New version of The Hobbit will include 50+ sketches by JRR Tolkien

Originally published at: New version of The Hobbit will include 50+ sketches by JRR Tolkien | Boing Boing

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I hope this isn’t how we find out that in J.R.R. Tolkien’s headcanon the orcs all looked like racist caricatures of the Welsh or something.


I’ve got a lovely edition of Douglas Anderson’s Annotated Hobbit, which is full of illustrations from various editions of the book from around the world (and probably includes some of these ‘new’ Tolkien pictures as well, but I’m not sure.)


Seems interesting though a preview of at least one of the sketches would have been nice but i guess i’ll wait and see if this is worth getting or not.


Please, they’d be Irish if anything, based on his previous writings


There are some beautiful editions of the Hobbit as well as the Lord of the Rings out there. I was recently looking for new ones to replace my aging, falling apart pocket sized Ballatine versions from the mid-70’s. This one looks like a nice edition to that list, although the price is a bit prohibitive (but no worse than most of the others I was reviewing, and cheaper by far than the most expensive ones, which were running in the $600 range… yikes!)

By the LoTR they are Russian (Saruman being Germany). While the Middle East and Africa do occur, barely, and treated dismissively, they weren’t his main focus.

He and his chums hated communism with a passion and were big fans of Franco (I can’t remember anything he said about Mussolini but it would be very, very odd for a right wing intellectual at that time not to be an enormous fan of Mussolini) whereas his experiences of the First World War made him suspicious of Hitler (right wing intellectuals in England thought he had a lot of sound ideas but a strong Germany was not to be supported), but he blamed Hitler’s degrading of the noble Germanic people on the Russians.

I would be very open to admitting some of the more appalling representations are, possibly inadvertently, anti-Semitic. Was his hatred of the Soviets, as it was for many in the 20s that communism was Jewish/atheist? Possibly.

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Well, the texts are pretty racist from a modern reading, broad noses, skin either “dark” or “swarthy” and red eyes, which could mean bloodshot. It’s also worth remembering that in The Hobbit they were still called goblins and hobgoblins, the term Orc came in The Lord of the Rings.

What I still enjoy about The Hobbit is the feeling of a good night story, the episodic “And then what happened, Daddy?” “Go to sleep, be good and I’ll tell you tomorrow night.”

I am not surprised, living in Bayreuth taught me about Houston Stuart Chamberlain, the father of racism as a pseudoscience and how racism was big in Britain. It would not surprise me that a professor for old English and Norse literature who was born in South Africa and experienced the horrors of the Great War would fall into casual racism. The sort you can afford when you’re safely in some English college town, far from contact with the undesirables.

I mean, sure, we all love the works he created, but we also fall too easily into deifying Professor Tolkien. I guess we could be grateful he remained reclusive, and did not expose his prejudices like J K Rowling is doing today.

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Most of his drawings are landscapes, followed by dragons.

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