Wednesday, September 2, 2009

10 Books A Day: #134

Mr. Baggins: The History Of The Hobbit Part One...J. R. R. Tolkien, ed. John D. Rateliff...Houghton Mifflin Company
Return To Bag-End: The History Of The Hobbit Part Two...J. R. R. Tolkien, ed. John D. Rateliff...Houghton Mifflin Company
The Hobbit...J. R. R. Tolkien...Revised Edition Fifth Printing April 1983...Ballantine Books
Bilbo's Last Song...J. R. R. Tolkien, Ill. Pauline Baynes...Dragonfly Books
Bilbo's Last Song...J. R. R. Tolkien, Ill. Pauline Baynes...Knopf
The Hobbit Part I...J. R. R. Tolkien, Adapted by Charles Dixon, Ill. David Wenzel...Eclipse Books
The Hobbit Part II...'' '' '' '' '' '' '' '' '' '' ''
The Hobbit Part III... " " " " " " " " " " "
The Hobbit: A Musical...Book By Ruth Perry, Lyrics By David Rogers...The Dramatic Publishing Company
The Hobbit: A 3-D Pop-Up Adventure...Illustrated By John Howe...HarperFestival

The History of the Hobbit is indeed that: the most complete look at The Hobbit to date from first drafts (when Gandalf was called Bladorthin, Thorin was Gandalf, and Smaug was Pryftan) through the retrofitting of "Riddles In The Dark" to bring it more in line with the developments in The Lord of the Rings, and all the way down to a proposed complete re-write in a more serious tone (abandoned just as they reach Rivendell) that was dropped because "it just wasn't The Hobbit anymore." Along the way there is a look at sources and influences, and how it all fits into the greater "legendarium."

Bilbo's Last Song was written as a "Thank You" to Tolkien's secretary, Joy Hill, and was first published as a poster. These editions feature the "jewel-like" pictures of the great Pauline Baynes: large pictures illustrating the lines from the poem, and marginalia depicting scenes from The Hobbit itself.

The three volumes by David Wenzel and Charles Dixon are a "graphic novel" adaptation, and have appeared as a single volume. They are, on the whole, good; the third volume suffers a bit from having huge blocks of narration that crowd the graphics somewhat, but as someone who knows a bit about adapting Tolkien's prose into cartoon form (right, John?) I know that the material can be prone to this tendency.

I present the back cover of The Hobbit: A Musical as being more interesting than the front: it is an adaptation of Thror's Map featuring a band of musical hobbits. This play was my first exposure to Middle Earth when I was in third grade.

And so it's come to this: a Hobbit pop-up book. My nephew loves this.

Book Count: 1596.


John said...

Oh yes. It always made me think of that Plop comic about the old sisters and Susie the alligator where the crazy brother is physically pinned under a large balloon of expository dialogue!

AlanDP said...

I always loved pop-up books. With the lighting in the illustration, I would have thought it was a Hildebrandt if it didn't say "John Howe" on the cover.