He most certainly was. And '...a childrens's story which is enjoyed only by children is a bad children's story. The good ones last' ....is a great quote. I need to look more into C.S. Lewis outside of Narnia...
Thread: Who hasn't read The Hobbit?
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Wow, Geordie (I assume that's a ST:TNG reference?), you are amazing. It's great to have a really "experienced" long time fan on here to answer our questions! Thanks. So you met Stanley Unwin and Rob Inglis? Dang! I don't remember, did you also say you met JRR and/or Christopher too?
That's right, 6-9. Even more shocking. Thanks for explaining about grammar school and all that. I doubt many American educated 6 year olds could make it through an unabridged Hobbit. (You better believe I'm going to try with my kids if I ever have any!)
I went to a used book story last night and picked up some first edition books on Tolkien from the 60's. One of the books is "Understanding Tolkien and LotR" by William Ready from 69. He comments on the tonal shift I mentioned in TH, and that Geordie validated. One passage says "....never again after The Hobbit, save in little pieces, [does Tolkien] demean... his listeners, be they children, by chortling or lisping the words of it." I'm sure there are plenty on PT that are way more familiar with this, but I am willing to wager that the process began DURING the writing of the Hobbit. Unlike LotR where he would go back and start the whole thing again from the beginning, it seems like TH evolved during the process of writing. That JRR's intention shifted from a light hearted children's fairy tale to a more serious work with greater implications. And that more serious tone evolved into the mood of LotR.
By the way, has Geordie, or anyone else ever read a copy of the first addition of TH? The one with the different Riddles in the Dark chapter, where Gollum isn't a threat to Bilbo. I tried to find it at the used book store, to no avail. It would be neat to own.
You could try the Annotated Hobbit Shadowfax (Douglas Anderson).
This book includes first edition text, and much more!
Shadowfax - no, sadly I never met JRR. I didn't get into his books till 1976, and he'd passed away in 1973. I did exchange 'good mornings' with Christopher once, though. This was in passing in a corridor in Keble College, Oxford, during that Centenary Conference I keep on referring to! :-) Unfortunately for me, the Tolkien Society organizing committee had made it clear that anyone bothering Christopher, for autographs or whatever, would be pretty much frowned on. (CT's a shy man; a bit like his dad, I gather) - so, a conversation was out.
I have met some of Tolkien's family over the years; for example Fr John (Tolkien's eldest son) and JRR's daughter, Priscilla, who together published a lovely little book called 'The Tolkien family Album' in, guess what year? That's right; 1992! Our copy is autographed by both authors, and also JRR's grand-daughter Joanna. Oh, and we've also met Joanna's children, including Royd, who made a cameo appearance in the EE of RotK.
William Ready's book was disliked intensely by Tolkien. it purports to be one written by a friend, or at least one who knew Tolkien reasonably well; but in fact Ready visited Tolkien just the once, IIRC, and did most of the talking. But so much of what Tolkien did manage to say was included in the book (in a garbled form, IIRC) that Tolkien suspected Ready must have had a tape-recorder hidden about his person. Tolkien found the book 'impertinent'.
As Galin says, the easiest way to find a copy of the first edition version of Riddles in the Dark is to buy Doug Anderson's Annotated Hobbit. Thoroughly recommended. The best way is to get a first edition copy, but these are hard to come by nowadays. I bought a fourth printing (1946) many years ago, for £15.00. It has no dust-wrapper (that's why it's so cheap) but it's really great to be able to read the tale (more or less) as Tolkien first wrote it. Who'd have thought it, eh! Gollum letting Bilbo go...
I first read a translated adaptation of the Hobbit, made as a cartoon series in a very popular children magazine of a time (they did also very nice LoTR series there). The book I first actually borrowed from a Library and read like for few days cover-to-cover. At that point it was almost impossible to get an English book (I grew in communist country), so it was much later I was able to appreciate the text as it was written by Tolkien. The magazine adaptation was however based on the plot from an early edition, so the scene of "Riddles in the dark" was really at place as originally written (only Gollum was drawn as a big salamander )
I would really enjoy to take part in a thread, where fans present their thoughts about what The Hobbit inspires in their imagination (disregarding the popular art available).
I read so much about Raynor Unwin that I felt he was family, as well as his father. I must admit that I read right through War and Peace and suddenly felt so tired toward the last fifty pages I quit. What a lame thing to do , but I did it, burn out. Then I read the life of Leo Tolstoy the author and was enchanted and could not put the book down. Go figure.
The smallest person in our family, seven is currently reading The Hobbit, and loving it so much. Her uncle took the painstaking time to edit Lord of the Rings, reading only 'safe' parts that don't terrify her and the same with the movie, so she did not see Gollum nor a single orc. I could never have done that. I would have quit. But he patiently did that because she so longed to see something of it. So, when she is twelve and gets to see the rest............I hope she is alright.
lord i dont know how many times ive read it i know its been a bunch! im readin LOTRs again right now. lol