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

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  45,919 ratings  ·  27 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 May 1st 2007)
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Mr. Baggins 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 pub
Jun 19, 2015 Steve added it
Shelves: bookreporter
Bilbo Baggins just wants to live his quiet, peaceful life in the Shire. And he's doing a mighty fine job of it until the great wizard, Bladorthin, shows up at his door with a gaggle of dwarves. Their leader, Gandalf, tells of the vicious dragon, Pryftan, who overtook their home. Bilbo joins up with them for a grand adventure. Ultimately he saves the day and along the way happens to discover a magical ring.

That is how the story originally took shape.

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
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
I can't stress to you how much I enjoyed this book! I will admit, it's a hard read. It's written so amazingly and really grabs you into the story and characters. It's very interesting with all of these characters and there stories to go along with them.

The beginning (where the dwarves come to Bilbo Baggins') home is a bit boring where I felt like it was being dragged on but the book just kept on going with new adventures. One of my favourites has to be when Bilbo Baggins first meets Golumn and t
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 vers ...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
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
Book Queen
I read this book in class. very old must of had some secretes to stay around this long though. this book wasn't really for me but is still a necessity for any book worm!
I couldn't actually finish the book. Too scholarly, with too many footnotes leaving it feeling rather disjointed. For someone more knowledgeable of Tolkien, it would likely have been a much more enjoyable & easy read. The information was interesting, but I feel the way it was presented was frustrating & conflicted with my own personal style of reading & what I was hoping for from the book.
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!
Peter Loiselle
It was kind of a slow read in the beginning. But once you got to the good stuff, it was very page-turning.
Owen Kniss
Loved it the book what very interesting and has lots of action and suspense!
Great not as exiting as the rest of the book
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.
Serena Tardioli
This is a book for the Tolkien fanatics - of which I am one. It is a piece of seriously academic work about the writing of The Hobbit - an insight into the mind of JRR Tolkien. If that is your thing, this is a great piece of work - but don't expect another exciting story.
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.
Dhiraj Bharude
Real interesting perspective on the famous novel
Apr 09, 2015 Monique marked it as to-read
amasing story, enriching
David Wernsing
Jan 11, 2008 David Wernsing marked it as to-read
Own it. Haven't read it.
Danica Castillo
Danica Castillo marked it as to-read
Oct 06, 2015
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  • Splintered Light: Logos and Language in Tolkien's World
  • The Road to Middle-Earth: How J.R.R. Tolkien Created A New Mythology
  • The Monsters and the Critics and other essays
  • A Gateway to Sindarin: A Grammar of an Elvish Language from JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings
  • J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator
  • Tolkien and the Great War: The Threshold of Middle-earth
  • The Journeys of Frodo
  • The Ring of Words: Tolkien and the Oxford English Dictionary
  • Master of Middle-Earth: The Fiction of J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Understanding The Lord of the Rings: The Best of Tolkien Criticism

Other Books in the Series

The History of the Hobbit (2 books)
  • The History of the Hobbit, Part Two: Return to Bag-End
The History of the Hobbit, Part Two: Return to Bag-End Song and Silence: A Guidebook to Bards and Rogues (Dungeon & Dragons d20 3.0 Fantasy Roleplaying) The History of the Hobbit (One-Volume Edition) 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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