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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
LOTR and The Hobbit illustrated hardback editions (and related) questions, advice requested

malickfan
Gondor


Sep 19 2013, 6:37pm

Post #1 of 8 (244 views)
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LOTR and The Hobbit illustrated hardback editions (and related) questions, advice requested Can't Post

Hi All, I realise this has probably come up many times before, but I was wandering whether anyone could give me any advice on LOTR and T.H illustrated hardback editions, and a few other related questions (sorry there isn't really anyway to make this seem an exciting subject)

My paperback of LOTR (2007 One Volume 'Red Book' edition):

http://www.amazon.co.uk/...379612601&sr=1-2

is getting rather battered, and I was looking at getting a hardback as a replacement, preferebly the illustrated one volume by Alan Lee:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/...379612601&sr=1-2

I greatly enjoyed Alan Lee's work in COH, and elsewhere complementing the story beautifully...However, it does generally seem to be on the pricey side (I don't mind buying used) and I'm not sure I can justify spending that much on a possibly unecessary replacement, especially a potentially unweildy one.

With the large weight of the paper, would it be more liable to wear and tear along the spine? (My paperback is rather bent for similar reasons), are the one volume Hardback's of LOTR in general comfortable to hold or read?-I have little trouble with the One Volume's of the HOTH and HOME but the paper in these volumes was much thinner, and I doubt they will get the wear and tear the LOTR has been subjected to in my far too frequent re-reads, so would you reccomend a hardback (illustrated on otherwise) as a primary replacement? or should I simply invest in another paperback?

-I know these are rather straight forward questions, but with the large amount of LOTR editions available I'm at a bit of a loss where to start, I personally own very few hardbacks (or books for that matter) so I'm not too sure of the pros and cons or size of such volumes-any help you guys and gals can offer would be greatly appreciated.

As for The Hobbit I don't currently have a (non-annotated) copy (!) and I am split on the following two as a replacement:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/.../ref=tmm_hrd_title_7

http://www.amazon.co.uk/.../ref=tmm_hrd_title_5

Price for me is not a problem in this case, both editions look great (although I'm not too sure of the thick paper the Caitlin editon is printed on) and I'm sure to order one or the other, but I have a further question that I can't seem to find an answer to:

My old copy of The Hobbit had a 'note on the text' (I think, it's been a while since I gave it away) and the First Chapter of Fellowship of the Ring printed (along with a few of Tolkien's illustrations) in addition to the main text-it's not a selling point to me I was just wondering whether ayone could clarify these as common to all editions of The Hobbit?, it's rather hard to tell from browsing on Amazon but they seem to limited to special 'aniversary editions', also in hardback

And at the risk of causing pandemic boredom to break out on the board I have two final (I promise) unrelated questions:

Bilbo's Last Song, do the hardback:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/.../ref=tmm_hrd_title_0

and paperback

http://www.amazon.co.uk/...olkien/dp/0099439751

contain the same content?-I have yet to purchase a copy (love the poem) but I'm not entirely sure whether the two share the same lyrics or illustrations...

Finally, has anyone read 'Exploring JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit' by Corey Olsen? I hear nothing but good things, and was very intrigued by the notion of a critical book focussing soley on the hobbit (would it make a nice companion to my new hardback?) but having read The Annotated Hobbit, The History of The Hobbit and several more 'scholary books' on Tolkien (e.g. The Road to Middle Earth) without sounding too arrogant, I'm woried that the 'entry level' style of the book may not interest me much as I've already read the story so many times.

I realise that is alot of boring questions (I've noticed it's a trait of mine...sorry...) that are probably much simpler to solve than I think, so please don't think I'm taking advantage of the forum, but this seemed like the best place to ask (I'm still really a Tolkien novice) and any opinions and help you guys and gals can offer would be greatly appreciated.

Smile

I don't have much to say.



Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Sep 19 2013, 8:36pm

Post #2 of 8 (149 views)
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Personally, I am not a fan [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Finally, has anyone read 'Exploring JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit' by Corey Olsen? I hear nothing but good things, and was very intrigued by the notion of a critical book focussing soley on the hobbit (would it make a nice companion to my new hardback?) but having read The Annotated Hobbit, The History of The Hobbit and several more 'scholary books' on Tolkien (e.g. The Road to Middle Earth) without sounding too arrogant, I'm woried that the 'entry level' style of the book may not interest me much as I've already read the story so many times.

I know that a lot of people are very big fans of Olsen's work, but I did not get very much out of his book, very much for the reasons that you mention. It is a very good book to use for a high school course for students reading it for the first time, but there is precious little in the way of scholarly analysis. My opinion pretty much is the same as that of Jason Fisher, who reviewed the book in Tolkien Studies:

Quote

Olsen’s book is one whose value depends very much on who is reading it. For scholars and advanced readers already immersed in Tolkien and his fictional world (for example, anyone likely to be reading reviews in Tolkien Studies), its value is unfortunately minimal. But for those not yet serious about Tolkien—the general audience to which the dust-jacket refers—its value may be much greater. For some readers, undergraduate or high school students studying The Hobbit, and perhaps for their teachers, it may well be indispensable—as a ready-made study guide or lesson plan, respectively.

This is, for me, the fundamental defect of Olsen’s book. The majority of it comes across like a crib for The Hobbit, rehearsing the plot points of each chapter in tedious detail and unjustifiable length. Olsen’s chapters even correspond to Tolkien’s, one for one, something you normally see in study guides. Subtracting the plot summary alone would reduce the book’s bulk substantially. There are no great revelations, no substantial scholarly discoveries. Like a series of undergraduate lectures in an elective seminar on Tolkien, Olsen’s chapters are heavy on exposition, light on insight, seldom telling you something you didn’t already know.

When he is not summarizing the plot, the interpretations the author offers are usually obvious or superficial, often simply restating what has already been said quite explicitly in the novel itself (for example, Gandalf’s appraisal near the end of the novel that Bilbo has changed, on which more below). In addition, Olsen frequently talks down to his readers, or so it seems to this reader


'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire


squire
Valinor


Sep 20 2013, 12:34am

Post #3 of 8 (138 views)
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My favorite book of 'Hobbit' criticism [In reply to] Can't Post

is The Hobbit: A Journey into Maturity by William H. Green (Twayne, 1995). I got a used copy from an internet bookseller, so I'm sure you could too. Green treats The Hobbit entirely on its own terms, with almost no reference to The Lord of the Rings; the book changed my mind about the importance of the book as a literary achievement in its own right. This contrasted with the best previous writing I'd encountered on the subject, which was Paul Kocher's chapter "The Hobbit" in his general book on Tolkien, Master of Middle-earth (1972). Kocher essentially bought into the idea that The Hobbit, for all its many virtues and unique qualities, was a 'training run' for LotR.
I haven't read Olsen's book, but the Fisher review sounds reliable.



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Footeramas: The 3rd (and NOW the 4th too!) TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


= Forum has no new posts. Forum needs no new posts.


elostirion74
Rohan

Sep 20 2013, 1:50pm

Post #4 of 8 (94 views)
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my advice [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm not sure how helpful I can be about the editions of The Hobbit you refer to, since I don't own any of them. However I have seen many of Alan Lee's illustrations for The Hobbit elsewhere. In my opinion Alan Lee's style fits LoTR beautifully, but isn't really suited to The Hobbit - I think the Hobbit needs illustrations with a different flair. I would go for the Caitlin Edition in this case, the letter type in this book looks very good as well from the examples Amazon has provided.

When it comes to the illustrated one-volume edition of LoTR you refer to, it's an edition I own myself and appreciate a lot, but the answer to some of your questions will still depend on your taste and needs.

With the large weight of the paper, would it be more liable to wear and tear along the spine?

I've had this edition for many years and it's shown little sign of wear and tear along the spine so far.
A hardback edition is generally much more sturdy than a paperback edition and this particular edition is diffcult to wear down.

"Are the one volume Hardback's of LOTR in general comfortable to hold or read?"

