The Hobbit

or There and Back Again


'In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.'

TOLKIEN, J.R.R. The Hobbit or There and Back Again

Allen & Unwin, 1937.

First edition. Original green cloth with dark blue designs on the boards in dustwrapper designed by the author. Map endpapers in black and red, one black and white plate and nine further full page illustrations, all by the author. A near fine copy, with a little foxing to the fore edges in a very good dustwrapper indeed, with a trace of wear to the head of the spine and a couple of corners, a couple of short closed tears and some tanning to the spine, but is mainly complete and entirely unrestored. An unusually well preserved copy.

All I remember about the start of The Hobbit is sitting correcting School Certificate papers in the everlasting weariness of that annual task forced on impecunious academics with children. On a blank leaf I scrawled: 'In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.' I did not and do not know why. I did nothing about it, for a long time, and for some years I got no further than the production of Thror's Map. But it became The Hobbit in the early 1930s, and was eventually published not because of my own children's enthusiasm (though they liked it well enough), but because I lent it to the then Rev. Mother of Cherwell Edge when she had flu, and it was seen by a former student who was at that time in the office of Allen and Unwin. - J.R.R.Tolkien in a letter to W.H. Auden (7 June 1955).
Some eighty years later sales of the book are well in excess of 60 million, published in a multitude of languages. It is revered by doyens of Fantasy and Children's books, and has become staple reading for adults and children alike.
To an extent The Hobbit is autobiographical in a fantastic setting. Tolkien himself led a simple, reclusive existence: he refused to own a car or television and saw no need to travel beyond the restricting confines of academia. Yet, underneath the staid exterior lurked an imagination vivid enough to create a series of tales that have transfixed the book-reading public for the last eighty years.
Only 1500 copies of the first edition were printed, all of which were sold within a couple of months. The book was read and reread and copies are now seldom found in nice condition. In particular, the fragile dustwrapper, where present at all, is usually found with large chips missing or with restoration.

Hammond A3.a

Stock ID: 38931


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