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The History of the Hobbit Hardcover – 27 Oct 2011


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 960 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Revised Updated edition edition (27 Oct. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007440820
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007440825
  • Product Dimensions: 14.9 x 6.3 x 22.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 103,431 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

John D. Rateliff 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.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By MR C J SPENCER on 31 Aug. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a book for the Tolkien fanatics - of which I am one. It is a piece of seriously academic work about the writing of The Hobbit - an insight into the mind of J R R Tolkien. If that is your thing, this is a great piece of work - but don't expect another exciting story.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a fascinating book. It pretty much goes without saying that you really should have read The Hobbit before reading this. I would add that you will probably get more out of it if you've also read The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion, but these are not essential as the author usually contextualises any references to those books.
The History of the Hobbit presents the earliest-surviving versions of manuscripts and typescripts of the story as originally written by JRR Tolkien. Each chapter of the story is accompanied by notes, and followed by essays on subjects arising from that chapter. The discussions draw on a wide range of sources to illuminate concepts and influences, with Ratecliff referencing correspondence, ancient Scandinavian mythology, philology, archaeology, European folklore, Radio interviews, and Tolkien's other writings of Middle Earth. This thorough analysis helps you understand the broad foundation that quietly and invisibly supports The Hobbit, and makes you reappraise the story, and certainly deepened my love for the tale and helped me really appreciate the achievement it represents.
Amongst the pleasures to be discovered in the first draft itself are the alternative names for some of the characters, different (and quite surprising) plot threads, and in particular, the original version of the Riddles in the Dark chapter which was changed by Tolkien for the second edition following the start of his work on the sequel.
At 900+ pages it's not for the casual reader, but if you have a passion for Tolkien's work, if you have an interest in the craft of writing, or if you want to be inspired, I highly recommend this.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mes on 10 Dec. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Perfect to discover or simply re-read The Hobbit. The books are beautiful, and the essay in 2 volumes is really interesting.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For any Tolkien fans out there who wants to know more about The Hobbit, this is an incomparable source of information! This is a truly beautiful edition!
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