The Hobbit


The Hobbit

] the narrative voice contributes significantly to the success of the novel, and the story is, therefore, often read aloud. [cite web |url=http://www.cliffsnotes.com/WileyCDA/LitNote/The-Hobbit-Critical-Essays-Major-Themes.id-171,pageNum-68.html |title=The Hobbit Major Themes |accessdate=2008-07-09 |work=Cliff Notes The Hobbit |publisher=Cliff Notes |date= ] Emer O'Sullivan, in her "Comparative Children's Literature", notes "The Hobbit" as one of a handful of children's books that is accepted into mainstream literature, alongside Jostein Gaarder's "Sophie's World" (1991) and J. K. Rowlings "Harry Potter" series (1997–2007). [cite book |title=Comparative Children's Literature |last=O'Sullivan |first=Emer |authorlink= |coauthors= |year=2005 |publisher=Routledge |location= |isbn=0415305519 |pages=20 ]

Tolkien intended "The Hobbit" as a fairy story and wrote it in a tone suited to addressing children. [harvnb|Carpenter|1981|pp=159] Many of the initial reviews refer to the work as a fairy story. However, Bilbo Baggins is not the usual fairy tale protagonist – not the handsome eldest son or beautiful youngest daughter – but a plump, middle-aged, well-to-do Hobbit.cite book |title=The Oxford Companion to Fairy Tales |last=Zipes |first=Jack |authorlink= |coauthors= |year= |publisher=Oxford University Press |location= |isbn= 0198601158 |pages=525 ] The work is much longer than Tolkien's ideal proposed in his essay "On Fairy Stories". Many fairy tale motifs, such as the repetition of similar events seen in the dwarves' arrival at Bilbo's and Beorn's homes, and folklore themes, such as trolls turning to stone, are to be found in the story.cite web |url=http://shelf1.library.cmu.edu/books/gloriana/ |title=Tolkien's Cauldron: Northern Literature and The Lord of the Rings |accessdate=2008-07-09 |author=St.clair, Gloriana |publisher=Carnagie Mellon ] "The Hobbit" conforms to Vladimir Propp's 31-motif model of folktales presented in his 1928 work "Morphology of the Folk Tale", based on a structuralist analysis of Russian folklore. [cite book |title=The Limitations of Scientific Truth |last=Brush |first=Nigel |year=2005 |publisher=Kregel Publications |location= |isbn=0825422531 |pages=108 | url=http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=baZPTTwk3woC&printsec=frontcover ]

The book is popularly called (and often marketed as) a fantasy novel, but like "Peter Pan and Wendy" by J. M. Barrie and "The Princess and the Goblin" by George MacDonald, both of which influenced Tolkien and contain fantasy elements, it is primarily identified as being children's literature. The two genres are not mutually exclusive, so some definitions of high fantasy include works for children by authors such as L. Frank Baum and Lloyd Alexander alongside the works of Gene Wolfe and Johnathan Swift, which are more often considered adult literature. Sullivan credits the first publication of "The Hobbit" as an important step in the development of high fantasy, and further credits the 1960s paperback debuts of "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings" as essential to the creation of a mass market for fiction of this kind as well the fantasy genre's current status.

Style

Tolkien's prose is unpretentious and straightforward, taking as given the existence of his imaginary world and describing its details in a matter-of-fact way, while often introducing the new and fantastic in an almost casual manner. This style, also found in later fantasy such as Richard Adams' "Watership Down" and Peter Beagle's "The Last Unicorn", accepts readers into the fictional world, rather than cajoling or attempting to convince them of its reality. [cite book |title=Other Worlds |last=Timmerman |first=John |year=1983 |publisher=Popular Press |isbn=087972241X |pages=52 ] While "The Hobbit" is written in a simple, friendly language, each of its characters has a unique voice. The narrator, who occasionally interrupts the narrative flow with asides (a device common to both children's and Anglo-Saxon literature), has his own linguistic style separate from those of the main characters. [cite book |title=Book Notes: "The Hobbit"|last=Pienciak |first=Anne |year=1986 |publisher=Barron's Educational Series |isbn=0812035232 |pages=36-39 ]

