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On the Shoulders of Hobbits: The Road to Virtue with Tolkien and Lewis Paperback – October 1, 2012
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"The mistake that Uncle Andrew made was not because he believed that wealth could be brought back from Narnia. His mistake was in refusing to bring back the right kind of wealth -- it is wisdom we need, not more steel and battleships. Louis Markos has remedied that problem, importing a great of wisdom from Narnia, and Middle Earth as well, with plenty to spare. I am happy to recommend On the Shoulders of Hobbits."
Douglas Wilson, author of What I Learned in Narnia
"Thoughtful, helpful, insightful, On the Shoulders of Hobbits reminds us just how much is to be gained by standing on the shoulders of Tolkien and Lewis, those Christian literary giants."
Michael Ward, Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics and co-editor of The Cambridge Companion to C.S. Lewis
“A book that richly celebrates the place of story in our lives—even as it invites us to walk the road with, and glean life lessons from, some of J.R.R. Tolkien’s finest characters.”
Kevin Belmonte, editor of A Year with G.K. Chesterton, and lead historical consultant for the film, Amazing Grace.
"Louis Markos' thoughtful exploration of virtue through the writings of JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis is a valuable resource for parents, teachers, and young people seeking models and guides for living a life shaped by, and infused with, the richness of Christian virtues."
Holly Ordway, Houston Baptist University and author of Not God's Type
From the Back Cover
Classical virtue has been lost.
Courage, valor, trust, and friendship seem to be things of the past, of a different age and era. But is that because we have simply forgotten how to see them and learn them?
There was a time when virtue and vice were learned not through mere lessons and propositions but through stories. Real life truth and goodness was communicated powerfully through fantastical fiction. Louis Markos takes us back to that day and that reality.
Through the iconic works of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis we are reintroduced to classic virtues, both good and bad. Markos shows the reader how powerful stories and their characters act as teachers and examples of what to be and not to be in real life.
Rediscover the power of stories and the importance of virtue through this beautiful work.
More About the Author
He is a Professor of English and Scholar in Residence at Houston Baptist University, where he teaches courses on British Romantic and Victorian Poetry and Prose, the Classics, C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien, and Film.
Dr. Markos holds the Robert H. Ray Chair in Humanities and lectures on Ancient Greece and Rome, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance for HBU's Honors College.
He is the author of eleven published books and two lecture series with the Teaching Company/Great Courses (The Life and Writings of C. S. Lewis; Plato to Postmodernism: Understanding the Essence of Literature and the Role of the Author).
He has published over 120 articles and reviews in such journals as Christianity Today, Touchstone, Theology Today, Christian Research Journal, Mythlore, Christian Scholar's Review, Saint Austin Review, American Arts Quarterly, and The City, and had his modern adaptation of Euripides' Iphigenia in Tauris, Euripides' Helen, and Sophocles' Electra performed off-Broadway.
He is a popular speaker in Houston, and has spoken on such topics as C. S. Lewis, apologetics, education, ancient Greece, ancient Rome, and Dante in two dozen states and in British Columbia, Canada, Oxford, England, and Rome.
He is committed to the concept of the Professor as Public Educator and believes that knowledge must not be walled up in the Academy but must be disseminated to all who have ears to hear. He lives in Houston with his wife, Donna, his son, Alex, and his daughter, Stacey.
Top Customer Reviews
Markos is a good writer. In this book he purposely set out to appeal to the general reader rather than specialists, and he is successful, though it would be helpful to his readers if they have some background knowledge of Plato and English literature as well as the Bible. In his introduction and in sections of the text I found his chip-on-the-shoulder attitude towards modern culture somewhat jarring, but that does not extend throughout the entire book. And I thoroughly enjoyed his discussions of the importance of stories in our lives and his bibliographical essays with suggestions for further study.
