TOLKIEN, J. R. R.. The Hobbit or There and Back Again. (FIRST EDITION FIRST ISSUE - 1937)



TITLE: The Hobbit or There and Back Again.

PUBLISHER: London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd, 1937.

DESCRIPTION: FIRST EDITION FIRST ISSUE. 1 vol., 7-1/2" x 5-1/2", Frontispiece, 8 B&W plates and one vignette by Tolkien, advertisement leaf at end, bound in full dark green morocco, ribbed gilt decorated spine, covers ruled in gilt, Smaug the dragon gilt to lower right corner of the front cover, gilt dentelles, all edges gilt, marbled pastedowns and endpapers, original cloth covers and spine bound in rear, original front and rear map pastedowns and endpapers also bound in, by Bayntun


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: A copy bound in an identical binding but without the cloth covers bound in sold at Sotheby's NY in 2020 for $16,380.

Tolkien began writing The Hobbit, or There and Back Again, as a Professor of English Language and Literature at Oxford University. Tolkien's creative perspective was born from a childhood spent briefly in South Africa and then rural England, a short but wretched tour during World War I, and an avid fascination with German philology. Although it was originally billed as a children's book, The Hobbit attracted a varied audience and has been wildly popular since its initial publication. Tolkien built upon the tradition of fantasy literature developed by George MacDonald, Lewis Carroll, and the folk tales of Arabian Nights by inventing a new language—Elvish—and making it accessible for modern-day readers. Such creativity brought rave reviews for The Hobbit, which sold out of its original print run of 1,500 copies three months after publication.

REFERENCE: Currey 476; Hammond A3a