The basic form of the story is that of a quest, [cite book |last=Auden |first=W. H. |authorlink=W. H. Auden |coauthors= |editor= Rose A. Zimbardo and Neil D. Isaaca, |title=Understanding the Lord of the Rings: The Best of Tolkien Criticism |year=2004 |publisher= Houghton Mifflin |isbn=ISBN 0-618-42251-x |pages=31-51 |chapter=The Quest Hero ] told in episodes. For the most part of the book, each chapter introduces a different denizen of the Wilderland, some friendly towards the protagonists, and some threatening. While many of the encounters are dangerous or threatening, the general tone is light-hearted, and interspersed with songs. One example of the use of song to maintain tone is when Thorin and Company are kidnapped by goblins, who, when marching them into the underworld, sing:

cquote
Clap! Snap! the black crack!
Grip, grab! Pinch, nab!
And down down to Goblin-town
You go, my lad!

This onomatopœic singing undercuts the dangerous scene with a sense of humour. Tolkien achieves balance of humour and danger through other means as well, as seen in the foolishness and provincial speech of the trolls and in the drunkenness of the elven captors. The general form—that of a journey into strange lands, told in a light-hearted mood and interspersed with songs—may be following the model of "The Icelandic Journals" by Tolkien's literary idol William Morris. [ cite journal | last =Amison | first =Anne | year =2006 | month =7 | title =An unexpected Guest. influence of William Morris on J. R. R. Tolkien's works | journal =Mythlore | issue =98 | url =http://www.mythsoc.org ]

The novel draws on Tolkien's knowledge of historical languages and early European texts. The names of Gandalf and all but one of the thirteen dwarves were taken directly from the Old Norse poem "Voluspa" from the Elder Edda. [cite web | url=http://www.houghtonmifflinbooks.com/features/lordoftheringstrilogy/lessons/two/handouts.jsp | title=Tolkien's Middle-earth: Lesson Plans, Unit Two | publisher=Houghton Mifflin | accessdate=2007-09-29] Several of the author's illustrations (including the dwarven map, the frontispiece and the dust jacket) make use of Anglo-Saxon runes. The names of the dwarf-friendly ravens are also derived from the Old Norse for raven and rook, cite journal | last =Fisher | first =Jason | year =2008 | month =3 | title =The History of the Hobbit (review) | journal =Mythlore | issue =101/102 | url =http://www.mythsoc.org] but their characters are unlike the typical war-carrion from Norse and Anglo-Saxon literature. Tolkien, however, is not simply skimming historical sources for effect: linguistic styles, especially the relationship between the modern and ancient, has been seen to be one of the major themes explored by the story.

Major themes

The central character, Bilbo, is a modern anachronism exploring an essentially antique world. Bilbo is able to negotiate and interact within this antique world because language and tradition make connections between the two worlds. For example, Gollum's riddles are taken from old historical sources, while those of Bilbo come from modern nursery books. It is the form of the riddle game, familiar to both, which allows Gollum and Bilbo to understand each other, rather than the content of the riddles themselves. This idea of a superficial contrast between characters' individual linguistic style, tone and sphere of interest, leading to an understanding of the deeper unity between the ancient and modern, is a constant recurring theme throughout "The Hobbit".Shippey, Tom: "Tolkien: Author of the Century", HarperCollins, 2000, p.41]