I must admit that I was not a great fan of either Lewis or Tolkien. I had tried to read the Chronicles of Narnia as a young student without much luck. I mistakenly thought that Lord of the Rings was science fiction and never put my full attention to it. However, who has not heard what wonderful authors these two are? I was willing to believe that they were fine authors. But still, I could not seem to appreciate their writing and the last cause I suspected was me. After reading On the shoulders of Hobbits, Professor Markos managed to turn my hard head and my hard heart towards some of the best literature of the 20th century. He removed road blocks, opened up new vistas and in the best way, he led me to an understanding of the true meaning of these tales. Professor Markos also makes clear why Tolkien's and Lewis' works will surely stand the test of time. I think Professor Kreeft put it like this: "they have the fingerprints of God all over them."
Professor Markos' love for the great enduring stories that tell us mere mortals about our true ends and purposes, and in particular his love for Tolkien and Lewis, is infectious. He has a gift for transmitting that love through the written word for those with the ears to hear through the din of modernity and for those with the eyes to see through emperor's new clothes of todays false literacy are in for a trek perhaps not even hoped for.Read more ›
I've been following Markos' work for years, including two excellent books on Lewis. He's become one of my favorite non-Catholic Inkling experts and his newest book, On the Shoulders of Hobbits: The Road to Virtue with Tolkien and Lewis (Moody Publishers, paperback, 234), continues that trend.
Markos argues that the iconic works of both Tolkien and Lewis do more than entertain. They help the reader inculcate classic virtues like courage, valor, trust, and friendship. By following Frodo's moral development, for instance, our own courage and persistence are strengthened. The opposite is true, too.
By studying the villains throughout Middle-Earth and Narnia, we can detect sin in our own lives and destroy it. Tolkien's Sauron provides one example of sin, in this case pride, exposed through the Light of humility:
"The reason Sauron has not guessed the true purpose of the Fellowship is not that he is a fool or even that he is prideful, but that he simply cannot conceive that someone would willingly forsake power.Read more ›
However, once I started reading the main part months later, it was a delightful book.
Mainly using the Lord of the Rings and Chronicles of Narnia, it also quotes a lot from Lewis and Tolkien's other books, the Illiad, Odyssey, the Divine Comedy, Dostoyevsky, and others. It uses examples from these to teach Courage, Endurance, Temperance, Wisdom, Justice, Friendship, Faith Hope and Love. Even about the "Byronic Heroes". Better known as the anti-hero, like Darth Vader or more to Tolkien, the nasty Gollum, who saves the world by stealing the Ring and then falling into the Fires of Doom.
Among the things the author swears he will not be doing is giving a commentary on the LOTR, yet he does manage to illuminate parts of it extremely well.
Jolly good show!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book was such a good read! We all know that these books were written by 2 of the greatest Christian authors of all time, but pulling out the details and showing how it... Read morePublished 3 months ago by jenifer
An excellent book written for the lay reader and not the academic type. Very understandable. Professor Markos has outdone himself with this book.Published 4 months ago by Eric H. Read
I found this book to be well-written and very insightful. Mr. Markos had done an excellent job of illuminating important themes and concepts in the works of Tolkien and Lewis, and... Read morePublished 6 months ago by G. Harris
"In our public schools today, there are only three virtues taught: tolerance, multiculturalism, and environmentalism. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Kyle E. Mcdanell
I really enjoyed the insights Markos provided and the common themes and life lessons he highlighted from both The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia.Published 7 months ago by L Willis
Purchased as a gift for my husband, who is a big Tolkien fan. He really enjoyed it. My 15-yr-old son is reading it now.Published 8 months ago by MtGal
Thanks to Dr. Marcos.
On the Shoulders of Hobbit is a good read. He reminds us of those most important qualities of our characters in very pleasing ways. Read more
I was loving the insight Markos was providing until I got to page 94 when he clearly exhibits a bias against catholics implying they have an aversion to hierarchy when the very... Read morePublished 10 months ago by WritersSecret