‘The Hobbit’ first published 72 years ago this week

09.22.09 | Kunochan | Speak, friend & comment!

The Hobbit (UK, 1937)

First UK edition of The Hobbit.
Tolkien Library.

Seventy-two years ago yesterday, JRR Tolkien’s first novel, The Hobbit, was published by George Allen & Unwin, Ltd. of London.

The 1,500 copies of the first printing sold out by the end of that year, 1937.

The American edition was released in early 1938 by Houghton-Mifflin.

In December 1937, publisher Stanley Unwin requested a sequel. Unwin turned down an early draft of The Silmarillion, and asked Tolkien to write another novel featuring hobbits. That book, the seven-volume The Lord of the Rings (usually published in three volumes), would not be completed and published until 1954.

The 1966 third edition text of The Hobbit is the standard version published today. It contains a number of revisions Tolkien made to eliminate errors and to bring the text in line with the events of The Lord of the Rings.

For more info: The original October 8th, 1937 The Times review of The Hobbit; the first edition at The Tolkien Library.
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