Well, this one-volume-edition is rather weighty, so if you're used to paperback, holding it will take some time getting used to. I've never felt that it's difficult to hold or read; but needless to say it's not a book I carry around, I only read it at home.

Personally I switch between buying hardbacks and paperbacks depending on what kind of book it is: paperback is perfectly fine for many different books IMO and there are differences in quality between various paperback editions as well; sometimes I also choose paperback because of price. When it comes to a book like LoTR, however, the difference in the added value between a particular hardback edition and a paperback is quite big IMO, since the difference in quality not only lies in the binding, but also the paper quality and often the lettering. I would definitely recommend a hardback edition of LoTR and Alan Lee's illustrations for the one-volume-edition are beautiful.

Good luck with your choices!






malickfan
Gondor


Sep 20 2013, 6:21pm

Post #5 of 8 (87 views)
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Thanks for the reply Voronwe [In reply to] Can't Post

 I have read several of Jason's (or VisualWeasel as I believe he is known around these parts?) before and usually agree with his (and your) judgement, I have heard similar opinions on other forums, so I guess I will give it a miss.

Thank you for the reply.

Smile

P.S...

I hate to ask yet another question, but since my last post the following book grabbed my attention:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/...1/ref=pd_sim_sbs_b_2

I am wondering whether this may be more my thing,it has got good reviews on the internet (I don't have acess to Tolkien Studies, but I gather it was reviewed in the same issue as Olsen's book?) but after searching the forums I can't seem to see any mentions of it on TORn, I was wondering whether you are familar with the book, or could point me in the direction of more info.

Thanks once agin for the help, and sorry to be a pain!

I don't have much to say.



malickfan
Gondor


Sep 20 2013, 6:27pm

Post #6 of 8 (84 views)
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Thanks for the reply, squire. [In reply to] Can't Post

I have heard good things about both those works, and from the scattered reviews I have seen on the net they seem to be popular books, like you say it seems relatively easy to purchase a decent used copy, so In the near future I'm sure to add these to my gradually growing Tolkien collection.

As I'm sure you can gather from my Avatar icon, I certainly view the hobbit as quite important, so I'm sure I'd have no trouble enjoying Green's perspective on things.

Thanks once again for the reply.

Smile

I don't have much to say.



malickfan
Gondor


Sep 20 2013, 6:41pm

Post #7 of 8 (87 views)
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Thank you for the advice. [In reply to] Can't Post

I managed to have a quick look at both the Hobbit books in a local book store yesterday (rather more expensive than the amazon I have to say, I did however buy a copy of The Fall of Arthur there so I'm still supporting them...) the Lee volume they had seemed to have the same illustrations but was an oversized (and damaged! Bah!) slighty different edition- close to The Annotated Hobbit in size, so I gave it a miss-it was beautiful but rather bulky damage non withstanding, whilst the Caitlin edition was rather pleasantly laid out with lots of great 'fairytale' illustrations-it was printed on rather thicker and unpleasantly waxy looking paper than I am used to (that sounds really snobby dosen't it?)

So for the time being I'm actually favouring the Alan Lee edition Amazon has (it is a fair bit cheaper-I'm not a cheapskate but can't really justify spending 20-30 quid on a book I sorta already own) but are no closer to deciding (maybe I'll get both eventually...)

I have also decided to buy the One Volume LOTR he illustrated as a 'deluxe' copy (keeping the paperback as my main copy) based on your advice and the very posistive reviews I have seen.

Many thanks for the advice,

malickfan.

Smile

I don't have much to say.



Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Sep 21 2013, 8:09pm

Post #8 of 8 (100 views)
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Honestly, I'm not a huge fan of that one, either [In reply to] Can't Post

Atherton's book, to me, almost has the opposite proble from Olsen's. It almost tries too hard too be scholarly, while missing the spirit of the work. I got more out of Shippey's discussion of The Hobbit in Road and (as Squire noted), Kocher's book, then in both of these books together.

Edit: I zeem to have replied to the wrong post. This is in response to your question about Atherton.

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire

(This post was edited by Voronwë_the_Faithful on Sep 21 2013, 8:11pm)

 
 

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