Sep 18 2007, 5:49pm
Vol I: Two proto-novel fragments; complete early Hobbit ms.
Each chapter has Notes & more Notes + analysis (split under subject headings).
Lots of full color reproductions on thick glossy paper!
Vol II: The 1960's "revised" Hobbit + all of the above. The revision gets up to about chapter three, I think.
The books are incredibly well bound & can be left open on a table (for dinner reading!), the paper is thick & creamy, the print crisp & easy to read. The covers are beautiful, featuring reproductions of Tolkien's original sketches on acid free paper. From the Press Release:
The Contents of the book
The History of the Hobbit presents for the first time, in two volumes, the complete unpublished text of the original manuscript of J.R.R.Tolkien’s The Hobbit, his draft of the revision of the Gollum encounter for the second edition, and the fragment of what, if he'd completed it, would have been the third edition of 1960 (a very small amount of which he did use for the actual third edition of 1966), accompanied by John Rateliff's lively and informative account of how the book came to be written and published. As well as recording the numerous changes made to the story both before and after publication, it examines - chapter-by chapter - why those changes were made and how they reflect Tolkien's ever growing concept of Middle-earth.
It provides extensive commentary on the appearance in THE HOBBIT of elements that had already appeared in his earlier 'Silmarillion' writings and the ways in which Bilbo's story draws from the already existing legendarium (and of course ultimately contributed greatly to it). This new book includes many little-known illustrations and previously unpublished maps for The Hobbit by Tolkien himself.
Like Christopher Tolkien’s The History of The Lord of the Rings before it, this is a thoughtful yet exhaustive examination of one of the most treasured stories in English literature. Long overdue for a classic book now celebrating 70 years in print, this companion edition offers fascinating new insights for those who have grown up with this enchanting tale, and will delight those who are about to enter Bilbo's round door for the first time.
The book will be published in two volumes, probably first apart (with one month period in between) and probably later put together in a box (who knows a nice limited edition to celebrate 70 years The Hobbit).
THE HISTORY OF THE HOBBIT: Volume One: Mr Baggins
Includes the first part of the complete original unpublished manuscript version of ‘The Hobbit’ and previously unpublished and rarely-seen maps and illustrations by Tolkien. This volume is announced for 08 May 2007.
THE HISTORY OF THE HOBBIT: Volume Two: Return to Bag-End
This second volume picks up Bilbo Baggins’ story half-way through his journey and
chronicles how, after much adversity, he must still face the mighty dragon, Smaug,
carry out the burglary for which he has been recruited, and return safely home to
Bag-End. This volume is announced for 04 June 2007.