From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The History of The Hobbit is a
two-volume study of J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. It was
published by HarperCollins in June and July 2007 in
the UK, with
both volumes released in the United States by Houghton Mifflin on September 21, 2007; a
boxed set combining The Hobbit with The History
of The Hobbit was released on October 26, 2007.
The two-volume work contains Tolkien’s previously unpublished
original drafts of the novel, accompanied by commentary written by
John D. Rateliff. It also
details Tolkien’s various revisions to The Hobbit,
including abandoned revisions for the unpublished third edition of
the work, intended for 1960, as well as previously unpublished
original maps and illustrations drawn by Tolkien himself.
The first volume is titled The History of The Hobbit:
Volume I: Mr. Baggins. This contains the first half of
Tolkien’s draft material for The Hobbit, along with
commentary. This volume was published in the UK May 4, 2007.
The second volume, entitled The History of The Hobbit:
Volume II: Return to Bag-End, contains the last half of
Tolkien’s original manuscript draft, with commentary, as well as
later drafts and appendices. This volume was published in the UK in
The History of Middle-earth
When Christopher Tolkien began
publishing The History of
Middle-earth, a twelve-volume series documenting J. R. R.
Tolkien’s creative writing process in the creation of Middle-earth, with
texts dating from the 1920s to the 1970s, he made a conscious
decision not to issue a volume detailing the creation of The
Hobbit. According to him, The Hobbit was not
originally a part of the Middle-earth universe and was attached to
his father's earlier, far darker legendarium only superficially,
although the existence of The Hobbit forever altered the
legendarium. The tone of The Hobbit is much lighter and
more appropriate to a children’s tale than that of J. R. R.
Tolkien’s other writings.
As Christopher Tolkien was not going to embark on a published
study of The Hobbit, the task was given to Taum Santoski
in the 1980s. Santoski had connections to the Marquette collection of Tolkien
material, which is where the original manuscripts reside. He died
in 1991, and ultimately the task passed to John Rateliff. Although
Christopher Tolkien did not work directly on The History
of The Hobbit, the work is in a very similar vein to the
"literary archaeology" of his History of Middle-earth.
Rateliff submitted a finished draft of the book to Christopher
Tolkien, who, approving of the work, gave The History of
The Hobbit his personal blessing to be published in association
with his father’s other works.