Between the Lines: A Conversation with Matthew Dickerson – Part 2

We recently had the chance to talk with Matthew Dickerson about his new Brazos book, A Hobbit Journey.

Matthew Dickerson (PhD, Cornell University) is a professor at Middlebury College in Vermont, a writer, and the director of the New England Young Writers’ Conference at Bread Loaf. His previous works include From Homer to Harry PotterThe Mind and the MachineNarnia and the Fields of Arbol: The Environmental Vision of C. S. Lewis; and Ents, Elves, and Eriador: The Environmental Vision of J. R .R. Tolkien.

Last week, Matthew spoke about the relationship between our world and the world of The Lord of the Rings.

In today’s post, he shares how his love for Tolkien’s writing influenced the composition of A Hobbit Journey.


How did your passion for The Lord of the Rings lead you to write on it?

I think the answer to that is, “only indirectly.” I do love Tolkien’s works. And the fact that I love them has led me to read them very carefully, and I’d say somewhat frequently—though not as frequently as some people I have met. I haven’t memorized genealogies of the hobbits, or long poems, and I haven’t named my pets after creatures in Middle-earth. I did read The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion aloud to each of my sons. And I have also taught courses on Tolkien’s works many times at the college where I work, so that has given me opportunity to really think carefully about the books.

And, I suppose, writing about Tolkien’s great work gives me an excuse to spend more time with stories I love. That isn’t bad motivation.

I think what most led me to write about Tolkien, though, was my conviction that his works are not only deeply beautiful but also that they still speak today. They remain as relevant now as they were half a century ago. They still delve into the most important aspects of human experience, and shed light on concerns that are as much part of the 21st century and they were a part of the 20th. Reading Tolkien gives one a deeper insight into the world in which we live.

That, I think, is part of why I wrote about the books, and also why I am passionate about them.


For more information on A Hobbit Journey, click here.
To read an excerpt, click here.