OLEAN - The Olean Public Library will present “The Hobbit: There & Back Again Through Tolkien’s Middle-earth” by St. Bonaventure’s Paul Spaeth at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 12.
On Dec. 14, the first of a three-part adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel “The Hobbit” will be shown to a nationwide audience that has been eagerly awaiting its release. When the book was published in 1937 it was the first glimpse people had of a world that would be dramatically broadened 17 years later with the appearance of the first volume of “The Lord of the Rings.” But both of these works dealt with only a portion of the Third Age of a fantasy world that in Tolkien’s mind stretched back thousands of years and involved far greater battles, the sinking of an island continent, and even contained a creation story.
Spaeth’s talk will trace the “history” of Middle-earth and of its origins as a pastime for its scholar-author dating to the days when Tolkein fought in the trenches of World War I. Spaeth is director of Friedsam Memorial Library at the university and has for years taught a course on Tolkien and C.S. Lewis.
The event is free and open to the public. The Olean Public Library is located at 134 N. 2nd St.