Today in Catholic History – The Hobbit Is Published

On 21 September 1937, Allen & Unwin published J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, or There and Back Again. Tolkien had began writing The Hobbit in the 1930’s with the famous line, “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit”.

The Hobbit was extremely successful, leading the publishers to ask Tolkien for a sequel that would become The Lord of the Rings. The success of The Hobbit caught Tolkien by surprise, ““At the moment I am suffering like Mr. Baggins from a touch of ‘staggerment.’” A few years ago a signed first edition of the book was sold for £60,000 or approximately $93,500.

While Tolkien’s Catholicism is more readily apparent in The Lord of the Rings, he was clear to note its influence in The Hobbit as well. In describing his idea of the Euchatastrophe, “the sudden happy turn in a story which pierces you with a joy that brings tears”, which was essential in all true fairy stories and which is reflective of the Resurrection – “the greatest ‘euchatastrophe’ possible”, Tolkien noted the “eucatastrophic” ending of The Hobbit.

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