Today represents a landmark anniversary for fans of J.R.R. Tolkien. Eighty years ago, what started as a bedtime story for his children became an enduring tale that would eventually be translated into over 40 languages. Published on September 21, 1937, The Hobbit, Professor Tolkien’s tale of Bilbo Baggins and his great adventure through Middle-earth with a wizard and a company of 13 Dwarves, captured the imagination of readers young and old.
While the tale began as a story for his young children, one day the Oxford Professor famously turned to a blank page of a student’s class paper he was correcting and wrote, “In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit.” The rest is history! Millions of readers young and old fell in love with Bilbo; so much so that the demand for more Hobbity goodness resulted in the publication of Tolkien’s landmark work, The Lord of the Rings, some years later. In turn, The Lord of the Rings allowed Tolkien to slip in more glimpses of his beloved Middle-earth mythology, much of which was eventually published posthumously by his son Christopher in works such as The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales and The History of Middle-earth.
Thanks to The Hobbit, Tolkien’s world of Middle-earth quickly grew in popularity, and set the tone for a new genre of fantasy fiction. Eighty years later, the Professor’s work is still beloved and enjoys a strong following of readers around the world. No surprise for readers of TORn!