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Tolkien, a scholar of Beowulf , counted the epic among his "most valued sources" for The Hobbit. Archived from the original on 9 May Recommend Documents. Grip, grab! To them, the world was alive with mythological beings Shadows of the Horde Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute.
One of the greatest influences on Tolkien was the 19th-century Arts and Crafts polymath William Morris. Tolkien wished to imitate Morris's prose and poetry romances,  following the general style and approach of the work. The Desolation of Smaug as portraying dragons as detrimental to landscape, has been noted as an explicit motif borrowed from Morris. Tolkien scholar Mark T. These include, among other things, a hidden runic message and a celestial alignment that direct the adventurers to the goals of their quests.
Tolkien's works show much influence from Norse mythology , reflecting his lifelong passion for those stories and his academic interest in Germanic philology. The latter tale may also have influenced the character of Beorn.
Themes from Old English literature , and specifically from Beowulf , shape the ancient world Bilbo stepped into. Tolkien, a scholar of Beowulf , counted the epic among his "most valued sources" for The Hobbit.
Other specific plot elements and features in The Hobbit that show similarities to Beowulf include the title thief , as Bilbo is called by Gollum and later by Smaug, and Smaug's personality, which leads to the destruction of Lake-town. Another influence from Old English sources is the appearance of named blades of renown, adorned in runes. In using his elf-blade Bilbo finally takes his first independent heroic action.
By his naming the blade " Sting " we see Bilbo's acceptance of the kinds of cultural and linguistic practices found in Beowulf , signifying his entrance into the ancient world in which he found himself. As Tolkien wrote, "The episode of the theft arose naturally and almost inevitably from the circumstances. It is difficult to think of any other way of conducting the story at this point. I fancy the author of Beowulf would say much the same. The name of the wizard Radagast is widely recognized to be taken from the name of the Slavic deity Rodegast.
The representation of the dwarves in The Hobbit was influenced by his own selective reading of medieval texts regarding the Jewish people and their history. Houghton Mifflin of Boston and New York reset type for an American edition, to be released early in , in which four of the illustrations would be colour plates.
Subsequent editions in English were published in , , and Numerous English-language editions of The Hobbit have been produced by several publishers.
In response Tolkien provided drafts for The Silmarillion , but the editors rejected them, believing that the public wanted "more about hobbits". In the first edition of The Hobbit , Gollum willingly bets his magic ring on the outcome of the riddle-game, and he and Bilbo part amicably. The encounter ends with Gollum's curse, "Thief! Thief, Thief, Baggins! We hates it, we hates it, we hates it forever!
Tolkien sent this revised version of the chapter "Riddles in the Dark" to Unwin as an example of the kinds of changes needed to bring the book into conformity with The Lord of the Rings , but he heard nothing back for years. When he was sent galley proofs of a new edition, Tolkien was surprised to find the sample text had been incorporated.
Tolkien began a new version in , attempting to adjust the tone of The Hobbit to its sequel. He abandoned the new revision at chapter three after he received criticism that it "just wasn't The Hobbit ", implying it had lost much of its light-hearted tone and quick pace. Tolkien took the opportunity to align the narrative even more closely to The Lord of the Rings and to cosmological developments from his still unpublished Quenta Silmarillion as it stood at that time.
However, because of its common denotation of a garden gnome , derived from the 16th-century Paracelsus , Tolkien abandoned the term. Since the author's death, two editions of The Hobbit have been published with commentary on the creation, emendation and development of the text. In The Annotated Hobbit , Douglas Anderson provides the text of the published book alongside commentary and illustrations. Later editions added the text of " The Quest of Erebor ". Anderson's commentary makes note of the sources Tolkien brought together in preparing the text, and chronicles the changes Tolkien made to the published editions.
The text is also accompanied by illustrations from foreign language editions, among them work by Tove Jansson.
Rateliff provides the full text of the earliest and intermediary drafts of the book, alongside commentary that shows relationships to Tolkien's scholarly and creative works, both contemporary and later. Rateliff provides the abandoned s retelling and previously unpublished illustrations by Tolkien. The book separates commentary from Tolkien's text, allowing the reader to read the original drafts as self-contained stories.
Tolkien's correspondence and publisher's records show that he was involved in the design and illustration of the entire book. All elements were the subject of considerable correspondence and fussing over by Tolkien. Rayner Unwin, in his publishing memoir, comments: I doubt any author today, however famous, would get such scrupulous attention.
