and Phil; you'd be suprised how many hardcore literatii and college professors have spent their lives arguing that Melville, Twain, and Hawthorne are not the "Titans" you compare Tolkien with.
Surprised? Not hardly. Every work of art, great or small, good or bad, has its critics. I don't feel the need to defend the works of Melville, Twain, or Hawthorne; they're big enough. They can take a few licks. Besides, there are thousands of others who could do so better than I. There are very good reasons why authors like Melville, Twain, and Hawthorne are taught from early on in nearly every school in the country. I'm not afraid that those reasons will change any time soon.