"The Hobbit" can be seen as a creative exposition of Tolkien's theoretical and academic work. Themes found in early English literature, and specifically by the poem "Beowulf", have a heavy presence in defining the ancient world Bilbo stepped into. Tolkien is credited with being the first critic to expound on "Beowulf" as a literary work with value beyond merely historical, and his 1936 lecture "" is still required reading for students of Anglo-Saxon. The "Beowulf" poem contains several elements that Tolkien borrowed for "The Hobbit", including a monstrous, intelligent dragon and named blades of renown, adorned in runes. It is in the use of his elf-blade that we see Bilbo finally taking his first independent heroic action. By his naming the blade "Sting" we also see Bilbo's acceptance of the kinds of cultural and linguistic practices found in "Beowulf", signifying his entrance into the ancient world in which he found himself. [ cite journal | last = McDonald | first = R. Andrew | year = 2006 | month = 9 | title ="In the hilt is fame": resonances of medieval swords and sword-lore in J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings | journal = Mythlore| issue =96 | url=http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0OON/is_1-2_25/ai_n27059863 ] This progression culminates in Bilbo stealing a cup from the dragon's hoard, rousing him to wrath—an incident directly mirroring "Beowulf", and an action entirely determined by traditional narrative patterns. As Tolkien wrote, "...The episode of the theft arose naturally (and almost inevitably) from the circumstances. It is difficult to think of any other way of conducting the story at this point. I fancy the author of Beowulf would say much the same." [harvnb|Carpenter|1981|pp=31]

Another theme developed in "The Hobbit" is that of animism. An important concept in anthropology and child development, animism is the idea that all things—including inanimate objects and natural events, such as storms or purses, as well as living things like animals and plants—possess human-like intelligence. John D. Rateliff calls this the "Doctor Dolittle Theme" in "The History of the Hobbit", and cites the multitude of talking animals as indicative of this theme. These talking creatures include Smaug himself, alongside the anthropomorphic goblins and elves. Patrick Curry notes that animism is also found in Tolkien's other works, and mentions the "roots of mountains" and "feet of trees" in "The Hobbit" as a shift in level from the inanimate to animate. [ cite book | last = Curry | first = Patrick | year = 2004 |title =Defending Middle-earth: Tolkien: Myth and Modernity | publisher = Mariner Books | isbn=061847885X| page =98 |url=http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=mz2d3gYJpLkC&printsec=frontcover#PPA98,M1 ] Tolkien saw the idea of animism as closely linked to the emergence of human language and myth: "...The first men to talk of 'trees and stars' saw things very differently. To them, the world was alive with mythological beings... To them the whole of creation was "myth-woven and elf-patterned".' [cite book | title = The Inklings: C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, Charles Williams and Their Friends | last = Carpenter | first = Humphrey | year = 1979 | id = ISBN 0-395-27628-4 | pages = 43 ]

Just as Tolkien's literary theories have been seen to influence the tale, so have Tolkien's experiences. "The Hobbit" may be read as Tolkien's parable of World War I, where the hero is plucked from his rural home and thrown into a far-off war where traditional types of heroism are shown to be futile.cite web |url=http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/article1020455.ece |title= Review: Cover book: Tolkien and the Great War by John Garth |accessmonthday= 25 |accessdaymonth= 05 |accessyear=2008 |last= Carpenter |first= Humphrey |date= 23|year=2003 |month=11 |publisher=The Times Online] The tale as such explores the theme of heroism. As Jane Croft notes, Tolkien's literary reaction to war at this time differed from most post-war writers by eschewing irony as a method for distancing events and instead using mythology to mediate his experiences. cite journal | last =Croft | first =Janet Brennan | year =2003 | month =6 | title ="The young perish and the old linger, withering": J. R. R. Tolkien on World War II | journal =Mythlore | issue = 89 | url=http://www.thefreelibrary.com/%22The+young+perish+and+the+old+linger,+withering%22:+J.R.R.+Tolkien+on...-a0149176346] Similarities to the works of other writers who faced the Great War are seen in "The Hobbit", including portraying warfare as anti-pastoral: in "The Desolation of Smaug", both the area under the influence of Smaug before his demise and the setting for "The Battle of the Five Armies" later are described as barren, damaged landscapes. cite journal | last =Croft | first =Janet Brennan | year =2002 | month =9 | title =The Great War and Tolkien's Memory, an examination of World War I themes in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings | journal =Mythlore | issue = 84 | url=http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0OON/is_4_23/ai_99848426] "The Hobbit" makes a warning against repeating the tragedies of World War I, [cite book |last=Zipes |first=Jack David |title= When Dreams Came True: Classical Fairy Tales and Their Tradition|year= 1999 |month=8 |publisher= Routledge| pages=24|isbn=0415921503 | url=http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=AkTKEJyfYLIC&printsec=frontcover] and Tolkien's attitude as a veteran may well be summed up by Bilbo's comment:

