The Annotated Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, with annotations by Douglas A. Anderson
The Annotated Hobbit
Annotations by Douglas A. Anderson
(Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston & New York: 2002)
The Hobbit, first published 1937.
READ: February - March 2008
The classic text of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, with detailed annotations on the text by Douglas A. Anderson, a leading Tolkien scholar. The annotations cover everything from differences in text between various editions (and, in particular, explanations of how parts of the text were changed from the first edition to the second in order to bring some aspects of the story more in line with The Lord of the Rings), influences on Tolkien's work by other authors (Anderson is, after all, the same person who edited Tales Before Tolkien, so he has a decent grasp on the subject), and excerpts from Tolkien's own writings explaining why the story developed in certain ways. Most charming of all, however, was perhaps the inclusion and explanation of various illustrations from different foreign-language editions of The Hobbit, which, if you hadn't realized it already, really drives home the idea that The Hobbit is a true classic tale that speaks to many different cultures. A wonderful book.