Even the maps, of which Tolkien originally proposed five, were considered and debated. He wished Thror's Map to be tipped in that is, glued in after the book has been bound at first mention in the text, and with the moon letter Cirth on the reverse so they could be seen when held up to the light. Thus encouraged, Tolkien supplied a second batch of illustrations. The publisher accepted all of these as well, giving the first edition ten black-and-white illustrations plus the two endpaper maps.
The illustrated scenes were: The Hill: All but one of the illustrations were a full page, and one, the Mirkwood illustration, required a separate plate. Satisfied with his skills, the publishers asked Tolkien to design a dust jacket. This project, too, became the subject of many iterations and much correspondence, with Tolkien always writing disparagingly of his own ability to draw. The runic inscription around the edges of the illustration are a phonetic transliteration of English, giving the title of the book and details of the author and publisher.
His final design consisted of four colours. The publishers, mindful of the cost, removed the red from the sun to end up with only black, blue, and green ink on white stock.
The publisher's production staff designed a binding, but Tolkien objected to several elements. Through several iterations, the final design ended up as mostly the author's. The spine shows runes: The front and back covers were mirror images of each other, with an elongated dragon characteristic of Tolkien's style stamped along the lower edge, and with a sketch of the Misty Mountains stamped along the upper edge.
Once illustrations were approved for the book, Tolkien proposed colour plates as well. The publisher would not relent on this, so Tolkien pinned his hopes on the American edition to be published about six months later.
Houghton Mifflin rewarded these hopes with the replacement of the frontispiece The Hill: Hobbiton-across-the Water in colour and the addition of new colour plates: Different editions have been illustrated in diverse ways. Many follow the original scheme at least loosely, but many others are illustrated by other artists, especially the many translated editions. Some cheaper editions, particularly paperback, are not illustrated except with the maps.
Tolkien's use of runes, both as decorative devices and as magical signs within the story, has been cited as a major cause for the popularization of runes within " New Age " and esoteric literature,  stemming from Tolkien's popularity with the elements of counter-culture in the s. The Hobbit takes cues from narrative models of children's literature , as shown by its omniscient narrator and characters that young children can relate to, such as the small, food-obsessed, and morally ambiguous Bilbo.
The text emphasizes the relationship between time and narrative progress and it openly distinguishes "safe" from "dangerous" in its geography. Both are key elements of works intended for children,  as is the "home-away-home" or there and back again plot structure typical of the Bildungsroman.
Rowling 's Harry Potter series — Tolkien intended The Hobbit as a "fairy-story" and wrote it in a tone suited to addressing children  although he said later that the book was not specifically written for children but had rather been created out of his interest in mythology and legend.
Many fairy tale motifs, such as the repetition of similar events seen in the dwarves' arrival at Bilbo's and Beorn's homes, and folklore themes, such as trolls turning to stone, are to be found in the story. The book is popularly called and often marketed as a fantasy novel , but like Peter Pan and Wendy by J.
Barrie and The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald , both of which influenced Tolkien and contain fantasy elements, it is primarily identified as being children's literature.
Frank Baum and Lloyd Alexander alongside the works of Gene Wolfe and Jonathan Swift , which are more often considered adult literature. The Hobbit has been called "the most popular of all twentieth-century fantasies written for children".
Tolkien's prose is unpretentious and straightforward, taking as given the existence of his imaginary world and describing its details in a matter-of-fact way, while often introducing the new and fantastic in an almost casual manner.
This down-to-earth style, also found in later fantasy such as Richard Adams ' Watership Down and Peter Beagle 's The Last Unicorn , accepts readers into the fictional world , rather than cajoling or attempting to convince them of its reality.
The narrator, who occasionally interrupts the narrative flow with asides a device common to both children's and Anglo-Saxon literature ,  has his own linguistic style separate from those of the main characters.
The basic form of the story is that of a quest ,  told in episodes. For the most part of the book, each chapter introduces a different denizen of the Wilderland, some helpful and friendly towards the protagonists, and others threatening or dangerous. However the general tone is kept light-hearted, being interspersed with songs and humour.
One example of the use of song to maintain tone is when Thorin and Company are kidnapped by goblins, who, when marching them into the underworld, sing:.
Grip, grab! Pinch, nab! This onomatopoeic singing undercuts the dangerous scene with a sense of humour. Tolkien achieves balance of humour and danger through other means as well, as seen in the foolishness and Cockney dialect of the trolls and in the drunkenness of the elven captors. The evolution and maturation of the protagonist, Bilbo Baggins, is central to the story. This journey of maturation, where Bilbo gains a clear sense of identity and confidence in the outside world, may be seen as a Bildungsroman rather than a traditional quest.
