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The Illustrated Hobbitses
May 2, 2011 10:17 AM   Subscribe

Hobbitish is a site that collects the various cover and interior paintings and illustrations of The Hobbit from versions around the world.

Some random examples:

Swedish: cover, a simple Gandalf

Bulgarian: cover, Bilbo

French: cover, Smaug
posted by curious nu (21 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite

 
I just read The Annotated Hobbit last week, and one of the interesting (if distracting) parts was the inclusion of art from many different printings, in some cases with notes on JRRT's reactions to that art. (Not always good.)
posted by epersonae at 10:39 AM on May 2, 2011


The Swedish ones, of course, being by Tove Jansson. more of them here.
posted by titus-g at 10:40 AM on May 2, 2011


^w^w^w^w.

They're on the site linked in the orginal article in better versions.

Doh.
posted by titus-g at 10:41 AM on May 2, 2011


Damn, would you look at the fur on Bilbo's legs in this Russian version. Maybe a slight mistake in translation?

I like the illustrations in the Czech one a lot.
posted by MrFTBN at 10:42 AM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


My favorite is still the cover with the painting by Tolkien.
posted by various at 10:53 AM on May 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


Damn, would you look at the fur on Bilbo's legs in this Russian version. Maybe a slight mistake in translation?

I'm more familiar with the illustrations in this older Russian edition, but on closer inspection it suffers from the same problem.

It should be mentioned that Russian does not casually distinguish legs from feet (or arms from hands). The (now standard) Rakhmanova translation just says "на ногах у них от природы жесткие кожаные подошвы и густой теплый бурый мех, как и на голове" — "on their legs/feet they naturally have tough leathery soles and thick, warm, brown fur, the same as on their heads."

Bilbo's likeness in the older edition was clearly influenced by this Soviet actor's appearance. Among other things, he was the voice of the Soviet Winnie-the-Pooh that's been brought up on this site before.
posted by Nomyte at 11:12 AM on May 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wow, these are great! I love the Portuguese one. Specifically, this group picture is so sweet. It would probably make a perfect set of illustrations for a younger reader.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:14 AM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


various, are there more like the image you linked? It's gorgeous!
posted by benito.strauss at 11:17 AM on May 2, 2011


Neat, Nomyte. My Russian is a little rusty, but that's pretty much what I figured (because it's been years since I've read The Hobbit but I couldn't recall anything about them having gorilla legs.)

It's also cool to see the "ye olde"-style Cyrillic scripts on the covers.
posted by MrFTBN at 11:28 AM on May 2, 2011


The Bulgarian Bilbo makes me want to root for Gollum.
posted by DU at 11:32 AM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


When Smaug isn't burning and pillaging, he plays bass in a 70s hair band.
posted by Brocktoon at 11:35 AM on May 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's also cool to see the "ye olde"-style Cyrillic scripts on the covers.

None of the Russian covers really scream "ye olde"-style to me. This is what pre-revolutionary/liturgical Cyrillic looks like in a Middle Earth context. (previously on Metafilter)
posted by Nomyte at 11:50 AM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hey, Nomyte, I was looking for those olde woodcut-style renderings of movies recently. Couldn't find 'em. Thanks for the link.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:13 PM on May 2, 2011


Holy shit! I was all set to be like "Suck it nerds, I have an Esperanto version and you don't!" but, uh, they do.

This was the ONLY TIME I was ever going to get to brag about owning an Esperanto version of The Hobbit (instead of, you know, cringing) and these bastards took it away from me.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 12:13 PM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


None of the Russian covers really scream "ye olde"-style to me. This is what pre-revolutionary/liturgical Cyrillic looks like in a Middle Earth context. (previously on Metafilter)

Oh man, that artwork is great.

I guess what I mean is that there's a feeling of novelty in being able to read something like this title, given my tiny vocabulary and limited exposure to Cyrillic typefaces. There's a deliberate styling that I've never seen, but it tickles some part of my brain that gets excited when it sees something foreign but recognizable. Kind of like how I can't help giggling sometimes reading Esperanto because I recognize a lot of the words in their Esperantized forms. It's kind of lame, but there's probably a term for that - "foreign novelty" or something.
posted by MrFTBN at 12:32 PM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


This was the ONLY TIME I was ever going to get to brag about owning an Esperanto version of The Hobbit (instead of, you know, cringing) and these bastards took it away from me.

