September 23, 2008

The Hobbit

Two dates this week for JRR Tolkien fans. On September 22, 1921, Tolkien began to recount the stories of Bilbo and Froddo Baggins, hobbits of Middle Earth. And on the 21st, 1937, The Hobbit was published (see the link for the special 70th anniversary edition).

Professor of Anglo-Saxon and medieval literature at Oxford, Tolkien was grading papers, and he turned one of those papers over and wrote, "In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit", not knowing what a hobbit was or what that meant. He started with drawing a map of the sort of world a hobbit might live in.

With 'a little help from his friends' like CS Lewis, Sayers, Williams - the Inklings - Tolkien was encouraged to write and finish the story. Which of course carried on into The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

I'm posting the cover of the 70th anniversary edition because the picture is one Tolkien drew himself. How do I know this? I have his Father Christmas book that is full of all his pictures in letters he wrote to his children over the years, which includes cute postage stamps he drew too.

"Never laugh at live dragons."
JRR Tolkien 1892-1973
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