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The History of the Hobbit Hardcover – October 26, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
That is how the story originally took shape.
With THE HISTORY OF THE HOBBIT, author John D. Rateliff pieces together fragments of history in order to present THE HOBBIT as it was originally drafted by J.R.R. Tolkien. With access to the documents at Marquette University, the project was originally undertaken by Taum Santoski, who passed away following a battle with cancer at an all-too-young age. The torch was then passed to Rateliff with the full blessing of Christopher Tolkien.
Some of Tolkien's original papers have been lost to time. Seventy years is quite a period to have anything stashed away. The opening page, featuring the handwritten line "In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit," is one of those long-lost pages, but for the most part, a rather complete version of the initial draft of this book can be pieced together. In essence, THE HOBBIT is a phenomenal read for a number of reasons.
On one level, it gives readers the first look at the origins of legend. This is how Tolkien originally viewed his mythical Middle-earth before it grew into THE LORD OF THE RINGS. These characters bore different names, endured different hardships and took on other roles. Gollum, in the original vision, held to his end of the riddle game and, after losing, shows Bilbo the way out of the mountain.Read more ›
Besides The Hobbit itself, this set also contains the two volume History of the Hobbit by John D. Rateliff. This is a masterwork containing complete texts of the different versions of The Hobbit written by Tolkien over the years, from a first draft created originally from stories he told his children to a very late revision planned to bring the book more in line with The Lord of the Rings. Rateliff also provides some fascinating notes and many intriguing essays throughout the two volumes (Mr. Baggins and Return to Bag End).
All three volumes are beautifully printed and bound, with lovely jackets inspired by Tolkien's own drawings. This will be a gift bound to please Tolkien lovers and anyone who treasures finely crafted books.
The Hobbit novel is the first American edition to feature Tolkien's color illustrations made for the book, the latest round of typographic corrections, and an introduction by Christopher Tolkien. The endpapers are color reproductions of Thorin's map of the Lonely Mountain, another first for an American edition. And the dust jacket is produced with Tolkien's original design in mind with a red sun and dragon, and pink tint on the mountains, which were removed from the original design due to money concerns.
Fans of The Hobbit have heard for decades now how Tolkien rewrote the book after completion of the Lord of the Rings, in order to bring the two stories in line with each other. Until now, only people lucky enough to find a copy of the British first edition have been able to know how extensive the changes were. The History of the Hobbit not only recreates the original draft of the story, but points out how the story evolved and changed. For example, the ring was, originally, just a magic ring and not the One Ring. In fact, the ruling rings didn't even exist in Tolkien's history of the Middle Earth at the time The Hobbit was first written. The Hobbit wasn't even conceived as a part of the Tolkien universe, but was intended to stand apart and alone. J. R. R. Tolkien changed his mind about that when The Hobbit proved a best seller.
The author gives The Hobbit the same extensive treatment that Christopher Tolkien gave The Lord of the Rings in his History of Middle Earth series.Read more ›
The history of "The Hobbit" itself is fascinating, the history of how it interwove with the developing mythology of "Lord of the Rings" and the "Silmarillion" even more so. But there are also detached analytical essays scattered throughout, on subjects like the goblins/orcs, Beorn, the Great Eagles and Tolkien's attitude towards spiders, which are unexpected bonuses, as well as the revelation that Gollum originally was not only more well-spoken but somewhat nicer than he later became.
One very minor niggle (unaccompanied by leaf): in his essay on Beorn, Rateliff mentions that the Middle Earth equivalent of Grizzly Adams was of indefinite but probably immense age, and in fact was a "leftover from an older world" -- but then died shortly after Bilbo's adventure, according to LOTR.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
For some reason, Christopher Tolkien did not extend his History of Middle-Earth scholarship to the Hobbit. Rateliff provides an invaluable contribution by chronicling J.R.R. Read morePublished on November 2, 2012 by Enjolras
Let me first cut to the chase: If you are the sort of Tolkien fan who enjoyed the History of Middle Earth series (which included The Return of the Shadow, The Book of Lost Tales,... Read morePublished on June 13, 2011 by Eric San Juan
It's fun to see all the different ideas and twists that go into writing Tolkien's books. This is refreshing when compared to the recent interpretations of this work.Published on May 4, 2010 by Carol Reed
This is an amazing collection. If you have a Tolkien fan you are looking to buy a present for, look no further. Read morePublished on September 21, 2009 by A. Reader
This book follows the development of the The Hobbit from the earliest remaining materials to the time of original publication. Read morePublished on December 19, 2008 by Alexander Johnson
What a great set of books ! Well worth the money !
A must for any L.O.T.R. fan !
This three volume set gives new insight into the world of The Hobbit. The first book is The Hobbit as you know it and the second two are a annotated copy of J.R.R. Read morePublished on March 28, 2008 by Brian Tanti