The Hobbit is one of the most treasured stories of all time, often dismissed as a children’s book but enjoyed as much by adults as children. In September this remarkable book will be celebrating no less then 70 years since The Hobbit was first published. The First Impression of the first UK edition was printed on September 21, 1937 by George Allen & Unwin Ltd. It was limited to only 1500 copies, but soon its success became clear.
Already from the first UK editions it included the dust jacket designed by Tolkien. It was done in a wrap-a-round style in black, green and blue. It is certainly one of tolkien's best illustrations and demonstrates his innate sense of visual design. It has become one of the most recognized book covers of all time. More info on the first edition of the Hobbit can be found here, the article I wrote when the Hobbit became 69.
The Hobbit is one of the most treasured collectors items, and has been translated many times (have a look at the Hobbits around the globe gallery). Most Tolkien book collectors dream to have some nice Hobbits in there collection, some even focus there complete collection on Hobbits, like the hobbit hunter. The early prints of The Hobbit have now become very valuable and are hard to find (in good condition). Luckily here at the Tolkien Library Store you can always find some rare hobbits for sale; even first editions are up for sale!
As I already guessed some months ago we will see this year some interesting publications concerning the Hobbit. You can read about this in my previous two articles on THE HISTORY OF THE HOBBIT: Mr Baggins and History of the Hobbit: An essential resource book for the forthcoming movie adaptation of The Hobbit. I'll give here a brief summery before adding some exciting news at the end of this article.
From 13 October 2006, we also knew the title of volume two The History of the Hobbit: Return to bag-end and saw new dustjackets feature Tolkien’s unseen first attempts at designing his own book cover. The blue cover design was never to be seen again.
While the publication date of both volumes is still uncertain, probably around may / june, it is now certain that we will get a commemorative boxed set in September. This box wil comprise a hardback gift edition of The Hobbit and the two-volume companion as seen above. It will be called THE HOBBIT, MR BAGGINS AND THE RETURN TO bag-end: Boxed Set [Anniversary Collector’s edition]. The author will be John D. Rateliff. For now i'm unable to give any images, but I do have some info already.
The three-volume collector’s boxed set presents for the first time the complete text of the original manuscript of ‘The Hobbit’ alongside the definitive hardback edition of the book.
Like its successor, ‘The Lord of the Rings’, this is a story that “grew in the telling”, and many characters and story threads present in the published text were completely different when Tolkien first read his story aloud to his young sons as part of their “fireside reads”.
As well as recording the many changes made to the story both before and after publication, ‘Mr Baggins’ and ‘The Return to bag-end’ examine – chapter-by chapter – why those changes were made and how they reflect Tolkien’s evergrowing concept of Middle-earth.
The original account of where Bilbo meets Gollum and steals the ring from him is reprinted here in its proper context for the first time in over fifty years, as are many little-known illustrations and previously unpublished maps for the story by Tolkien himself. Also featured are extensive annotations and essays on the date of composition, the influence of Tolkien’s professional and early mythological writings, the imaginary geography, and Tolkien’s later revisions.
Finally, this boxed set makes available for the first time the text of Tolkien’s attempt to recast ‘The Hobbit’ into the style of ‘The Lord of the Rings’.
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