The History of The Hobbit
|The History of The Hobbit|
|Editor||John D. Rateliff|
Houghton Mifflin (US)
|Pages||480 (each volume)|
It contains Tolkien's unpublished drafts of the novel, with commentary by John D. Rateliff. It also details Tolkien's various revisions to The Hobbit, including abandoned revisions for the unpublished third edition of the work, intended for 1960, as well as previously unpublished original maps and illustrations drawn by Tolkien himself.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.
The first edition of The History of The Hobbit was released in two volumes:
- Part One: Mr. Baggins
- 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.
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.
On 24 March 2011, Rateliff announced that The History of The Hobbit will be reprinted, together with an Addendum, as a single-volume book. This "Revised edition" was released on 27 October. The Addendum includes:
- "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
- One-volume Edition
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.
- Official Errata of The History of the Hobbit
- Tom Shippey, Review of the book, Tolkien Studies. 5
- Interview with John D. Rateliff
- A Talk with John D. Rateliff
- The History of the Hobbit Book Information at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (accessed 18 April 2011)
- A Talk With John D. Rateliff at Monte's Journal (accessed 18 April 2011)
- THE HISTORY OF THE HOBBIT, second edition at Sacnoth's Scriptorium (accessed 18 April 2011)
- THE HISTORY OF THE HOBBIT, second edition at Sacnoth's Scriptorium (accessed 8 November 2011)