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Has anyone listened to the lectures of the Tolkien Professor? He's an actual professor at Washington College who puts up free mp3s of his lectures on Tolkien for all us enthusiasts.
There are a few lectures on the Hobbit right now. He's doing some close reading on it. His website's below:

http://www.tolkienprofessor.com/lectures/lectures.html
Thanks for posting that!
I just went and listened to the "intro" lecture. Some very good insights - some which I heard before, and elucidated nicely. I think I may download some of the others.
I've been listening to him over breakfast every day. I have pretty early classes and none of my friends are up at around 7:30 so I eat with the Tolkien Professor for company, re-entering the Hobbit, chapter by chapter.

It's pretty nice just to hear all those details being reexamined again.
I also liked some of his podcasts.
I have started listening to these today, with his Introduction "How to Read Tolkien and Why".
ooh, how cool. I never knew that.
I've also just downloaded his intro - thank you for that.

i've been through all of the posted lectures and additional podcasts.
changed how i read all of the middle earth books, as well as tree and leaf.

i was glad to see so much attention given to the poems.

I remember a couple of years ago I saw an advert on teli showing a priest from somewhere, perhaps the U.K and he was giving a series of lectures on LOTR. It was very absorbing and at one point it highlighted one of the things he would speak about;. namely the fact that many love the books because they give them a chance to go into another world where there are deep troubles and a threat to the freedom mankind desires so deeply , and they get to 'go along' as it were and join the fight, feel the grief and experience the joy of finally seeing victory in a rather personal way. I admit that while reading some parts I too escaped and allowed myself to enter into some of the deep feelings and views of the different participants in life in Middle-earth.