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Mr. Bliss

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The name Mr. Bliss refers to more than one character, item or concept. For a list of other meanings, see Mr. Bliss (disambiguation).
Mr. Bliss
AuthorJ.R.R. Tolkien
PublisherGeorge Allen and Unwin (UK)
Houghton Mifflin (US)
Released20 September 1982 (UK)
January 1983 (US)

Mr. Bliss is a children's picture book by J.R.R. Tolkien, published posthumously in book form in 1982. One of Tolkien's least-known short works, it tells the story of Mr. Bliss and his first ride in his new motor-car. Many adventures follow: encounters with bears, angry neighbors, irate shopkeepers, and assorted collisions.


From the publisher




The story was inspired by Tolkien's own vehicular mishaps with his first auto, purchased in 1932. The bears were based on toy bears owned by Tolkien's sons. Tolkien was both author and illustrator of the book. His narrative binds the story and illustrations tightly together, as the text often comments directly on the pictures.

Mr. Bliss wasn't published during Tolkien's lifetime. He submitted it to his publishers as a balm to readers who were hungry for more from Tolkien after the success of The Hobbit. The lavish ink and colored pencil illustrations would have made production costs prohibitively expensive. Tolkien agreed to redraw the pictures in a simpler style, but then found he didn't have time to do it. The manuscript lay in a drawer until 1957, when he sold it (as well as the original manuscripts of The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and Farmer Giles of Ham) to Marquette University for 1,250 pounds.

The book was published in 1982, with Tolkien's difficult-to-read handwritten story and illustrations on one page, and a typeset transcription on the facing page.

Publication history



A group of Russian fans created an animated film of "Mr. Bliss" making use of the original drawings by Tolkien. The film was shown at both Tolkien Thing 2006 and Ring*Con 2006.

As part of Tolkien Reading Day 2017, The Tolkien Society hosted a live reading of Mr. Bliss by the storyteller Lucy Walters at The Story Museum.[1]

See also


  1. "Tolkien Reading Day 2017", The Tolkien Society (accessed 27 March 2017)