The overcoming of greed and selfishness has been seen as the central moral of the story. Bilbo steals the Arkenstone—a most ancient relic of the dwarves—and attempts to ransom it to Thorin for peace. However, Thorin turns on the Hobbit as a traitor, disregarding all the promises and "at your services" he had previously bestowed.
Tolkien also explores the motif of jewels that inspire intense greed that corrupts those who covet them in the Silmarillion , and there are connections between the words "Arkenstone" and " Silmaril " in Tolkien's invented etymologies.
The Hobbit employs themes of animism. An important concept in anthropology and child development , animism is the idea that all things—including inanimate objects and natural events, such as storms or purses, as well as living things like animals and plants—possess human-like intelligence.
John D. Rateliff calls this the " Doctor Dolittle Theme" in The History of the Hobbit , and cites the multitude of talking animals as indicative of this theme. These talking creatures include ravens, a thrush, spiders and the dragon Smaug, alongside the anthropomorphic goblins and elves. Patrick Curry notes that animism is also found in Tolkien's other works, and mentions the "roots of mountains" and "feet of trees" in The Hobbit as a linguistic shifting in level from the inanimate to animate.
The first men to talk of 'trees and stars' saw things very differently. To them, the world was alive with mythological beings To them the whole of creation was 'myth-woven and elf-patterned'. As in plot and setting, Tolkien brings his literary theories to bear in forming characters and their interactions.
He portrays Bilbo as a modern anachronism exploring an essentially antique world. Bilbo is able to negotiate and interact within this antique world because language and tradition make connections between the two worlds. For example, Gollum's riddles are taken from old historical sources, while those of Bilbo come from modern nursery books. It is the form of the riddle game, familiar to both, which allows Gollum and Bilbo to engage each other, rather than the content of the riddles themselves.
This idea of a superficial contrast between characters' individual linguistic style, tone and sphere of interest, leading to an understanding of the deeper unity between the ancient and modern, is a recurring theme in The Hobbit.
Smaug is the main antagonist. In many ways the Smaug episode reflects and references the dragon of Beowulf , and Tolkien uses the episode to put into practice some of the ground-breaking literary theories he had developed about the Old English poem in its portrayal of the dragon as having bestial intelligence. Just as Tolkien's literary theories have been seen to influence the tale, so have Tolkien's experiences.
The Hobbit may be read as Tolkien's parable of World War I with the hero being plucked from his rural home and thrown into a far-off war where traditional types of heroism are shown to be futile. As Janet Croft notes, Tolkien's literary reaction to war at this time differed from most post-war writers by eschewing irony as a method for distancing events and instead using mythology to mediate his experiences.
Well, it seems a very gloomy business. Lewis, friend of Tolkien and later author of The Chronicles of Narnia between and , writing in The Times reports:. The truth is that in this book a number of good things, never before united, have come together: The professor has the air of inventing nothing. He has studied trolls and dragons at first hand and describes them with that fidelity that is worth oceans of glib "originality. Lewis compares the book to Alice in Wonderland in that both children and adults may find different things to enjoy in it, and places it alongside Flatland , Phantastes , and The Wind in the Willows.
Auden , in his review of the sequel The Fellowship of the Ring calls The Hobbit "one of the best children's stories of this century".
The Hobbit was nominated for the Carnegie Medal and awarded a prize from the New York Herald Tribune for best juvenile fiction of the year Publication of the sequel The Lord of the Rings altered many critics' reception of the work.
Instead of approaching The Hobbit as a children's book in its own right, critics such as Randell Helms picked up on the idea of The Hobbit as being a "prelude", relegating the story to a dry-run for the later work. Countering a presentist interpretation are those who say this approach misses out on much of the original's value as a children's book and as a work of high fantasy in its own right, and that it disregards the book's influence on these genres.
Rateliff  and C.
Sullivan  encourage readers to treat the works separately, both because The Hobbit was conceived, published, and received independently of the later work, and to avoid dashing readers' expectations of tone and style.
While The Hobbit has been adapted and elaborated upon in many ways, its sequel The Lord of the Rings is often claimed to be its greatest legacy. The plots share the same basic structure progressing in the same sequence: The Lord of the Rings contains several more supporting scenes, and has a more sophisticated plot structure, following the paths of multiple characters. Tolkien wrote the later story in much less humorous tones and infused it with more complex moral and philosophical themes.
The differences between the two stories can cause difficulties when readers, expecting them to be similar, find that they are not.
