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J.R.R. Tolkien (1892.1973), beloved throughout the world as the creator of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, was a professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford, a fellow of Pembroke College, and a fellow of Merton College until his retirement in 1959. His chief interest was the linguistic aspects of the early English written tradition, but even as he studied these classics he was creating a set of his own.
Okay, so I say that this is the best way to read The Hobbit. And I am dead serious. I know that annotated books can be difficult to navigate, filled with useless, pointless, or just plain boring information, and can be grossly oversized. That is not the case here. So - here's the scoop. The original story is very nicely presented, with all original illustrations in color when possible, and in black and white elsewhere. The type is nice and clear, very easy to read. (Many cheaper editions are also rather hard on the eyes. Check the print before you buy, folks!) The illustrations are printed very clearly, and with very good notes on what they are. And then the annotations - useful, engaging, and very well done. You will WANT to read these. We discover how the book was written, and what was changed between editions. (There were many changes made so that The Hobbit would conform more easily to the Lord of the Rings trilogy.) There are fascinating tidbits about Tolkien's life and the experiences that made their way into the story. The forward tells about the writing of the novel, and the appedices give additional details about the text. There are also many illustrations from other editions of the book. These are varied, from thought-provoking to not-provoking. And the book is not too big. Some editions are simply too big to be read, but this book is reasonably sized so that you can actually READ IT! In fact, I have not read any other edition of The Hobbit for years, since the original annotated version came out. The new edition is very much worthwhile. Enjoy!
I just wanted to take the time to update anyone who is interested in purchasing this illustrated edition of The Hobbit. As you probably know, there aren't many illustrated editions of the hobbit and most that are illustrated aren't all that incredible. So far, my favorite edition has been the one by Alan Lee. I must say, it's hard to top his work. Alan Lee really helped bring the story to life for me when I first read this incredible adventure by Tolkien. However, because I believe that The Hobbit is a tale directed at the hearts of children and adults that are young at heart, I believe that Jemima Catlin's illustrated edition has topped even the great Alan Lee's. First off, the quality of this book is excellent. The book has been wrapped in cloth so the book feels high quality and soft to the touch. Also, the cover has a beautiful illustration from the book that includes carefully placed gold etching on the leaves, title, and author's name. This really gives the book a nice luster and shine. The book doesn't come with a book jacket and honestly I think that was smart based off of how high quality the book feels and looks. It just doesn't need a cheap paper jacket to cover such a beautiful looking book.
The illustrations that are presented in the book are a thing of beauty. Not only are there a great many (every two or three pages or so) but they are incredibly colorful and really pop when you look at them. I do think the illustrator's style is to appear more colorful and simple at first glance, but at the same time you will look at the illustrations carefully and see the amount of time and effort that she put into this work. I love this style of simplicity and use of color.Read more ›
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My father introduced the late great Mr J.R.R. Tolkien to me when I was 8 years old, at a time when I had an insatiable appetite for literature of all kinds. From one night to the next I used to long to hear of events that - somehow - had been happening during my daily absence. "The Hobbit" only added to my impatience. The animated tones of my father's voice as he described Bilbo Baggins's journey into the middle earth, created images of green mist, rugged mountains and dark woods that only a childs mind can see so vividly. Yet I can remember the look on my father's face as he turned every page to rejoin the adventure. And I realised that this book - this fantasy land - had captured my fathers imagination as it had mine. For years after my father read me "The Hobbit", I longed to recapture the feelings that I first encountered in Bilbo's adventure - to learn more about Gandalf, and conjure up further images of dark, mysterious scenery. But maybe that time was too special. Maybe I'm never mean't to find another book with such magical power ..... because maybe I was lucky to be introduced to one in the first place. There are a lot of maybe's in life - questions that go along unanswered - as there are in this book...... that's the magic. In my adult wisdom (!?) I now know that I'll never truly recapture the feelings that I had as a little girl. But - when the time arises - I will strive to provide the same atmosphere in which my children can realise the magic of reading. And "The Hobbit" is the book that made me realise how important the magic is. So Mr Tolkien, wherever you are, I give you 5 stars.... for the thousands that you have already given me.