The Jungian concept of individuation is reflected through the theme of growing maturity and capability, with the author contrasting Bilbo's personal growth against the arrested development of the dwarves. The theme of a character entering into enclosed spaces (such as the various hills, caves, dungeons) has a Freudian dimension, while the analogue of the "underworld" and the hero returning from it with a boon (such as the ring, or Elvish blades) that benefits his society is seen to fit the mythic archetypes regarding initiation and male coming-of-age as described by Joseph Campbell.cite book |last=Helms |first=Randel |title=Myth, Magic and Meaning in Tolkien's World|year= 1976 |publisher= Granada|pages=45-55|isbn=0415921503]

The overcoming of greed and selfishness has been seen as the central moral of the story. [cite book |last=Grenby |first=Matthew |title=Children's Literature |origyear=2008 |publisher=Edinburgh University Press |pages=162 |isbn=0748622748 | url=http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=t8jas5ZsTBoC&pg=PA162] Whilst greed is a recurring theme in the novel, with many of the episodes stemming from one or more of the characters' simple desire for food (be it trolls eating dwarves or dwarves eating Wood-elf fare) or a desire for beautiful objects, such as gold and jewels, [cite web |url=http://www.bookrags.com/notes/hob/TOP1.htm |title=The Hobbit Book Notes Summary: Topic Tracking - Greed |accessmonthday=25 |accessdaymonth=5 |accessyear=2008 |publisher=BookRags] it is only through the Arkenstone's influence upon Thorin that greed, and its attendant vices "coveting" and "malignancy" come fully to the fore in the story, and provides the moral crux of the tale. Bilbo steals this most ancient relic from the dwarves and attempts to use it to bargain with Thorin. However, Thorin turns on the Hobbit as a traitor, disregarding all the promises and "at your services" he had previously bestowed. [cite book |last=Clark |first=George |coauthors= Timmons, Daniel |title=J. R. R. Tolkien and His Literary Resonances: Views of Middle-earth |origyear=2000 |publisher=Greenwood Publishing Group |pages=85-86 |isbn=0313308454 | url=http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=ES0Hs75IVg0C&printsec=frontcover] However, Bilbo gives up the precious stone and most of his share of the treasure, in order to help those in greater need and keep peace. The motif of jewels that inspire intense greed which corrupts those that covet them is also explored in the "Silmarillion", and there are connections between the words "Arkenstone" and "Silmaril" in Tolkien's invented etymologies. [harvnb|Rateliff|2007|pp=603-609]

