Mr. Baggins: 1 (History of the Hobbit) Hardcover – 21 Sep 2007
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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.--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Top customer reviews
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.
This book looks behind Tolkien's tale to explore those themes hidden within, as well as noting those changes that have occurred over the years to the original publication. Ratecliff looks at each chapter in turn and looks at why changes were made and how they reflect Tolkien's ever-growing concept of Middle-Earth. `Riddles in the dark' with Bilbo and Gollum has to be one of the most significant parts of the Hobbit, and so I enjoyed reading into this part very much and finding out more about the finding of the One Ring. The enchanting tale of Hobbits is brought vividly to life in this enlightening guide to Tolkien's spellbinding story, which delves into such detail and depth. Complete with full-color illustrations done by JRR Tolkien and photographs, this really is a beautiful book and something to treasure!
I value and rate this book very highly, due to its captivating content and exquisite cover and images inside. If you are looking for an assured, accurate read relating to J.R.R. Tolkien's `The Hobbit' then the history behind it makes for great reading.
"...The road goes ever on and on...
Down from the door where it began"
An adult response to a childhood story. Much welcomed. Now I am off to read the second half of Rateliff's academic work: Return To Bag End
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