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The History of the Hobbit, Part Two: Return to Bag-End

(The History of the Hobbit #2)

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  1,649 ratings  ·  19 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, 448 pages
Published September 21st 2007 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published June 18th 2007)
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Haegr Wolfblade because it is an examination of the full text and universe, that and tolkien has been dead for many years

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 ·  1,649 ratings  ·  19 reviews

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Kam Yung Soh
Aug 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
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Rateliff also shows how Tolkien's interest in philology and his (then unpublished) mythology for M
Dan'l Danehy-oakes
Oct 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
For (roughly) the first half of this volume, Rateliff carries his presentation of Tolkien's manuscripts/typescripts (and notes, and mini-essays commenting on aspects of the manuscripts, and notes on the mini-essays...) to the conclusion of the story, beginning where Part 1 ended (at Lake-town).

Both here and in volume 1, there are interesting differences between the 'script and what eventually was published as the First Edition of _The Hobbit_: to take a simple example, the dwarf we k
May 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
As with the first volume, this doesn't have the personal touch of Christopher Tolkien's HOME series, but I still enjoyed it very much.

This volume included Tolkien's abortive attempt to update the Hobbit to conform to LOTR, both in tone and in the timeframes and landscapes, which ultimately was not possible without large scale changes to the Hobbit text. In my opinion, the chapters he did update were not improved by the changes, and I'm just as happy that he gave up.

One of
Dec 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Hobbit was a book about a hobbit going on an adventure with 14 dwarfs and one wizard to find much much gold. Before getting all of the gold they have to defeat the fire breathing dragon, Smaug. Smaug every once in a while goes and destroys the home of the humans when he is woken up. Many others that want the gold as well. Its the elfs, the humans the goblins and the eagles. It is now a big race / war to who gets all the gold to themselfes. ...more
Mar 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Awesome book.
Jun 19, 2015 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.

Nicholas Whyte[return][return]This isn't so much a second volume as a second half of Rateliff's book; the first numbered page is 469! So the two really need to be read as a single unit. Having recovered from this discovery, I still enjoyed the detail on Tolkien's construction of the original text of The Hobbit, the subsequent revisions to bring the Gollum episode and other elements better in line with The Lord of the Rings, and finally his abandonment of an attempt to rewrite the entire thing to get rid of some of the continuity ...more
Jul 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
This volume covers the last few chapters of the novel as first composed, and then deals with the rather complex post-publication history of the book: the happy accident through which the new version of "Riddles in the Dark" was inserted in the 1949 edition, as well as Tolkien's intensive, but abortive 1960 effort to rewrite the entire novel along the lines of Lord of the Rings, a change which would have not only altered the style, but substantially amplified the content of the earlier novel. However, ...more
Nov 26, 2016 rated it liked it
Like "The History of Middle-earth" series, this covers the development of the Hobbit, which with the Silmarillion provided one major impetus for Tolkien to write the Lord of the Rings. The major part of the book presents the initial completed version of the Hobbit, together with notes and analysis dealing with sources and major revisions. The quick summary is that we don't have much in the way of vastly different draft material for the story until the death of the Dragon. Rateliff's writing styl ...more
Aug 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
In the second volume of the The History of the Hobbit, we reach the conclusion to the story and from there, the post-publication changes Tolkien sought to make.

One of the most notable pieces of content this book offer is the exploration of published and unpublished revisions Tolkien considered after the completion of the sequel-that-grew. Notable content of this book is the exploration of the revisions (both published and unpublished) based on writing of The Lord of the Rings . This includes an effort to
Part two of the two-volume study of the writing of Tolkien's first published entry in the Middle-earth legendarium. The book follows the history of The Hobbit's inception, first drafts and incomplete fragments, plot notes and uncertainties, as well as exploring the relations between the story's elements and real prehistory, mythology and folklore, and Tolkien's own (then unpublished) ever-evolving body of work. Actually contained within these pages is a transcription of the first draft with note ...more
Tommy Grooms
Apr 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
[I’m writing a review of both volumes]
John Rateliff’s History of The Hobbit is an important contribution to the literary history of Tolkien’s legendarium, at home on the shelf alongside Christopher Tolkien’s 12-volume History Of Middle-earth series. The draft text itself is less insightful than the HOME material simply because The Hobbit in comparison to LOTR or the Silmarillion sprang into being almost fully formed, but Rateliff’s thorough scholarship of the background behind the story (h
Anne Gazzolo
Nov 03, 2016 rated it liked it
Part Two of the exhaustively detailed analysis of various drafts and possible sources and influences for The Hobbit. These two volumes are about 3 times as long as the tale itself! Only for very serious Tolkien buffs but definitely has some interesting things.
Dec 21, 2011 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lotr
Bought this volume as its PRR.100 price tag was a great bargain. Maybe I'll read it someday when I have picked up Volume I too.
Stephen Smith
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (1982)
Jun 25, 2010 rated it liked it
See The History of the Hobbit Part One: Mr Baggins.
Liesl de Swardt
Jul 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Excellent. Wonderful insight into the process of inventing Middle Earth
Jan 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
A pretty amazing look at the details, sources, and evolution of the Hobbit. You have to be very into the Hobbit to want to plow through all this detail. I happily am.
David Wernsing
Jan 11, 2008 marked it as to-read
Own it. Haven't read it.
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JOHN D. RATELIFFmoved 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 ...more

Other books in the series

The History of the Hobbit (2 books)
  • The History of the Hobbit, Part One: Mr. Baggins