J.R.R. as literature
Jackson's Lord of the Rings isn't designed to replace the book in our culture, but Star Wars. And it does a good job.
If you could save only five books from the 20th century would you save LOTR? I think the answer is pretty obviously no, even if we're only counting novels, but apparently that's not so obvious to some.
There are three places I'd consider teaching LOTR in a college classroom:
1) A class on epic literature, where I'd examine LOTR as an example of an attempt to translate the epic genre into another time. (Compare and contrast with Milton's Paradise Lost...).
2) A class on the relationship between literature and history, considering the relationship between LOTR in WWII Britain, 1960s US and post-terrorism Britian and the US.
3) A class on myth in the modern epoch. Actually, that's one I'd be really interested in.