Antoine's Reviews > The History of the Hobbit, Part Two: Return to Bag-End

The History of the Hobbit, Part Two by John D. Rateliff
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really liked it
bookshelves: tolkien, strictly-for-geeks, browsable

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, a trusted friend indicated (quite rightly) that although the revised chapters were quite good, the resultant novel would not be The Hobbit. As other readers have noted, this material is especially interesting to the long time fan, even if (on balance) I am glad that the novel was left largely unchanged. How interesting to find out, for instance that the Forsaken Innn, mentioned in the Weathertop chapters of LR, was formerly known as the "Last Inn" and was fairly newly abandoned at the time of Bilbo's journey, when Thorin & Co camped in its ruins a few days before meeting the Trolls. Or that the Trolls had pulled down the Last Bridge in a (largely unsuccessful) effort to waylay travelers... As I mentioned of part one, Ratelif is a more imaginative and detached critic than Christopher Tolkien, well suited to the somewhat complicated needs of the first published tale of Middle-Earth.
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Reading Progress

July 14, 2008 – Shelved
July 14, 2008 – Shelved as: tolkien
July 14, 2008 – Shelved as: strictly-for-geeks
July 14, 2008 – Shelved as: browsable
Started Reading
July 26, 2008 – Finished Reading

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