuse himself if not to show off his general cleverness.
If he had seemed to be taking things more seriously in general, I suspect I would have engaged with the parts that (I think) he meant to be taken as serious critical writing. As it was I found it all a bit frustrating.
But I'm glad you liked it! It means that Roberts has an audience and perhaps knew more about what he was doing that I had given him credit for. Thanks for posting your comments.

squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
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Archive: All the TORn Reading Room Book Discussions (including the 1st BotR Discussion!) and Footerama: "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
Dr. Squire introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary

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