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The Annotated Hobbit: The Hobbit, or, There…

The Annotated Hobbit: The Hobbit, or, There and Back Again (1988)

by J. R. R. Tolkien (Author)

Other authors: Douglas A. Anderson (Editor)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Lord of the Rings (Prequel)

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Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
The Annotated Hobbit is a really great edition of the book for fans of Tolkien, or anyone studying Tolkien's work. It's full of useful annotations, including the references to Tolkien's sources and inspiration, and the history of corrections to the book (particularly the ones bringing it in line with the Lord of the Rings geography and canon). It also contains a lot of illustrations from different editions of the book, including Tolkien's own -- most in black and white, but with an insert in full colour. I didn't realise Tolkien originally did his own illustrations.

For a casual reader, though, it'd be more distracting than not. There's notes on practically every page, many of them lengthy -- you might have to turn two or three pages to find the relevant note, as they don't all fit in beside the text -- and they aren't all of interest to the casual reader. I wouldn't recommend it for a first-time reader of The Hobbit. For me, as a fan and as a scholar, though, it was really fascinating. I especially loved the notes on the language -- e.g. Tolkien's wordplay in the chapter with the spiders, fully intelligible only to people with an enormous knowledge of different languages, including ancient ones.

The story itself, well. For me it's an old favourite, warm and comforting, like eating Werther's Originals in a warm corner, inside, on a windy night. Even reading it for a class didn't get in the way of that. There's no way for me to be objective about it, and I won't try. ( )
  shanaqui | Apr 9, 2013 |
So yeah, I'm 36 years old, have read LoTR a couple of times, seen the movies a bunch, played lots of D&D, and somehow never got around to reading The Hobbit. I did see the movie once, at the library when I was a little kid, and I think one more time in the last decade or so.

It's a damn clever story; the locales are quite vivid, and I'm intrigued by the characters who weren't in LoTR. (Beorn in particular.)

I do wish I hadn't gotten the annotated version, though. Fascinating stuff, some of it, but also terribly distracting. And I'm still not so much for Tolkien's poetry.

All in all, I'm glad I finally got around to it. ( )
  epersonae | Mar 30, 2013 |
The Hobbit remains one of my favourite reads. I opted for rereading it after watching Jackson's adaptation rather than before and I'm thoroughly glad I did. Experiencing the two in that order made me more aware of the ways in which The Hobbit doesn't work for me far more than anything else has ever done, but at the same time it also made me more aware of why I love it so much in the first place. I do so love Bilbo as a character and the way he interacts with the dwarves. I love their adventures as a whole, and the way the episodic nature of the piece lends itself so nicely to pauses in your reading. Not that I cared much. I read it in two sittings and that largely because the annotations were new to me and I read nonfiction sloooooowly. It was a delight and a treat to return to this book. Though it's one of my favourite books, I haven't reread it in years.

