April 23, 2014

New Editions of Tolkien Books, Because It's Anniversary Time

There seem to be new editions of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings headed our way in the fall [but not for The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales or Children of Hurin?]
They are different from each other.
For The Hobbit, it was a reproduction of the very first edition ever published - before Tolkien revised it to better tie-in with Lord of the Rings [I'm not referring to his planned re-write after Lord of the Rings came out which he abandoned]. Most of us know of the current revised 'second' edition, as it had been in circulation longer than the original first book. 
But now we are given a chance to read the complete original 1937 text. The description officially reads as:

The Hobbit was published on 21 September 1937 with a print run of 1,500 copies. With a beautiful cover design by the author and a coloured frontispiece painting, the book proved to be popular and was reprinted within three months, and history was already being made.

The scarcity of the first edition has resulted in copies commanding huge prices, way beyond the reach of most Tolkien fans. In addition, subsequent changes to the text - particularly those to chapter five when Tolkien decided to expand the text to marry it up to events in The Lord of the Rings - mean that the opportunity to read the book in its original form and format has become quite difficult.

To commemorate the 75th anniversary of publication, this special edition reprints the first edition, so that Tolkien’s book may be enjoyed in its original form. Included in the box is a CD featuring recordings of Tolkien reading extracts from the book, including more than half an hour of archive recordings only recently discovered and never before released. In addition, a full colour booklet traces the origins of The Hobbit and its publication history, complete with a gallery of artwork and covers for this remarkable book.
(ISBN: 9780007440832 )
Also, in November the newly-illustrated edition by Jemima Catlin will be published in paperback. ( ISBN: 9780007497935 ) 
Lord of the Rings is also being given 60th anniversary treatment. It appears that the edition published for the 50th anniversary, which features Lord of the Rings as Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and Return of the King in hardback, with the Reader's Companion, all in a box set.
( ISBN: 9780007581146 )
ed note: Special treatment has been given to The Hobbit lately: Art of The Hobbit, History of The Hobbit, as well as new illustrated editions and deluxe editions. 
I also fully expect additional variations of the facsimile Hobbit, (paperback? non-deluxe?) and the new 60th anniversary, 2014 editions of Lord of the Rings to be sold out of the box. 
My favorite are the illustrated paperbacks I've linked and talked about throughout my blogging career, but it's nice to have variety. 

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