Thursday, April 5, 2012

Introduction to Tolkien

J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, or There and Back Again was first published in September of 1937 by George Allen & Unwin Ltd. of London. They started with 1,500 copies which were sold out by December of the same year. The American edition was released in 1938 by Houghton Mifflin. Since then, The Hobbit has been translated into over 40 languages and has been reprinted dozens of times.

Tolkien was working at Oxford when he first started The Hobbit. He was grading papers, came across a blank page, and wrote the opening sentence. He later finished the story for his children and a few close friends, but he was hesitant to publish it, supposedly because he was worried it would not be taken seriously and tarnish his scholarly career. He wrote The Hobbit in the early 1930’s and finally sent it to a publisher in 1936, after being continuously encouraged to do so by many friends, including C. S. Lewis (Adams, The Hobbit).