A ‘hobbit-forming’ passion in class

first_imgKrikorian, noting the “agitated” revisions on the handwritten sheet, said he believes the “ingenious devices” phrase, which was added later, is a reference to the mechanized warfare Tolkien saw during the Battle of the Somme in World War I, when he served with the Lancashire Fusiliers and saw many of his closest friends killed. Krikorian wrote to the Tolkien estate and was able to secure permission from Adam Tolkien, the author’s grandson, to have a transparency made from the original manuscript to share with his students this semester and next spring, when he next teaches the class. Pierce College President Robert Garber said he was impressed with Krikorian’s research. “It points out that our faculty, in addition to being outstanding teachers … are also skilled scholars in their field,” Garber said. “Larry, like so many of our faculty, has continued to pursue his academic interests and look for ways to contribute to the intellectual growth of his field.” Krikorian plans to return to Marquette in June to do more research. Tolkien frequently revised his work after having it critiqued by his friends, the Inklings, whose members included Lewis, writing as many as 13 versions of the same chapter. Tolkien even revised “The Hobbit” after he started writing “The Lord of the Rings,” creating the “Riddles in the Dark” chapter in which Bilbo engages in a battle of wits with Gollum. These revisions provide a valuable lesson for Krikorian’s students about the importance of editing and revising. Had Tolkien not revised “The Lord of the Rings,” Frodo Baggins, the heroic hobbit protagonist of the trilogy, might have emerged as Bingo, a much goofier character, Krikorian said. lisa.sodders@dailynews.com (818) 713-3663160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2“What’s so bad about making readers happy in the end? Tolkien thought a happy ending – sometimes it comes out that way in real life. You don’t all have to have everyone dead or depressed at the end of the day.” It’s no secret that Krikorian, 48, of Thousand Oaks is something of a fanatic about the adventures of Frodo Baggins and company. He has a talking Treebeard figure and a Gollum statue in his office, writes his class notes in runes and even traveled to Marquette University in Wisconsin recently to look at the original, handwritten manuscripts for “The Hobbit” – first published in 1937 – and the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, published in 1954-55. While looking at those manuscripts, written in an elegant, spidery hand, Krikorian stumbled on an interesting discovery he now uses in his popular English 270 Science Fiction and Fantasy course, which covers both works. “(Tolkien) said he couldn’t afford `the ten-fingered’ to type his manuscripts, so he did it himself,” later in the process, Krikorian said. Krikorian was struck by a sentence in “The Hobbit” that appears in the published edition but not in the handwritten draft. Tolkien writes that it is “not unlikely” that goblins have invented many machines, including “the ingenious devices for killing large numbers of people at once,” but at the time of the story, they had not “advanced (as it is called.)” What do you get when you combine two men, four hobbits, an elf, a dwarf and a wizard? If you’re film director Peter Jackson, you get more than a dozen Academy Awards for “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy based on the works of British author J.R.R. Tolkien and about $4 billion in worldwide box office receipts. If you’re Pierce College professor Larry Krikorian, you have the ingredients for a passion that is definitely “hobbit-forming.” “I think of Tolkien as the Anti-Nietzche,” said Krikorian, who compares the work of Tolkien (1892-1973) to poet T.S. Eliot or “Chronicles of Narnia” author C.S. Lewis and others. last_img

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