J. R. R. Tolkien's fantastic novel The Hobbit; or There and Back Again was first published in 1937. The enchanting story of tiny, furry-footed Bilbo Baggins and his adventures in Middle-earth ultimately served as the prelude to Tolkien's epic The Lord of the Rings, which was published in three volumes during the 1950s. These novels are perhaps the most beloved works of fantasy in the twentieth century.
An eminent Oxford philologist, Tolkien's translation of ancient myths inspired him to create a world of his own, known as Middle-earth. He spent a great deal of his life developing his own language and mythology for this imaginary realm.
Although The Hobbit garnered favorable reviews on its publication, it wasn't initially a commercial success. However, the novel became extremely popular over the years, eventually selling over one million copies in the United States alone.
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