The History of the Hobbit, Part One: Mr. Baggins
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The History of the Hobbit, Part One: Mr. Baggins (The History of the Hobbit #1)

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  4,729 ratings  ·  17 reviews
First published in 1938, The Hobbit is a story that “grew in the telling,” and many characters and events in the published book are completely different from what Tolkien first wrote to read aloud to his young sons as part of their “fireside reads.” For the first time, The History of the Hobbit reproduces the original version of one of literature’s most famous stories, and...more
Hardcover, 467 pages
Published September 21st 2007 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published 2007)
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Mr. Baggns is a scholarly book and one more suited to the die-hard Tolkien enthusiast than the casual reader. That's not to say that it's dry or boring; quite the reverse, in fact.

This is a book about a book, or more precisely a book about part of a book, as it covers about 2/3s of the action of The Hobbit. Rateliff has taken a number of fragments and drafts of The Hobbit and presents them to us with copious notes and commentaries. Although the main plot is essentially the same as Tolkien's publ...more
Somewhat disappointing, unfortunately, especially compared to Christopher Tolkien's "History of Middle Earth." Most of the comments by Rateliff (the author) concern guessing influences on Tolkien's imagination or nit-picking small textual changes. It was good to read some of Tolkien's ideas of where The Hobbit might have gone, but I've been getting the feeling lately that we're delving a bit too much into Tolkien's creative process. Don't get me wrong, I love the Histories of Middle Earth, but t...more
The History of the Hobbit is a series similar to Christopher Tolkien's History of Middle-Earth, with Rateliff providing early manuscripts of the story, plot notes and his own commentaries, allowing fans to see how The Hobbit: Or There and Back Again was formed. While a few names differ from the published version, the story isn't so dissimilar from the published version we're used to. Indeed, the biggest change is probably the meeting between Gollum and Bilbo, which was only changed to the versi...more
Kam-Yung Soh
If you're read ""The Hobbit"" and are interested in how the text for the story was developed, this is the book for you.

This book includes the initial manuscripts and revisions to the text done by Tolkien. Rateliff highlights the various changes; some small, some major and some that Tolkien appear to have added without initial planning to resolve plot points as they developed.

Rateliff also shows how Tolkien's interest in philology and his (then unpublished) mythology for Middle-Earth influenced t...more
Deeply fascinating and insightful this illuminating book is a must-read for all JRR Tolkien fans

Similarly to ‘The History of Middle Earth’ series (13 books in total) this book examines in detail ‘The Hobbit’ in regards to how this children’s story came into being and how it grew. First published on 21st September 1937, the Hobbit has become more than simply a ‘fireside story’ but something containing great meaning and value to many readers, both young and old. With the recent release of Peter J...more
May 25, 2008 Josh rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Great Tolkien fans
First it's best to assert that this book will only be of any interest to a hardcore Tolkienite, which I am. Quite an interesting read, the book in short tells you much of how Tolkien came to write The Hobbit. The thought processes Tolkien went through and how his earlier mythological writings came to be Middle Earth as we know it were good to read.

Stylistically, the author helpfully includes an annotated version of The Hobbit so you don't nessecarily have to re-read the book, although I did out...more
Nicholas Whyte[return][return]It is actually rather good - as well as following through the manuscript changes (of which the most unsettling is that Gandalf was originally the name of the dwarf leader we know as Thorin Oakenshield; the wizard of early drafts was Bladorthin), Rateliff has taken the time to chase down the history of various elements of the story of The Hobbit; he argues, for instance, that Tolkien's trolls appear to have been the first in literature who...more
This volume covers most of the novel in its earliest form, complete with different names for Thorin and Gandalf, no sinister overtones to the Ring in 'Riddles in the Dark,' and a rather elaborate Theseus/Labyrinth motif in the battle between Bilbo and the spiders.

One thing that Rateliff does very well is draw out the connections between The Hobbit and the Silmarillion as it existed in 1930. He shows convincingly how the 6000 year gap that is later inserted between the "Third Age" and the "Elder...more
Fantastic. Terribly dry, but if you love the Hobbit and you love history(as I do) you'll enjoy this. Must read for anyone who love's hobbit story!
A very competent piece of academia in the spirit of, but not quite as dense as, Christopher Tolkien's History of Middle Earth series. This captures the development of Tolkien's first published story based in Middle Earth from a bedtime story told to his children to ever-developing drafts, discussing dates and sources of inspiration as debated by Tolkien scholars as well as conflicting information given by Tolkien himself in letters and interviews. I highly recommend it for scholars of Tolkien's...more
I love the Hobbit and going back to the original manuscripts and seeing how JRRT approached the story, the writing process and the artistic development was really satisfying.
The more interested in The Hobbit you are the more you will enjoy this book. It points out details I would not have normally paid attention to and makes connections with other literature that Tolkien has written and some he hasn't. It also has the original draft of The Hobbit which is engaging.
Liesl Swardt
A must read for anyone interested in the works of Tolkien and wanting to gain a deeper understanding of where the characters and ideas come from.
Can these volumes get a little dry? Sure. But they're well worth a look if you're interested in The Hobbit or Tolkien. Lots of great information about the origins of story elements and about the various drafts/changes to the text.
Really good if you want background information and stuff on "The Hobbit". When does part two come out though???
Fantastic. Terribly dry, but if you love the Hobbit and you love history (as I do) you'll enjoy this.
Real interesting perspective on the famous novel
David Wernsing
Jan 11, 2008 David Wernsing marked it as to-read
Own it. Haven't read it.
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  • The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion
  • Splintered Light: Logos and Language in Tolkien's World
  • The Road to Middle-Earth: How J.R.R. Tolkien Created A New Mythology
  • Tolkien and the Great War: The Threshold of Middle-earth
  • A Gateway to Sindarin: A Grammar of an Elvish Language from JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings
  • The Monsters and the Critics and other essays
  • The Complete Tolkien Companion
  • The Maps of Tolkien's Middle-earth
  • Master of Middle-Earth: The Fiction of J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Journeys Of Frodo
  • The Ring of Words: Tolkien and the Oxford English Dictionary
  • Understanding The Lord of the Rings: The Best of Tolkien Criticism
  • The History Of Middle Earth Index
  • Meditations on Middle Earth: New Writing on the Worlds of J. R. R. Tolkien
Song and Silence: A Guidebook to Bards and Rogues (Dungeon & Dragons d20 3.0 Fantasy Roleplaying) The History of the Hobbit, Part Two: Return to Bag-End The History of the Hobbit The Standing Stone: An Adventure for 7th-Level Characters (Dungeons & Dragons Adventure) Return to the Keep on the Borderlands (AD&D Accessory)

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