Essential Modern Classic Edition
Bilbo Baggins enjoys a quiet and contented life, with no desire
to travel far from the comforts of home; then one day the wizard
Gandalf and a band of dwarves arrive unexpectedly and enlist his
services - as a burglar - on a dangerous expedition to raid the
treasure-hoard of Smaug the dragon. Bilbo''s life is never to be
the same again.
Seldom has any book been so widely read and loved as J.R.R.
Tolkien''s classic tale, ''The Hobbit''. Since its first
publication in 1937 it has remained in print to delight each new
generation of readers all over the world, and its hero, Bilbo
Baggins, has taken his place among the ranks of the immortals of
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born on the 3rd January, 1892 at
Bloemfontein in the Orange Free State, but at the age of four he
and his brother were taken back to England by their mother. After
his father?s death the family moved to Sarehole, on the
south-eastern edge of Birmingham. Tolkien spent a happy childhood
in the countryside and his sensibility to the rural landscape can
clearly be seen in his writing and his pictures.
His mother died when he was only twelve and both he and his
brother were made wards of the local priest and sent to King
Edward?s School, Birmingham, where Tolkien shone in his classical
work. After completing a First in English Language and Literature
at Oxford, Tolkien married Edith Bratt. He was also commissioned in
the Lancashire Fusiliers and fought in the battle of the Somme.
After the war, he obtained a post on the New English Dictionary and
began to write the mythological and legendary cycle which he
originally called The Book of Lost Tales but which eventually
became known as The Silmarillion.
In 1920 Tolkien was appointed Reader in English Language at the
University of Leeds which was the beginning of a distinguished
academic career culminating with his election as Rawlinson and
Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford. Meanwhile Tolkien
wrote for his children and told them the story of The Hobbit. It
was his publisher, Stanley Unwin, who asked for a sequel to The
Hobbit and gradually Tolkien wrote The Lord of the Rings, a huge
story that took twelve years to complete and which was not
published until Tolkien was approaching retirement. After
retirement Tolkien and his wife lived near Oxford, but then moved
to Bournemouth. Tolkien returned to Oxford after his wife?s death
in 1971. He died on 2 September 1973 leaving The Silmarillion to be
edited for publication by his son, Christopher.