"Bilbo Baggins was a hobbit who never went for adventures until Gandalf the wizard and his dwarves persuaded him to go. He had a very exciting time fighting gobblins and wargsand returned homerich!"
When ten-year-old Rayner Unwin produced this report for his father, publisher Stanley Unwin, he had no idea that the manuscript he had thus recommended would go on to be a remarkable success. Neither did its author, J.R.R. Tolkien, Professor of AngloSaxon at Oxford, when, inexplicably, he jotted the famous opening sentence"In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit"on a blank sheet while examining papers! Yet within a year of its publication, The Hobbit had won the New York Herald Tribune prize for children's literature and was set to become a classic.
First published on 21st September 1937, The Hobbit met with instant success and is now recognized as an international bestseller: it has been translated into 25 languages and has sold over 35 million copies worldwide. The pictures contained in this year's diary are taken from the commemorative edition of "one of the most influential books of our generation" (The Times). Published in 1997 to commemorate the 60th anniversary wealth of line illustrations by Alan Lee.
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