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Thread: Hobbit Book Editions

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Ok, since I've re-read LOTR a couple of times over the past year, and The Hobbit once, one thing has kind of gnawed at me. In the introduction to the LOTR that was written by Tolkien, he goes into detail about how Bilbo changed his story about how he found the Ring, from the original. My question is, does anyone know if the original publication of The Hobbit have the birthday gift explanation that was subsequently changed to the current version, after the LOTR was published? Also, did the original edition of TH also mention "Gondolin"? (Elrond is asked about the origin of the "troll" swords and he says that they're elven and probably from Gondolin).

Just curious if Tolkien revised TH to better blend with LOTR. I mean, partly I don't believe it because TH does not end with the rummaging of Bag End as is discussed in LOTR, but then Tolkien's intro kind of leads one to suspect that it may have been, at least partially revised.
The Hobbit has been been revised, but those are minor changes, which are explained at the beginning of the January 1982 Balantine Paperback Edition. I don't know what you mean by the "the rummaging of Bag End", but maybe you refer to when Bilbo returned there after his adventure and found a yard sale taking place with all his possesions being auctioned off, and he had to buy most of them back again. Still this happened in both editions. Or are you reffering to the 'Scouring of the Shire' that happened when Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin returned from their adventure to find it wasn't over. Sorry, I'm being dense here. Maybe someone else can provide a better answer.
Sorry, Grondmaster, when I re-read the Hobbit, the pages must have stuck together or something because I missed the auctions going on at Bag End (which is what I meant about "rummaging", as in "rummage sale"). However, despite that mistake, I was just wondering if there were any additions, as an example, much is made about how Tolkien delves into the past ages in LOTR, which is undeniable, yet the mention of the fall of Gondolin in the Hobbit (when Elrond was asked about the "Troll" swords) also hearkens back to the older tales, although not much detail is given, unlike when LOTR deals with the past. I was just wondering if items like this example were added in later. I have my doubts, but just figured I'd post my questions.
I don't think he needed to revise The Hobbit because most of the pre-history in the LotR and The Silmarillion was already in his head or in his notes. That the LotR wasn't written in its final form until later, didn't have much bearing, because the history was already there; he just had to write his epic around it This of course is a simplification, but I think it is generally the way it was.

It was always my impression, from what little I do know about his writing the Hobbit, that it was written without much regard to the old history, i.e. The Hobbit was to be a separate story with little or no relation to the existing ME history. But perhaps that perception has been in error.
The Hobbit was to be a separate story with little or no relation to the existing ME history. But perhaps that perception has been in error.

No, I believe you are correct about that Helmthh. Originally JRRT did write The Hobbit to be it’s own separate story. It was only after writing it, that JRRT realized it belonged as an important part in the LotR saga, and in the history of M.E.
Elf Smilie
Tolkien, a professor at Oxford University at the time he began writing the book, said that it began from a single senseless sentence ("In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit") scrawled on an exam paper he was grading. When he began, he did not intend to connect the story with the much more profound mythology he was working on allready back then.

However as Tolkien continued writing it, he decided that the events of The Hobbit could belong to the same universe as The Silmarillion, and he introduced or mentioned characters and places that figured prominently in Tolkien's legendarium, specifically Elrond, Gil-galad and "Gondolin". (here is your answer) Taken into consideration with the rest of Tolkien's work, The Hobbit serves as both an introduction to Middle-earth as well as a narrative link between earlier and later events as told in The Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings, respectively.

As remarked above, Tolkien substantially revised The Hobbit's text describing Bilbo's dealings with Gollum in order to blend the story better into what The Lord of the Rings had become. This revision became the second edition, published in 1951 in both UK and American editions.

Funny enough allthough Tolkien himself introduced the revisions to the publisher even he himself was quit surprised to "really" see them enter the books. Maybe this act pushed Tolkien to work on and finish The Lord of the Rings, as did the friendshipa dn guidance of C.S. Lewis.

Hope this replies to your questions. Cheers, B.