There are so many books translated into Latin these days.. I wonder if there's a Latin version of The Hobbit.

Apparently not. But you can get Harry Potter in Latin...

Someone did do the first page or so:
Ecce foramine sub terra hobbitus olim habitavit: sordidum squalidum sudorum clausulis vermiculorum fartum ac redolenti madore madenti odore non foramen, nec autem aridum harenosius et ita ornatum cui nulla edulia essent aut sedile quae fruniscereris: foramen hobbitale habitaculum fuit, semper quae habitacula habitabillima quidem sunt.

Orbiculato omnino ostio foramen quasi navitae fenestrula, viridi cui picto inest bulla aenea ipso in meditullio flavescens in splendorem, quo aperto quidam apparet cuniculus tubulatior pro vestibulo, quo transito idem nunc ullo sine fumo habitallimus videtur, muris ligno laqueatus, solo tesseris tapetisque tesseratus, sellulis perpolitis bene instructus cum paxillisque creber quibus compluribus petasi et tunicae superiniciantur — hobbito hospites apud se oblectandi magno erant studio. Cuniculus collis in latus, quem Collem omnes longe lateque vocabant, penitus pervagans recte recedit paene, secundum quem ostiola orbiculata quae multa exeant illinc, aliud aliorsus muro in alterno. Hobbito conscendere scalas libuit non multum: cubicula lavationes haud pauca promptuaria vestiaria plurima vestiumque plena culinae cenacula omnia in solo eodem, omnia quidem eodem in cuniculo. Omnia ad sinistram ineunti optima conlocata conclavia, quippe quae fenestrulas haberent sola, quae orbiculatae et alte recessae hortulum eius ac ultra circumspectabant prata declivia usque ad flumen.

Locupletissimus fuit hic hobbitus nomine Baggins. Collem circa Bagginses post memoriam hobbitorum habitaverant, atque tota illos vicina honestissimos habuit, non modo quod opulentes illi essent plerique sed etiam id quod temerarium aliquid aut improvisum agerent numquam: exspectares causa inaudita nullo negotio quid de quolibet quilibet diceret Baggins. De uno ex Bagginsibus haec est narratio quem ad modum peregrinatus sit temere atque improvisa agentem omnino dicentemque se offenderit. Licet sit factus male honestus vicinis, at ille tamen consecutus — sed mane: ipse num in fine quid consecutus sit videbis tu.
And there's a long list of international Hobbits that I found here.
posted by hippybear at 12:55 PM on May 2, 2011


I like Gnomo best.
posted by Neofelis at 4:50 PM on May 2, 2011


benito.strauss, here are more of Tolkien's own illustrations for the Hobbit. "Bilbo comes to the huts of the raft elves" was the cover of the paperback Hobbit I read first in the early 70's, so I may be sentimental towards it because of that.

Nice post curious nu!
posted by various at 5:19 PM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


If my friend hadn't borrowed my copy, forever, I'd have sent them a Greek version.

Who knew Lobelia Baggins would have made such an impression?
posted by ersatz at 7:28 AM on May 3, 2011


The Hobbit connection here is a bit tenuous, but bear with me: Remember Barbara Remington's "Wilderness" poster? The left third of it was originally commissioned by Ballantine for the cover of the '65 edition of the Hobbit (long story).

I mention that, of course, as an excuse to bring up the cover art from the original edition of the Harvard Lampoon's Bored of the Rings. (Said cover was a parody of Remington's work, perpetrated by none other than Michael K. Frith. Yes, that one.)
posted by sourcequench at 11:12 AM on May 3, 2011


For anyone who is into the Tolkien illustrations that various linked to above, I cannot more highly recommend J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator, which has graced many a coffee table of mine for years and I never tire of poring over.
posted by naoko at 3:36 PM on May 3, 2011


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