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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
History of the Hobbit

Registered User

Sep 5 2007, 9:52pm

Post #1 of 11 (2533 views)
History of the Hobbit Can't Post

Anyone else gotten theirs yet?
The set is beautiful, very well bound with high grade materials & attractive jacket.
I'm about halfway through the Introduction.
Rateliff is mostly poking holes in old cliches. He reaches a little too far here & there*, but the tone so far is authoritative & his points are well made. Looks like it's going to be a compelling read.

I don't see an Official Thread on this: how about putting the discussion here?

*I disagree when Rateliff sees Smaug & Gollum in a Father Xmas Ltr. illustration. They look to me like a generic Tolkienian dragon & a generic goblin, not the aforementioned characters. Otherwise - so far the book is very informative.

Registered User

Sep 6 2007, 5:07pm

Post #2 of 11 (1701 views)
More on HotH [In reply to] Can't Post

The book only gets better!

I just finished the original versions of Chapter One. Lots of fascinating material here. References to China, the Hindu Kush & Shetland ponies. Also references to the Book of Lost Tales! Rateliff delves into the very first map sketches. Enormous attention to detail. Now & then Rateliff goes too far, making huge leaps & assumptions, but his enthusiasm is infectious.


Sep 6 2007, 5:24pm

Post #3 of 11 (1693 views)
Sounds wonderful! [In reply to] Can't Post

Unfortunately, it hasn't been released in the U.S. yet (due later this month, I believe).

I sit beside the fire and think
of all that I have seen,
of meadow-flowers and butterflies
in summers that have been

Registered User

Sep 6 2007, 10:25pm

Post #4 of 11 (1669 views)
Oops! [In reply to] Can't Post

I got my copy from a friend who is bookseller & has a strong relationship with Houghton Mifflin - I had no idea it wasn't out yet! I guess I'll come back in a month or so! Thanks.


Sep 18 2007, 2:14pm

Post #5 of 11 (1663 views)
Hoghton-Mifflin release in US [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm checking to see if Houghton- Mifflin is doing anything special for the release here in Boston. If so, I'm hopeful some of our locals can go and relate their impressions, photos, etc.

Being a "Steward of Harvard" is almost as good as being Steward of Gondor, but I'd still like to visit Minas Tirith.

Registered User

Sep 18 2007, 2:36pm

Post #6 of 11 (1659 views)
At Last! [In reply to] Can't Post

I can't wait to be able to discuss this with other people!
Book One is incredible!
I'm up to "Beorn" ... or "Medwed" as he's called in the early ms :)

Registered User

Sep 18 2007, 3:54pm

Post #7 of 11 (1669 views)
History ??'s [In reply to] Can't Post

I ordered the 70th box set..
My question is about the history books. I did not know any thing about these.
Whats in each book? Are the history books just Rateliff giving commentary all the way thru?
I can't find a good review.


(This post was edited by Glamdring on Sep 18 2007, 4:02pm)

N.E. Brigand

Sep 18 2007, 4:22pm

Post #8 of 11 (1645 views)
Tolkien's drafts. [In reply to] Can't Post

Also his unfinished revised version of The Hobbit c. 1960. And lots of analysis by Rateliff.

Discuss The Children of Húrin in the Reading Room, June 11-October 14.

Registered User

Sep 18 2007, 5:49pm

Post #9 of 11 (1623 views)
HotH Contents [In reply to] Can't Post

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).
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.

Registered User

Sep 24 2007, 1:12am

Post #10 of 11 (1619 views)
Hobbit [In reply to] Can't Post

Have you read the Annotated Hobbit?
It is extremely informative and it helps explain sime of the more confusing parts, it also expands on the Riddles in the Dark chapter....I think it has some of Tolkien's original drwings too!

N.E. Brigand

Sep 24 2007, 1:56am

Post #11 of 11 (1622 views)
The Annotated Hobbit? [In reply to] Can't Post

It's an excellent book, I agree, and reportedly it is complemented not superseded by The History of The Hobbit.

You're right, it does contain some of Tolkien's own artwork, as well as illustrations by others.

Discuss The Children of Húrin in the Reading Room, June 11-October 14.


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