- The History of The Hobbit
The History of The Hobbit Author(s) J. R. R. Tolkien & John D. Rateliff Language English Publisher HarperCollins in the UK Houghton Mifflin in the USA Publication date 2007 Media type
The History of The Hobbit is a two-volume study of J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. It was published by HarperCollins in June and July 2007 in the UK, with both volumes released in the United States by Houghton Mifflin on September 21, 2007; a boxed set combining The Hobbit with The History of The Hobbit was released on October 26, 2007.
The two-volume work contains Tolkien’s unpublished drafts of the novel, accompanied by commentary written by John D. Rateliff. It also details Tolkien’s various revisions to The Hobbit, including abandoned revisions for the unpublished third edition of the work, intended for 1960, as well as previously unpublished original maps and illustrations drawn by Tolkien himself.
The first volume is titled The History of The Hobbit: Volume I: Mr. Baggins. This contains the first half of Tolkien’s draft material for The Hobbit, along with commentary. This volume was published in the UK May 4, 2007.
The second volume, entitled The History of The Hobbit: Volume II: Return to Bag-End, contains the last half of Tolkien’s original manuscript draft, with commentary, as well as later drafts and appendices. This volume was published in the UK in July 2007.
Relationship to The History of Middle-earth
When Christopher Tolkien began publishing The History of Middle-earth, a twelve-volume series documenting J. R. R. Tolkien’s creative writing process in the creation of Middle-earth, with texts dating from the 1920s to the 1970s, he made a conscious decision not to issue a volume detailing the creation of The Hobbit. According to him, The Hobbit was not originally a part of the Middle-earth universe and was attached to his father's earlier, far darker legendarium only superficially, although the existence of The Hobbit forever altered the legendarium. The tone of The Hobbit is much lighter and more appropriate to a children’s tale than that of J. R. R. Tolkien’s other writings.
As Christopher Tolkien was not going to embark on a published study of The Hobbit, the task was given to Taum Santoski in the 1980s. Santoski had connections to the Marquette collection of Tolkien material, which is where the original manuscripts reside. He died in 1991, and ultimately the task passed to John Rateliff. Although Christopher Tolkien did not work directly on The History of The Hobbit, the work is in a very similar vein to the "literary archaeology" of his History of Middle-earth.
Rateliff submitted a finished draft of the book to Christopher Tolkien, who, approving of the work, gave The History of The Hobbit his personal blessing to be published in association with his father’s other works.
- ^ A chronological bibliography of the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien
- ^ History of the Hobbit: An essential resource book for the forthcoming movie adaptation of The Hobbit (13.10.06)
- ^ Tolkien Bibliography: books written by Tolkien in the Tolkien Library: the hobbit, the Lord of the Rings, History of Middle-earth and fairytales
- In-depth overview of both volumes of 'The History of The Hobbit'
- Audio interview with John D. Rateliff
Works by J. R. R. Tolkien Fiction1930s1940s1950s1960s Posthumous
fiction1970s1980s1990s2000sThe Children of Húrin (2007) · The History of The Hobbit (2007) · The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún (2009)
Academic1920s1930s1940sSir Orfeo (1944)1950sOfermod and Beorhtnoth's Death (1953) · Middle English "Losenger": Sketch of an etymological and semantic enquiry (1953)1960s Posthumous
J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth legendarium Published during his lifetime Posthumous publications Lists of articlesBy category · By name · Writings · Characters · Peoples · Individual Dwarves · Individual Elves · Individual Hobbits · Hobbit families · Individual Númenoreans · Individual Orcs · Kings of Arnor · Kings of Dale · Kings of Gondor · Rulers of Númenor · Kings of Rohan · Realms · Ages · Animals · Plants · Food and drink · Inns · Objects · Weapons and armour · Wars and battles · Rivers · Roads · Languages The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien Editions Characters Adaptations Related worksThe History of The Hobbit · The Lord of the Rings (The Fellowship of the Ring · The Two Towers · The Return of the King) · The Adventures of Tom Bombadil · The Silmarillion · Unfinished Tales · The History of Middle-earth (includes The History of The Lord of the Rings) · Bilbo's Last Song · The Children of Húrin
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