“To the end of his days Bilbo could never remember how he found himself outside, without a hat, a walking-stick or any money, or anything that he usually took when he went out; leaving his second breakfast half-finished and quite un-washed-up, pushing his keys into Gandalf’s hands, and running as fast as his furry feet could carry him down the lane, past the great Mill, across The Water, and then on for a mile or more.” So began the adventures of one Bilbo Baggins, hobbit, of Bag End, and in honour of the 75th anniversary of the publication of JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit, schools up and down the country are holding their own Hobbit second breakfasts at 11am today.
HarperCollins is also marking the anniversary by releasing the first Latin translation of the book, Hobbitus Ille – “in foramine terrae habitabat hobbitus”; “In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit”) – as well as publishing a range of little-known sketches done by Tolkien himself as he was writing the novel, to bring the images in his head to life. From Bilbo smoking his pipe in the wonderfully circular hall at Bag End – “a tube-shaped hall like a tunnel: a very comfortable tunnel without smoke, with panelled walls, and floors tiled and carpeted, provided with polished chairs, and lots and lots of pegs for hats and coats – the hobbit was fond of visitors” – to Lake Town and Hobbiton-across-the Water, the images are, according to the publisher, “a beautiful representation of the workings of Tolkien’s mind”.
Only a small selection of the hundreds of drawings done by Tolkien were included in the original edition of The Hobbit, and although the artwork, held by the Tolkien estate, has since been published in a special edition book – with a sneak peak on the Guardian website – it has never received widespread publication.
The anniversary, though, is just the start of what will be an onslaught of all things Hobbit, as the 14 December release date approaches of the first of Peter Jackson’s three-part film adaptation of the novel, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Let the adventures begin.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010
Seit 1996 bin ich freier Mitarbeiter der Salzgitter-Zeitung, als Experte für das Geschehen im hiesigen Kreisfußball. Daneben sind meine Kolumnen seit 2005 fester Bestandteil im Lokalteil der Salzgitter-Zeitung. Zusammen mit Frau und Tochter sowie zwei gefräßigen wie faulen Stubentigern versuche ich das zu meistern, was das Leben, das Universum und der ganze Rest an Absurditäten für uns bereithalten.