Reception

On first publication in October 1937, "The Hobbit" was met with almost unanimously favourable reviews from publications both in the UK and the USA, including "The Times", "Catholic World" and "The New York Post". C. S. Lewis, friend of Tolkien (and later author of "The Chronicles of Narnia" between 1949-1964), writing in "The Times" reports:cquote|The truth is that in this book a number of good things, never before united, have come together; a fund of humour, an understanding of children, and a happy fusion of the scholar's with the poet's grasp of mythology... The professor has the air of inventing nothing. He has studied trolls and dragons at first hand and describes them with that fidelity that is worth oceans of glib "originality" Lewis also compares the book to "Alice in Wonderland" in that both children and adults may find different things to enjoy in it, and places it alongside Flatland, Phantastes, and The Wind in the Willows. [harvnb|Anderson|2003|pp=18] W. H. Auden, in his review of the sequel The Fellowship of the Ring calls "The Hobbit" "one of the best children's stories of this century". [cite web |url=http://www.nytimes.com/books/01/02/11/specials/tolkien-fellowship.html |title= The Hero is a Hobbit |accessdate=2008-07-28 |last=Auden |first=W. H. |work= |publisher=New York Times |date=31/10/54 ] Auden was later to correspond with Tolkien, and they became friends. "The Hobbit" was nominated for the Carnegie Medal and awarded a prize from the "New York Herald Tribune" for best juvenile fiction of the year (1938). More recently, the book has been recognized as "Most Important 20th-Century Novel (for Older Readers)" in the "Children's Books of the Century" poll in "Books for Keeps".

Publication of the sequel "The Lord of the Rings" altered many critics' reception of the work. Instead of approaching "The Hobbit" as a children's book in its own right, critics such as Randell Helms picked up on the idea of "The Hobbit" as being a "prelude", relegating the story to a dry-run for the later work. Countering a presentist interpretation are those who say this approach misses out on much of the original's value as a children's book and as a work of high fantasy in its own right, and that it disregards the book's influence on these genres.cite book |title=International Companion Encyclopedia of Children's Literature |editor= Hunt, Peter |last=Sullivan |first=C. W. |coauthors= C. W. Sullivan |year=1996 |publisher= Taylor & Francis |isbn=0415088569 |pages= 309-310 |Chapter= High Fantasy ] Commentators such as Paul Kocher, [cite book |title= "Master of Middle-earth, the Achievement of J. R. R. Tolkien"|last= Kocher |first= Paul |year= 1974 |publisher=Penguin |pages= 22-23] John D. Rateliff [harvnb|Rateliff|2007|pp=xi] and C. W. Sullivan encourage readers to treat the works separately, both because "The Hobbit" was conceived, published, and received independently of the later work, and also in order to prevent the reader from having false expectations of tone and style dashed.

Legacy

While "The Hobbit" has been adapted and elaborated upon in many ways, its sequel "The Lord of the Rings" is often claimed to be its greatest legacy. The plots share the same basic structure progressing in the same sequence: the stories begin at Bag End, the home of Bilbo Baggins; Gandalf sends the protagonist into a quest eastward; Elrond offers a haven and advice; the adventurers escape dangerous creatures underground (Goblin Town/Moria); they engage another group of elves (The Elf King's realm/Lothlórien); they traverse a desolate region (Desolation of Smaug/the Dead Marshes); they fight a massive battle; a descendant of kings is restored to his ancestral throne (Bard/Aragorn); and the questing party returns home to find it in a deteriorated condition (having possessions auctioned off/the scouring of the Shire).cite book |title= "Master of Middle-earth, the Achievement of J. R. R. Tolkien"|last= Kocher |first= Paul |year= 1974 |publisher=Penguin |pages= 31-32]

"The Lord of the Rings" contains several more supporting scenes, and has a more sophisticated plot structure, following the paths of multiple characters. Tolkien wrote the later story in much less humorous tones and infused it with more complex moral and philosophical themes. The differences between the two stories can cause difficulties when readers, expecting them to be similar, find that they are not.cite book |title= "Master of Middle-earth, the Achievement of J. R. R. Tolkien"|last= Kocher |first= Paul |year= 1974 |publisher=Penguin |pages= 31-32] Some differences are in details; for example, goblins are more often referred to as Orcs in "The Lord of the Rings". Many of the thematic and stylistic differences arose because Tolkien wrote "The Hobbit" as a story for children, and "The Lord of the Rings" for the same audience, who had subsequently grown up since its publication. Further, Tolkien's concept of Middle-earth was to continually change and slowly evolve throughout his life and writings. [cite book |title= The History of Middle-earth: Vol 1 "The Book of Lost Tales 1"|last= Tolkien|first= Christopher |authorlink= |coauthors= |year=1983 |publisher=George Allen & Unwin |isbn=0048232386 |pages= 7]

