By Dr Oliver Tearle (Loughborough University)
The Hobbit is one of the biggest-selling books of all time. An estimated 100 million people have read Tolkien’s classic children’s novel since it was first published in 1937. The story of its origins, and Tolkien’s supposed invention of the word ‘hobbit’ (of which more below), are well-known. But how should we ‘read’ The Hobbit? What does the story mean?