THE HISTORY OF THE HOBBIT: Mr Baggins (12.09.06)

These days we can hear a lot of rumors about a possible "The Hobbit" movie. Whether the rumors are true or not, no-one can tell for sure. What I can tell is this, next year a wonderful book will be published, namely "The History of the Hobbit: Mr. Baggins" written by John D. Rateliff. This author moved to Wisconsin in 1981 in order to work with the Tolkien manuscripts at Marquette University. He has been active in Tolkien scholarship for many years, delivering papers on Tolkien and the Inklings. While at Marquette, he assisted in the collation of their holdings with those Christopher Tolkien was editing for his History of Middle-earth series. A professional editor, he lives in the Seattle area with his wife and three cats (only one of whom is named after a Tolkien character). Also here a lot of speculation was going on about the publication date. In a previous article, (31.05.06) New Tolkien books in 2006, I correctly guessed that the book would not be published in 2006. Today I can announce all info:

THE HISTORY OF THE HOBBIT: Mr Baggins   Publication Date: 08/05/2007 (UK)
Price: £20.00 (UK)
Binding: Hardback
Format: 222x143 mm
ISBN: 0-00-723555-0
Extent (approx.): 480 pages
Imprint: HarperCollins
Rights: OM
Division: HarperEntertainment



A major new examination of how J.R.R.Tolkien came to write hisoriginal masterpiece, including his complete unpublished draftversion of the story.


The History of the Hobbit presents for the first time, in two volumes, the complete unpublished text of the original manuscript of J.R.R.Tolkien’s The Hobbit, accompanied by John Rateliff's lively and informative account of how the book came to be written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.

The Hobbit was first published on 21 September 1937. Like its successor, The Lord of the Rings, it is a story that "grew in the telling", and many characters and story threads in the published text are completely different from what Tolkien first wrote to read aloud to his young sons as part of their "fireside reads".

As well as reproducing the original version of one of literature's most famous stories, both on its own merits and as the foundation for The Lord of the Rings, this new book includes many little-known illustrations and previously unpublished maps for The Hobbit by Tolkien himself, some of us have seen them on Tolkien exhibitions in the past. I wonder who will be most excited, those who never saw them before or those who have catched some glimpes already. Also featured are extensive annotations and commentaries on the date of composition, how Tolkien's professional and early mythological writings influenced the story, the imaginary geography he created, and how Tolkien came to revise the book years after publication to accommodate events in The Lord of the Rings. An item very much discussed on different boards and newsgroups, but now for the first time put in a serious study.

Like Christopher Tolkien’s The History of Middle-earth 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 celebrating 70 years inprint in 2007, 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.

Summary:

Includes the complete original unpublished manuscript version of The Hobbit
Features previously unpublished and rarely-seen maps and illustrations by Tolkien
Includes for the first time anywhere Tolkien’s attempt to write The Hobbit in the moreserious style of The Lord of the Rings
Book jacket features Tolkien’s unseen first attempt at designing his own book cover
Endorsed by Christopher Tolkien as an adjunct to the essential The History of Middle-earthseries
An essential resource book for the forthcoming movie adaptation of The Hobbit

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