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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Two new Hobbit books out today

     Each year produces a crop of new Tolkien-related books. Already having a decent collection of "Tolkien Studies" (the entire History of Middle-Earth series by Chris Tolkien; books by Tom Shippey, Douglas Anderson, Wayne Hammond & Christina Scull, John Rateliff and Charles Kane), I've grown selective about new acquisitions. But two books released today look promising. Both tie in with next year's 75th anniversary of the original publication of The Hobbit. They are currently only available in the UK but hopefully they will be released in the U.S.

- The Art of the Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, edited by Wayne Hammond & Christina Scull

     This is an book of art by Tolkien, like Hammond and Scull's earlier (and awesome) Artist and Illustrator. This one focuses solely on the art for the The Hobbit, containing "the complete collection of more than 100 Hobbit sketches, drawings, paintings and maps by J.R.R. Tolkien ... Some of these images are now published for the first time, and others for the first time in colour". And with a nice slipcover! (see picture above).

-The History of the Hobbit (One-Volume Edition) by J.R.R. Tolkien and John D. Rateliff

     This book combines the two volumes of the History of the Hobbit published in 2007 (Mr. Baggins and Return to Bag-End), with corrections and new additions. I have the originals and love to pick one up before bed and read one of the short essays by Rateliff on various Tolkien themes. In a recent long interview at, Rateliff said the following about the new edition:

 "...I spent this summer preparing the new edition that’ll be out soon (sometime later this month, I think). I’d prepared a new appendix (Appendix V: The Author’s Copies List) and what I call the Addendum several years back, but they needed a lot of work to see them through the press. Esp. the latter, which represents a few pages of new material by Tolkien, mainly dating from circa 1965-66 (found by Christopher Tolkien in one of his father’s copies of The Hobbit, but too late for me to include in the original printing).

This is a ‘new edition’ in that it adds some new material at the end and fixes errors where I’m aware of them. But it’s not a complete re-write: we weren’t able to re-typeset the whole, so I couldn’t add as much new material as I would have otherwise. For example, information I’d put up on my blog re. a Sixth and Seventh ring of invisibility that could have been among Tolkien’s sources for Bilbo’s ring is referenced in a daggered note referring people to the blog entry, since we weren’t able to squeeze whole new paragraphs into that chapter. A long piece on trolls turning to stone in Grettir’s Saga (which I owe to Marjorie Burns) and in a piece by Helen Buckhurst (which I owe to Doug Anderson) appears in abbreviated form. I’d also have liked to add more acknowledgments than there was room for, to thank all those who sent in errata by name. I was able to add about a page regarding a still-earlier form of Denham’s list. And the whole benefits from Charles Noad’s scrupulous proofing."

1 comment:

  1. I hadn't heard about The History of the Hobbit text--looks awesome! Thanks for the review.