"The Hobbit" in education

The style and themes of the book have been seen to help stretch precocious young readers' literacy skills, preparing them to approach the works of Dickens and Shakespeare. By contrast, offering readers modern teenage-oriented fiction may not exercise their advanced reading skills, while the material may contain themes more suited to adolescents. [cite web |url=http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/article846713.ece |title= What exactly is a children's book? |accessdate=2008-06-15 |last=Jones |first=Nicolette |date= 30/04/2004 |publisher=Times Online] As one of several books that has been recommended for 11–14 year old boys to encourage literacy in that demographic, "The Hobbit" is promoted as "the original and still the best fantasy ever written." [cite web |url=http://www.sla.org.uk/boys-into-books-ids.php?search=hobbit |title=The Hobbit|accessdate=2008-06-15 |work= Boys into Books (11-14) |publisher= Schools Library Association]

Several teaching guides and books of study notes have been published to help teachers and students gain the most from the book. "The Hobbit" introduces literary concepts, notably allegory, to young readers, as the work has been seen to have allegorical aspects reflecting the life and times of the author. Meanwhile the author himself rejected an allegorical reading of his work. [harvnb|Carpenter|1981|pp=131] This tension can help introduce readers to 'readerly' and 'writerly' interpretations, to tenets of New Criticism, and critical tools from Freudian analysis, such as sublimation, in approaching literary works. [cite web |url=http://www.yale.edu/ynhti/curriculum/units/1987/2/87.02.11.x.html |title=Glory Road: Epic Romance As An Allegory of 20th Century History; The World Through The Eyes Of J. R. R. Tolkien |accessdate=2008-06-15 |author=Elizabeth T. Lawrence |date=1987 |work= Epic, Romance and the American Dream 1987 Volume II |publisher=Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute]

Another approach to critique taken in the classroom has been to propose the insignificance of female characters in the story as sexist. While Bilbo may be seen as a literary symbol of 'small folk' of any gender, [cite book |title= Breaking the Magic Spell: Radical Theories of Folk and Fairy Tales|last= Zipes|first= Jack David |authorlink= |coauthors= |year= 1979|publisher= University Press of Kentucky|location= |isbn= 0813190304|pages= 173] a gender-conscious approach can help students establish notions of a "socially symbolic text" where meaning is generated by tendentious readings of a given text.cite book |title=Differently Literate: boys, Girls and the Schooling of Literacy |last=Millard |first=Elaine|year=1997 |publisher=Routledge |isbn=0750706619 |pages=164] Ironically, by this interpretation, the first authorized adaptation was a stage production in a girls' school.

Adaptations

"see also|Adaptations of The Hobbit"

In 1969 (over 30 years after first publication), Tolkien sold the film and merchandising rights to "The Hobbit" to United Artists under an agreement stipulating a lump sum payment of £10,000 [cite news |first=Victoria |last=Lindrea |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=How Tolkien triumphed over the critics |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/3935561.stm |work= |publisher=BBC |date=29/07/04 |accessdate=2008-07-24 ] plus a 7.5% royalty after costs, payable to Allen & Unwin and the author. [cite news |first=John |last=Harlow |authorlink= |coauthors= |title= Hobbit movies meet dire foe in son of Tolkien
url=http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/film/article3999008.ece |work= The Times Online
publisher= The Times
date= 28/05/2008
accessdate=2008-07-24
] In 1976 (three years after the authors death) United Artists sold the rights to Saul Zaentz Company, who trade as Tolkien Enterprises. Since then all "authorised" adaptations have been signed-off by Tolkien Enterprises. In 1997 Tolkien Enterprises licensed the film rights to Miramax, which assigned them in 1998 to New Line Cinema. [cite news |first=Michael |last=Cieply |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=‘The Rings’ Prompts a Long Legal Mire |url=http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/16/movies/16ring.html |work=New York Times |publisher= |date=16/02/08 |accessdate=2008-07-24 ] The heirs of Tolkien, including his son Christopher Tolkien, filed suit against New Line Cinema in February 2008 seeking payment of profits and to be "entitled to cancel... all future rights of New Line... to produce, distribute, and/or exploit future films based upon the Trilogy and/or the Films... and/or... films based on "The Hobbit"." [cite web |url=http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/media/article3354936.ece |title=Tolkien's family threatens to block new Hobbit film |accessdate=2008-05-03 |date=2008-02-13 |author=Andrews, Amanda |publisher="Times Online"] [cite web |url=http://news.findlaw.com/nytimes/docs/ent/tlknnewline21108cmp.html|title=Tolkien Trust v. New Line Cinema Corp.|date=2008-02-11|publisher=FindLaw.com]

