The History of The Hobbit

From Tolkien Gateway
The History of The Hobbit
Publication Information
AuthorJ.R.R. Tolkien
EditorJohn D. Rateliff
IllustratorJ.R.R. Tolkien
PublisherHarperCollins (UK)
Houghton Mifflin (US)
Releasedvol.1: 1 May 2007
vol.2: 18 June 2007
Pages480 (each volume)

The History of The Hobbit is a two-volume study of J.R.R. Tolkien's novel The Hobbit, published in 2007.

It contains Tolkien's unpublished drafts of the novel, with commentary by John D. Rateliff. It also details Tolkien's various revisions to The Hobbit, including abandoned revisions for the unpublished third edition of the work, intended for 1960, as well as previously unpublished original maps and illustrations drawn by Tolkien himself.

An abbreviated version was published by HarperCollins in 2015 as A Brief History of The Hobbit. This version retains Tolkien's text and the textual notes provided by Rateliff but omits his essays on various aspects of the texts.

First edition

The first edition of The History of The Hobbit was released in two volumes:

  1. Part One: Mr. Baggins
  2. Part Two: Return to Bag-End

First in May and June of 2007 in the U.K. by HarperCollins, then in September in the U.S. by Houghton Mifflin, which also released it as a boxed set in October. The Houghton Mifflin boxed set also includes a new edition of The Hobbit with a short introduction by Christopher Tolkien, a reset text incorporating the most up-to-date corrections, and all of Tolkien's own drawings and color illustrations, including the rare "Mirkwood" piece.[1]

In an interview conducted before the publication, Rateliff described the undertaking in the following way:

The big project, which I've been working on for years and will finally be sending to the publisher near the end of this year, is a book called The History of The Hobbit. It's rather along the lines of Christopher Tolkien's editions that make up the History of Middle-Earth series (which I highly recommend if you haven't read them): an edition of the original manuscript of The Hobbit with extensive commentary on how Mr. Baggins' story fits into Tolkien's legendarium. It's a big book filled with the entire text of Tolkien's first draft, along with short essays about everything from rings of invisibility or Tolkien's spiders to a detailed account of just when Tolkien wrote the book (which can actually be reconstructed from available evidence to within a month or two on either end). I hope people will like it when it finally sees the light of day.[2]

Revised one-volume edition

On 24 March 2011, Rateliff announced that The History of The Hobbit will be reprinted, together with an Addendum, as a single-volume book.[3] This "Revised edition" was released on 27 October. The Addendum includes:[4]

  • "Timeline of Events"— a timeline of fifteen days following Durin's Day
  • "Notes on a Parley"— a detailed description of the Front Gate
  • "Responses to Queries"— some proofreader's concerns addressed by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • "Personae"— an interesting listing of Thorin and Company
  • "Runic Charts"— details on using dwarven runes
  • "Feanorian Letters"— details on writing in Tengwar, including punctuation and numbers

Publication history and gallery

First edition
2007 hardcover vol.1
2007 hardcover vol.1  
2007 hardcover vol.2
2007 hardcover vol.2  
2008 paperback vol.1
2008 paperback vol.1  
2008 paperback vol.2
2008 paperback vol.2  
Revised one-volume edition
2011 hardcover
2011 hardcover  
2023 hardcover
2023 hardcover  
2023 hardcover deluxe edition
2023 hardcover deluxe edition  

See also

External links


A J.R.R. Tolkien book guide
Books by or mainly by Tolkien
On Arda Authored by
J.R.R. Tolkien
The Hobbit · The Lord of the Rings
(i.The Fellowship of the Ring · ii.The Two Towers · iii.The Return of the King) ·
The Adventures of Tom Bombadil · The Road Goes Ever On · Bilbo's Last Song
Edited by Christopher Tolkien The Silmarillion · Unfinished Tales · The History of Middle-earth series
(i.The Book of Lost Tales: Part One · ii.The Book of Lost Tales: Part Two · iii.The Lays of Beleriand · iv.The Shaping of Middle-earth · v.The Lost Road and Other Writings · vi.The Return of the Shadow · vii.The Treason of Isengard · viii.The War of the Ring · ix.Sauron Defeated · x.Morgoth's Ring · xi.The War of the Jewels · xii.The Peoples of Middle-earth · Index) ·
The Children of Húrin · Beren and Lúthien · The Fall of Gondolin
Edited by others The Annotated Hobbit · The History of The Hobbit · The Nature of Middle-earth · The Fall of Númenor
Not on Arda Short stories
and others
Leaf by Niggle · Farmer Giles of Ham · Smith of Wootton Major · Letters from Father Christmas ·
Mr. Bliss · Roverandom · Tree and Leaf (compilation) · Tales from the Perilous Realm (compilation)
Fictional works The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún · The Fall of Arthur · The Story of Kullervo · The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun
Translations and academic works Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, and Sir Orfeo · The Old English Exodus · Finn and Hengest ·
The Monsters and the Critics, and Other Essays · Beowulf and the Critics · Tolkien On Fairy-stories ·
Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary · A Secret Vice · The Battle of Maldon
Letters & poems The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien · The Collected Poems of J.R.R. Tolkien
academic works
A Middle English Vocabulary · Sir Gawain and the Green Knight · Ancrene Wisse
Books by other authors
Books on Arda The Complete Guide to Middle-earth · The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion ·
The Maps of Middle-earth
Tolkien biographies J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography · The Inklings · Tolkien and the Great War
Scholarly books The Road to Middle-earth · The Keys of Middle-earth · The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide ·
The Ring of Words · A Companion to J.R.R. Tolkien · Tolkien's Lost Chaucer · Tolkien's Library · Tolkien on Chaucer, 1913-1959
Scholarly journals Tolkien Studies · (The Chronology)
Other works by Tolkien
Linguistic journals Vinyar Tengwar various issues · Parma Eldalamberon issue 11-22
Collections of artwork
and manuscripts
Pictures by J.R.R. Tolkien · J.R.R. Tolkien: Life and Legend · J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator ·
The Art of The Hobbit · The Art of The Lord of the Rings · Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth ·
Tolkien: Treasures · J.R.R. Tolkien: The Art of the Manuscript
This list is only a selection, for a fuller bibliography of Tolkien see here or here. See also a timeline and an index.