The Lord of the Rings

being The Fellowship of the Ring; The Two Towers; The Return of the King

TOLKIEN, J.R.R.

TOLKIEN, J.R.R. The Lord of the Rings being The Fellowship of the Ring; The Two Towers; The Return of the King

Allen & Unwin, 1954.

Three volumes, all first editions. Each volume in original red cloth with gilt titles on the spine in original grey dustwrappers printed in red and black. Return of the King in Hammond's first state with no signature 4 and the text unbroken on p.49. Fold out maps to the rear of each volume, printed in red and black, drawn by Christopher Tolkien. A fine set in very good dustwrappers indeed, which show some tanning to the spines and fading to the red lettering as usual, but are unusually crisp, with just a little wear to a couple of corners of the second volume, and notably clean to the panels.

Tolkien's epic work of fantasy, which began life to as a sequel The Hobbit, but grew in scope and volume as Tolkien worked on it in stages between 1937 and 1949.
On its own, it was a novel of great size, and publishing the work in three volumes was estimated to cost the publisher £1,000. Rayner Unwin, the biggest supporter of the novel at the firm, wrote to his father to tell him that he believed the book to be a work of genius, but it might lose the firm £1,000. Stanley Unwin replied, "If you believe it is a work of genius, then you may lose a thousand pounds".
The first volume was eventually published in July 1954, in an edition of only 3,000 copies. The second volume, published that November, comprised 3,250 copies. Initial sales were promising, and so the final volume, published in October 1955, comprised 7,000 copies.
Initial reviews were mixed, some thinking the narrative confused by Tolkien's use of language and detail, others thought it profound. W.H.Auden, a former pupil of Tolkien's, described it in a review as "a masterpiece", whilst the NY Herald Tribune was perhaps the most prescient, stating that it was "destined to outlast our time". Its reception amongst readers was swift and unequivocal and currently ranks amongst the highest selling books of any genre and among the most influential fantasy books ever published.

Hammond A5a.

Stock ID: 44565

£60,000.00

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