Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
- Full Title: The Hobbit, or There and Back Again
- Where Written: Pembroke College, Oxford
- When Published: September 21, 1937
- Genre: Fantasy; Epic
- Setting: Middle Earth
- Climax: The Battle of the Five Armies
- Antagonist: Smaug the dragon
- Point of View: Third person omniscient
The greatest teacher you never had: Tolkien’s academic research at Oxford put him in touch with some of the greatest British writers of the time, including C.S. Lewis, with whom Tolkien was close friends for many years. At the end of Tolkien’s life, he received a letter from the poet W.H. Auden, who had attended a lecture Tolkien delivered on the poem Beowulf. Tolkien’s knowledge and passion inspired Auden to continue writing poetry!
Development Hell: As soon as Tolkien published his Middle Earth novels, people tried to adapt them as films. One of the funniest ideas for a Tolkien movie came from the Beatles in the 1960s — George Harrison wanted to play Gandalf, Ringo wanted to play Sam, and John Lennon wanted to play Gollum! Wisely, Tolkien refused to let the Fab Four play hobbits and wizards, and at the time of his death, there were no live-action Middle Earth films. A quarter century later, New Line Cinema acquired the rights to Tolkien’s work, and Peter Jackson directed three Lord of the Rings films and another three based on the Hobbit.