Further, Tolkien's concept of Middle-earth was to continually change and slowly evolve throughout his life and writings. The style and themes of the book have been seen to help stretch young readers' literacy skills, preparing them to approach the works of Dickens and Shakespeare. By contrast, offering advanced younger readers modern teenage-oriented fiction may not exercise their reading skills, while the material may contain themes more suited to adolescents.
Several teaching guides and books of study notes have been published to help teachers and students gain the most from the book. The Hobbit introduces literary concepts, notably allegory , to young readers, as the work has been seen to have allegorical aspects reflecting the life and times of the author.
Another approach to critique taken in the classroom has been to propose the insignificance of female characters in the story as sexist. While Bilbo may be seen as a literary symbol of small folk of any gender,  a gender-conscious approach can help students establish notions of a "socially symbolic text" where meaning is generated by tendentious readings of a given work. The first authorized adaptation of The Hobbit appeared in March , a stage production by St.
Margaret's School, Edinburgh. The first motion picture adaptation of The Hobbit , a minute film of cartoon stills, was commissioned from Gene Deitch by William L. Snyder in , as related by Deitch himself. Since then all "authorized" adaptations have been signed-off by Tolkien Enterprises.
The series was released on audio cassette in and on CD in The adaptation has been called "execrable"  and confusing for those not already familiar with the plot. A children's opera was written and premiered in Composer and librettist Dean Burry was commissioned by the Canadian Children's Opera Chorus , who produced the premiere in Toronto, Ontario, and subsequently toured it to the Maritime provinces the same year.
In Decembers of ,  ,  and ,  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and New Line Cinema released one part each of a three-part live-action film version produced and directed by Peter Jackson. The titles were The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey , The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug , and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.
In a one-volume edition was released by Unwin Paperbacks. The cover was artwork by the original illustrator David Wenzel. A reprint collected in one volume was released by Del Rey Books in In , The Hobbit: ME Games Ltd formerly Middle-earth Play-by-Mail , which has won several Origins Awards , uses the Battle of Five Armies as an introductory scenario to the full game and includes characters and armies from the book.
Several computer and video games, both licensed and unlicensed, have been based on the story. One of the most successful was The Hobbit , an award-winning computer game published in by Beam Software and published by Melbourne House with compatibility for most computers available at the time. A copy of the novel was included in each game package. While reliable figures are difficult to obtain, estimated global sales of The Hobbit run between 35  and  million copies since In the UK The Hobbit has not retreated from the top 5, books of Nielsen BookScan since , when the index began, achieving a three-year sales peak rising from 33, to , , , and 61, , ranking it at the 3rd position in Nielsens' "Evergreen" book list.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Fantasy novel by J. This article is about the novel. For the — film series, see The Hobbit film series.
For other uses, see The Hobbit disambiguation. For other uses, see There and Back Again disambiguation. High fantasy Juvenile fantasy. Main article: List of The Hobbit characters. Further information: Hobbit word. See also: English-language editions of The Hobbit. Adaptations of The Hobbit. Middle-earth portal. Red Riding Hood and the Wolf in Bed: Modernism's Fairy Tales.
University of Toronto Press. Tolkien's Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit. Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction Analysis. Beacham Publishers. At the beginning of The Hobbit Bilbo Baggins seems little more than a conservative but good-natured innocent. The Wizard and the Warrior: Leading with Passion and Power. But their chief role was to offer sage advice: Merlin as a tutor and counselor to King Arthur; Gandalf through stories and wisdom in his itinerant travels throughout the countryside.
Tolkien and the Silmarils 1st ed. Houghton Mifflin. As apt a description of Thorin Oakenshield as of the dwarf-lord of Nogrod; but yet when we see Thorin in person, Tolkien's Hobbit and Lord of the Rings.
Barron's Educational Series. In Bloom, Harold. Chelsea House. The Tolkienaeum: Essays on J. Tolkien and his Legendarium. In Chance, Jane. Tolkien and the Invention of Myth: A Reader. University Press of Kentucky. Sullivan In Hunt, Peter. International Companion Encyclopedia of Children's Literature. Clair , p. Further, the birds carry the good news of Smaug's fall over the countryside. In The Hobbit, they do not function as scavengers after battle as ravens usually do in medieval Norse and English works.
Author of the Century. Tolkien's impact on Heaney's Beowulf". Retrieved 3 December Tolkien the Medievalist. Lord of the Elves and Eldils. Ignatius Press. Andrew; Whetter, K. Tolkien's Middle-earth". Edinburgh University Press. Free shipping. Call UK: Posters Gift Vouchers. Art Photo Upload photo Photographs. By genre By type. Gift Vouchers. Add to basket. The Hobbit 3: Decorate your life!
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