THE ANNOTATED HOBBIT (1st edition)
pub. 1988

Overall, this is an extremely elegant and tastefully prepared book.  First off, the book is quite large, measuring approximately 8 3/4 inches wide by 11 1/4 inches tall.  The dust jacket features Tolkien's original artwork (the blue, green, and black illustration that is used on the classic edition).  Incorporated into the center of the jacket design is a square frame with the title "The Annotated Hobbit J.R.R. Tolkien Annotated by Douglas A. Anderson."  The cover of the book has no cloth but is solid blue with no markings.  The spine markings are stamped gold.  The flyleaf in both front and back is heavy manila.  The high-quality paper used for this book is a heavy bright bond with apparently high rag content.  On the page facing the title page is a black and white photographic portrait of Tolkien in the mid-30s.  The title page itself bears the title of The Annotated Hobbit at the top, and below is an inset box with "The Hobbit or There and Back Again  J.R.R. Tolkien  illustrated by the author."  Two lines of runic text form top and bottom borders spanning both the title page and the facing page.

The Table of Contents includes five items not found in the standard Hobbit:
Preface
Introduction
Appendix A: Textual and Revisional Notes
Appendix B: On Runes and Their Values
Bibliography
In the two-page preface, Anderson explains how the Annotated Hobbit was compiled and a bit about which version of the text was used.  In the six-page Introduction, Anderson provides some biographical information on Tolkien and some interesting historical details about The Hobbit.  Several illustrations accompany the Introduction: a photograph of the desk on which Tolkien wrote The Hobbit; a photograph of the house at No. 20 Northmoor Road, Oxford; a reproduction of 10-year-old Rayner Unwin's report on the submitted manuscript of The Hobbit; photographs of two original dust jackets (British and American) and one cover; a photograph of Tolkien with his daughter Priscilla at the age of 8; a reproduction of the cover of The Marvellous Land of Snergs (1928); and an illustration from the Snergs book.  Following the Introduction is a page featuring two reproductions of title pages from the first and second printings of the Houghton Mifflin edition of The Hobbit.  Thror's Map is not printed in its usual large format, but is reproduced at a small size at the bottom of the page within Chapter III: A Short Rest.

Next is the text of The Hobbit with the annotations.  The Hobbit text is printed such that it extends only halfway across the page and about 2/3 of the way down from the top.  The space at the outer margins and the bottom 1/3 of the page are used for the annotations and small illustrations, many of which are from foreign editions of The Hobbit, although several of Tolkien's own illustrations and sketches are incuded as well.  Each page has a runic text border alomg the bottom printed in tan.

After the main text of The Hobbit comes one of the treasures of this book, Appendix A: Textual and Revisional Notes.  A one and a half page lead-in describes the textual and revisional history of The Hobbit after which are given chapter by chapter, the differences between the 1937 and the two 1966 variants of the text.  Readers will be pleased to find the entire original version of the conclusion of the riddle game from Chapter V: Riddles in the Dark.

Appendix B: On Runes and Their Values gives a table of runes as used in The Hobbit and a brief explanation of their usage, which was somewhat different from the usage and values in The Lord of the Rings.

The Bibliography is divided into four sections: I. Books by J.R.R Tolkien, II. Translations of The Hobbit, III. General Bibliography, and IV. Societies

Lastly, the map of Wilderland is found at the back, with a facing page containing only THE END and Tolkien's dragon design from the original book cover.


The Lord of the Rings
 Other Works and Books by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Hobbit
Audio Editions
The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales,
and the History of Middle-earth
Selected Out of Print Editions of LOTR
Sources and Influences