The first authorised adaptation of "The Hobbit" appeared in March 1953, a stage production by St. Margaret's School, Edinburgh. [harvnb|Anderson|2003|pp=384–6] "The Hobbit" has since been adapted for other media many times.

The BBC Radio 4 series "The Hobbit" radio drama was an adaptation by Michael Kilgarriff, broadcast in eight parts (four total hours) from September to November 1968. It starred Anthony Jackson as narrator, Paul Daneman as Bilbo and Heron Carvic as Gandalf. The series was released on audio cassette in 1988 and on CD in 1997.cite book |title=I Am in Fact a Hobbit: An Introduction to the Life and Works of J. R. R. Tolkien |last=Bramlett |first=Perry C. |coauthors= Joe R. Christopher |year=2003 |publisher= Mercer University Press |isbn=0865548943 |pages=239 ]

"The Hobbit", an animated version of the story produced by Rankin/Bass, debuted as a television movie in the United States in 1977. In 1978, Romeo Muller won a Peabody Award for his teleplay for "The Hobbit". The film was also nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, but lost to "". The adaptation has been called "excruciable" [harvnb|Anderson|2003|pp=23] and confusing for those not already familiar with the plot. [cite journal |last=Kask |first=T. J. |year= 1977 |month=12 |title=NBC's The Hobbit |journal= Dragon |volume=III |issue=6/7 |pages=23 ] A live-action film version is to be co-produced by MGM and New Line Cinema, produced by "Lord of the Rings" director Peter Jackson [cite news | title=Peter Jackson to produce "The Hobbit" | url=http://www.cnn.com/2007/SHOWBIZ/Movies/12/18/film.thehobbit.ap/index.html | publisher=CNN | accessdate=2007-12-18] and directed by "Pan's Labyrinth" director Guillermo Del Toro. [cite web | title = Del Toro to take charge of The Hobbit | publisher = guardian.co.uk | date = 2008-05-25 | url = http://film.guardian.co.uk/news/story/0,,2250245,00.html | accessdate=2008-05-25] A date of 2011 has been proposed for its release. It is to be shot simultaneously with another movie related to "The Lord of the Rings". Del Toro was quoted in 2006 as saying: "I don't like little guys and dragons, hairy feet, hobbits – I've never been into that ... I hate all that stuff." [cite web |url=http://www.salon.com/ent/audiofile/2006/10/12/conversations_toro/ |title=Conversations: Guillermo del Toro |accessdate=2008-05-03 |date=2006-10-12|publisher="Salon.com"] The director signed on to the project in 2008. [cite web |url=http://film.guardian.co.uk/news/story/0,,2250245,00.html |title=Del Toro to take charge of The Hobbit |accessdate=2008-07-09 |work= Film|publisher=guardian.co.uk |date= 2008-01-31] After taking the job, he was recorded by Weta as saying, "Rereading "The Hobbit" just recently I was quite moved by discovering, through Bilbo's eyes, the illusory nature of possession, the sins of hoarding and the banality of war – whether in the Western Front or at a Valley in Middle Earth. Lonely is the mountain indeed."cite web | title = Jackson and del Toro Talk The Hobbit! | publisher = ComingSoon.net / WetaNZ | date = 2008-05-25 | url = http://www.comingsoon.net/news/hobbitnews.php?id=45413 | accessdate=2008-05-25]

