Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

  • Author: Kim Vollrodt

Tolkien trivia: “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit”

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit” – the opening line of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit is among the most famous first lines in literature, and introduces readers to the most homely fantasy creatures ever invented: the Hobbits. Hobbits are a race of half-sized people, very similar to humans except for their […]

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Travelling with Shakespeare

William Shakespeare is celebrated as one of the greatest Englishmen who has ever lived and his presence in modern Britain is immense. His contributions to the English language are extraordinary, helping not only to standardize the language as a whole but also inspiring terms still used today (a prime example being “swag” derived from “swagger” first seen in the plays Henry V and A Midsummer Night’s Dream).

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Friendship in Shakespeare

In Shakespeare’s England, the term “friend” could be used to express a wide range of interpersonal relations. A friend could be anything from a neighbour, a lover, or fellow countryman, to a family member or the close personal acquaintance we understand as a “friend” today.

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