Keywords:The Hobbit, Manuscript History, Typescript History, Editions, Changes, Revisions
Between the 1st (1937) and 3rd edition (1974) of “The Hobbit”, there were numerous changes made. Author Kevin Young makes a comparison between these two editions. There are several differences in illustration locations towards the beginning, and an added note in the beginning about The Lord of the Rings in the 3rd edition. The first textual changes come when describing the Hobbits. Tolkien changes the language to make it more readable and appealing to adult audiences. There is further narrowing of what Hobbits are like – more human in nature in the 3rd edition versus the 1st edition. There is more seriousness placed into the story as well, when talking about Smaug – Tolkien plays down the male believe element of the story, turning this dragon into more of a fearsome creature by claiming he devoured many Dwarves and men of Dale. There is some date clarification, too, and on how long the actual journey takes from when Bilbo leaves to his return. There is, again, further straying from the make-believe elements and make the story more serious – as Elves were supposed to be called gnomes when they’re old in the 1st edition. Young concludes that the additions and changes are overall beneficial to the story.
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