The Return of the King.

"In this hour, I do not believe that any darkness will endure": First edition of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Return of the King

The Return of the King.


Item Number: 138292

London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd, 1955.

First edition of the of the culminating volume in Tolkien’s epic Lord of the Rings trilogy, widely considered the greatest achievement in the realm of fantasy literature. Octavo, original cloth, top edge red, illustrated, with the folding map at rear. Third state with the number “4” in the bottom margin of p. 49, and a sagging “s” in the third line from the bottom. Very good in a very good price-clipped dust jacket. Bookplate.

The Lord of the Rings began as a sequel to Tolkien's 1937 children's fantasy novel The Hobbit, but eventually developed into a much larger work. It was written in stages between 1937 and 1949, much of it during World War II in letters to his son, "and finally, having polished it to his own satisfaction, published it as a trilogy from 1954 to 1955, a volume at a time, impatiently awaited by a growing audience. It is considered one of this century’s lasting contributions to that borderland of literature between youth and age. It seems destined to become this century’s contribution to that select list of books which continue through the ages to be read by children and adults with almost equal pleasure." (Eyre, 134-35). It has went on to become the third best selling novel of all-time with 150 million copies sold.

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