||"In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit." So begins one of the most beloved and delightful tales in the English language. Set in the imaginary world of Middle-earth, at once a classic myth and a modern fairy tale, The Hobbit is one of literature's most enduring and well-loved novels. This gift edition, with new watercolor paintings by the artist Alan Lee, celebrates the sixtieth anniversary of the first publication in 1937.
||This 1937 fantasy is the prequel, or "prelude" to the classic epic trilogy THE LORD OF THE RINGS. Bilbo Baggins is the hobbit of the title: a short, round, and hairy-footed creature fond of small comforts and his rural home. What he doesn't like (or at least thinks he doesn't like) is adventure, but that's just what he gets when a wizard and several dwarves show up on his doorstep, eat him out of house and home, and induce him to join them on a perilous quest to steal a dragon's treasure. Along the way, he picks up a golden ring with the power to turn the wearer invisible; this ring will turn out to be central to the later volumes. While THE LORD OF THE RINGS is a serious epic about the nature of good and evil, written in highly formal language and intended for adults, this earlier work is considerably lighter in tone and clearly directed toward a younger audience, having sprung out of the stories that Tolkien used to tell his own children. However, that does not and has not prevented adults the world over from enjoying THE HOBBIT.