He was a grammarian, and could doubtless see further into the future than others.
I’m organizing my thoughts on the meaning of The Hobbit in a series of videos. The plan is to release 6 videos, then write the result up as a short book, and then make a 7th video wrapping it all up. As the videos appear I’ll link them below.
1. Rescuing The Hobbit
Introduction followed by an account of the late-Victorian roots of the queer signs used by those who appear to respectable hole-dwellers as peddlers selling buttons at their door.
Postscript: now I’m nearing the end of this project I realize I put too much emphasis on the Victorian side of things in this first video. Or rather, while that emphasis is correct the rest of the videos don’t really explain it.
2. What are Hobbits?
As he began The Lord of the Rings Tolkien made his Hobbits English, sharing geographic origin and language with the Riders of Rohan. But when he first imagined a Hobbit Tolkien saw that he was an aborigine of Britain as described by an older Oxford professor…
3. Beowulf & The Hobbit
How Tolkien sent his Hobbit on an adventure that would lead him to play the role of the nameless man who steals a cup and wakes the wrath of the dragon in the Old English Beowulf.
4. Ali Baba & The Hobbit
How Tolkien reworked the story of ‘Ali Baba & the 40 Thieves’ as he imagined the frame of his story of a hobbit in the late 1920s.
5. Riddles in the Dark
6. Magic Ring