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J.R.R. Tolkien wanted his work to be taken seriously. But his magnum opus The Lord of the Rings was unlike most literature of the mid-20th century, which was modern. And wasn't The Hobbit a children's book? Critics mused, is this sequel supposed to be serious literature for adults? But there was a group of people who took Middle-earth very seriously and pushed this cult classic into the mainstream. Michael Drout, Gary Lachman and Ethan Gilsdorf explain how and why Tolkien became a folk hero of the counter-culture -- whether he liked it or not.
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