As for this edition specifically... I actually didn't mind the layout all that much, but I suspect having read The Hobbit as often as I have helped. I wouldn't recommend it for a first read. The layout is, in my experience, quite unconventional. The annotations have the same font size as the text are the pages are divided equally between two columns. The annotations are in the outer column and the story is in the inner column. I adapted fairly quickly to the format, but it's not necessarily easy reading. ( )
  lynnoconnacht | Mar 21, 2013 |
I decided to reread this in preparation for the upcoming movie, and since I probably hadn't read it since childhood. It was exactly as fun and exciting as I remembered it, but there was a lot more to the story that I didn't pick up on as a kid. I was surprised at how much this is really a story about the growth of Bilbo. Tolkien makes it very satisfying to watch his transformation from a bungling tourist to a confident adventurer. It's a powerful moment when the dwarves (who are very experienced themselves) turn to Bilbo as their leader. This was definitely worth the time investment to revist as an adult. ( )
  rwjerome | Jul 2, 2012 |
The hobbit as a book is a classic and I feel beyond any reviews. So I am just reviewing this particular edition, 'The Annotated Hobbit' by Douglas Anderson, a Tolkein scholar. This edition is a must have for any enthusiast of the Tolkein's middle-earth world. However, I would not recommend this book to a casual reader or anyone who is reading hobbit for the first time. There is an overwhelming amount of information in this book provided as annotation throughout the book. It provides info. on the various revisions in the text over the years. One major example would be the Chapter 5,Riddles in the Dark, which underwent some major changes to bring the story in line with 'The LOTR'. So, the whole of the older version of Ch.5 is provided as annotated text. Other than that, Tolkein's inspirations, illustrations from some international editions, on the origin of some of the names of the characters and even their attire (for ex. Gandalf's image was originally from a post card with an old man's picture). Different versions of Tolkein's own illustrations and earliest version of the map of 'Desolation of Smaug' is also provided. All in all, excellent details for an enthusiast who will be able to appreciate the extra info. if he/she is reading the story for the 2nd or 3rd time. ( )
  SarathCP | Nov 22, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tolkien, J. R. R.Authorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Anderson, Douglas A.Editorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Overholtzer, RobertDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sullivan, MichaelaCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tolkien, J. R. R.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tolkien, J. R. R.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I cannot imagine a pleasanter old age than one spent in the not too remote country where I could reread and annotate my favorite books. - ANDRE MAUROIS
What we read with pleasure we read again with pleasure. - HORACE
I cannot imagine a pleasanter old age than one spent in the not too remote country where I could reread and annotate my favorite books. - ANDRE MAUROIS

What we read with pleasure we read again with pleasure. - HORACE
First words
In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.
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This is The Annotated Hobbit, which has additional material as well as the contents of the original book; they should not be combined.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0618134700, Hardcover)

For readers throughout the world, The Hobbit serves as an introduction to the enchanting world of Middle-earth, home of elves, wizards, dwarves, goblins, dragons, orcs and a host of other creatures depicted in The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion -- tales that sprang from the mind of the most beloved author of all time, J.R.R. Tolkien.
Newly expanded and completely redesigned, Douglas A. Anderson's The Annotated Hobbit is the definitive explication of the sources, characters, places, and things of J.R.R. Tolkien's timeless classic. Integrated with Anderson's notes and placed alongside the fully restored and corrected text of the original story are more than 150 illustrations showing visual interpretations of The Hobbit specific to many of the cultures that have come to know and love Tolkien's Middle-earth. Tolkien's original line drawings, maps and color paintings are also included, making this the most lavishly informative edition of The Hobbit available.
The Annotated Hobbit shows how Tolkien worked as a writer, what his influences and interests were, and how these relate to the invented world of Middle-earth. It gives a valuable overview of Tolkien's life and the publishing history of The Hobbit, and explains how every feature of The Hobbit fits within the rest of Tolkien's invented world. Here we learn how Gollum's character was revised to accommodate the true nature of the One Ring, and we can read the full text of The Quest of Erebor, Gandalf's explanation of how he came to send Bilbo Baggins on his journey with the dwarves. Anderson also makes meaningful and often surprising connections to our own world and literary history -- from Beowulf to The Marvellous Land of Snergs, from the Brothers Grimm to C. S. Lewis.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:04:24 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

J.R.R. Tolkien's beloved novel The hobbit has deep roots in European folklore, mythology, and language. As a reader's introduction to Tolkien's Middle-earth, it contains references to the ancient history of this imaginary world which, though rarely explained, contribute greatly to the effect of Tolkien's art. This revised and expanded edition of The annotated hobbit unobtrusively and authoritatively illuminates the novel's antecedents and curiosities. Douglas Anderson has also collected here wonderful illustrations from all over the world. The many new annotations in this edition reflect more than a decade's additional scholarship on the history and evolution of The hobbit, and the annotations and illustrations are newly integrated with the core text in a handsome reader-friendly format. This edition also reproduces the fully corrected text of The hobbit as J.R.R. Tolkien approved it before his death, in 1973. Anderson has compared every page from every major edition of The hobbit with Tolkien's own last checking copy in the restoration work for this definitive edition.… (more)

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