ME Games Ltd (formerly "Middle-earth Play-by-Mail"), which has won several Origin Awards, uses the "Battle of Five Armies" as an introductory scenario to the full game and includes characters and armies from the book. [cite web |url= http://middleearthgames.com/index.html|title= Home of Middle Earth Strategic Gaming|accessdate=2008-07-09 |publisher= ME Games Ltd.]

Several computer and video games, both licensed and unlicensed, have been based on the story. One of the most successful was "The Hobbit", an award-winning computer game developed in 1982 by Beam Software and published by |volume=1 |issue=72 |pages=22 |url=http://www.ysrnry.co.uk/articles/ystop100_3.htm |accessdate=2008-07-06]

Collectors' market

The enduring popularity of "The Hobbit" makes early printings of the book attractive collectors' items. The first printing of the first English-language edition can sell for between £6,000 and £20,000 at auction, [cite news |title= Hobbit fetches £6,000 at auction |url= http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/norfolk/4045667.stm|publisher= BBC News|date= 2004-11-26|accessdate=2008-07-05] [cite web |url= http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/main.jhtml?xml=/money/2007/11/20/cmbook20.xml|title= How to make a killing from first editions|accessdate=2008-07-05 |author= Toby Walne|publisher= Daily Telegraph|date=2007-11-21] although the price for a signed first edition has reached over £60,000.cite web |url= http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/7302101.stm |title=Tolkien's Hobbit fetches £60,000 |accessdate=2008-06-06|date=2008-03-18|publisher=bbc.co.uk ]

See also

* English-language editions of "The Hobbit"
* Early American editions of "The Hobbit"
* Translations of "The Hobbit"
* "The Quest of Erebor", Tolkien's retconned backstory for the novel published in "Unfinished Tales"

Notes

References

*cite book |title= The Annotated Hobbit|last= Anderson|first= Douglas A.|authorlink= Douglas A. Anderson|year= 2003|publisher= HarperCollins|location= London|isbn= 0-00-713726-3
*cite book | last=Hammond | first=Wayne | coauthors=Douglas A. Anderson | title=J. R. R. Tolkien: A Descriptive Bibliography | publisher=Oak Knoll Press | location=New Castle, Delaware | year=1993 | isbn=0-938768-42-5
*cite book |title= Tolkien: A Biography|last= Carpenter|first= Humphrey|authorlink= Humphrey Carpenter|year= 1977|publisher= Ballantine Books|location= New York|isbn= 0-04-928037-6
*cite book |title= The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien|last= Carpenter|first= Humphrey|year= 1981|publisher= Houghton Mifflin|location= Boston|isbn= 0-395-31555-7
*cite book |title= The History of the Hobbit|last= Rateliff|first= John D.|year= 2007|publisher= HarperCollins|location= London|isbn= 978-0-00-723555-1

External links

* [http://www.tolkien.co.uk/ The official Tolkien website.]
* [http://www.hobbit.ca/Library.html Collection of edition covers, 1937–2007]
* [http://www.tolkienbooks.net/html/the_hobbit.htm Every UK edition of "The Hobbit"]
* [http://tolkien.skwishmi.com/ Guide to U.S. editions of Tolkien books including "The Hobbit"]
* [http://www.tolkienlibrary.com/reviews/dutch-de_hobbit.htm Every Dutch edition of "The Hobbit"]
* [http://www.tolkienlibrary.com/translations/hobbits/index.htm "The Hobbit" covers around the globe – gallery]
* [http://literapedia.wikispaces.com/The+Hobbit Literapedia notes for "The Hobbit"]
*


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