• The Hobbit

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    J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit: or There and Back Again is considered by many the “original and still best fantasy every written.” Many in the UK and US are already familiar. The fairy story has been instrumental in stretching young readers’ literary minds for digestion of the works of Dickens and Shakespeare. With the highly anticipated film adaptation due out this December (in two parts no less—Middle Earth fans rejoice!), I’m currently revisiting the fantasy novel with my sons so they know “it’s a dangerous business, going out your front door.”

    Shortly after the first edition printing in 1937, The Hobbit's publisher, Stanley Unwin, asked Tolkien for a sequel. Tolkien responded with drafts for The Silmarillion, but the editors rejected them, believing that the public wanted "more about hobbits". Tolkien subsequently began work on 'The New Hobbit', which would eventually become The Lord of the Rings, a course that would not only change the context of the original story, but also lead to substantial changes to the character of Gollum.

    Pick up a used hardback copy from Amazon and experience the journey there, and back again, as Tolkien originally intended.

    Jan 13, 2012 | Permalink (15) Total Comments

    Elizabeth V. left a comment on 2/13/2012 at 2:09 PM:

    See, this is one reason why yours is one of my two favorite preppy blogs (the other being The Daily Prep). It isn’t just about the clothes, it’s about having a life.

    Hailie Durrett left a comment on 1/24/2012 at 6:15 PM:

    I am so happy you posted this! I am reading Tolkien’s bio by Humphrey Carpenter right now and will soon be starting on The Silmarillion as I am taking a Tolkien class this semester.

    Laguna Beach Fogey left a comment on 1/20/2012 at 10:45 AM:

    Wow! I’m really happy to see this on your site. Tolkien, as you know, is one of my favourite authors. A true Fogey, rough Tweed-style. Very nice.

    GLG left a comment on 1/19/2012 at 11:01 AM:

    What I enjoy most about the Hobbit is that it is a book tailor made not just for children, but for the child within all of us.  The Lord of the Rings is a vastly different work in both tone and length, because Tolkien was aiming it at his original audience, who had since grown up, instead of the original demographic. Amazingly Tolkien considered the work to be a single novel - the whole “trilogy” angle was developed to work around paper shortages, the same problem that prevented T.H. White’s Once and Future King from being compiled in a complete state till after the war. My favorite anecdote about the tonal differences revolves around Tolkien’s attempted rewrite of “The Hobbit” to bring it more in line with the Lord of the Rings, which had overtaken it in popularity.  Tolkien sent one chapter to a friend who advised him to stop at once as the darker tone squashed the soul of the original.  Sadly, I believe Peter Jackson may need to learn this lesson, as judging by the trailer for the film and the fact the rather tightly paced story is being stretched out over two films, it seems to be going for the angle of that rewrite - needlessly dark.  Of course, I try to keep a very open mind with film adaptations, and my fond memories of the original work could never be perverted by any movie, but I can’t help but wonder what this adaptation could have been, especially for children unfamiliar with the Hobbit rather than the rabid fans of the Lord of the Rings films.

    Miguel Ramalhao left a comment on 1/19/2012 at 8:46 AM:

    This will be the next book on my night stand.. I’m just finishing On the Road (again!)... And I’m ready for more adventure… not the same kind but nevertheless Adventure.

    H.K. Rahman left a comment on 1/18/2012 at 11:32 PM:

    @bucephalus - since you asked, I believe Hobbits were the first purveyors of the “Go-To-Hell-Ankles” look.

    A left a comment on 1/18/2012 at 1:16 AM:

    I love hearing about you and your boys.

    You once posted a pic of my son in a madras blazer.( http://bit.ly/whwipX )

    Scary how fast they grow up.
    http://bit.ly/x2HWwN :)

    ian left a comment on 1/17/2012 at 10:01 PM:

    Peter Jackson did an incredible job adapting TLOTR’s trilogy. I am hoping his adaptation of The Hobbit is as well done. I’ll have to reread it, as I recall it is significantly different in style as it is a children’s book so I’m interested in seeing the finished films. It’s wonderful that you are exposing your kids to it. I suggest The Wind in the Willow’s as well.

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 1/17/2012 at 8:36 PM:

    @Kiel James Patrick—Most importantly, don’t forget your Longbottom Leaf; cram it down in your pipe real good.

    Kiel James Patrick left a comment on 1/17/2012 at 8:08 PM:

    I love you man.  Little Hobbit smile crept upon my face when I saw you posted this today.  Think I just may crack open my favorite Tolkien tale by the fire tonight.  Might even curl my hair and throw on an emerald green robe for the occasion.

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 1/17/2012 at 2:39 PM:

    @QD—Yes, I have two sons.

    @Jon—Tough question. Tolkien is certainly one of my favorite authors. What I’m reading right now is Tom Wolfe’s “The Bonfire of the Vanities” and Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby”.

    QD left a comment on 1/17/2012 at 2:24 PM:

    You have children?

    Jon left a comment on 1/17/2012 at 1:58 PM:

    Hi, Fred.  Who are your favorite authors?  What are your favorite books?

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 1/17/2012 at 11:44 AM:

    @bucephalus—At what point do you relinquish what you “think” Unabashedly Prep is for I am showing you it is? Unabashedly Prep is (and always has been) me sharing my tastes with anyone who might appreciate it.

    bucephalus left a comment on 1/17/2012 at 9:52 AM:

    The Great Gatsby—that I can understand.  It will be a preppy-costumey film.  But The Hobbit ?