Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company / The Riverside Press, Circa 1956. Various printings of early editions, and a first American edition. Hardcover. 423; 352; 416pp. Octavo [23 cm] Blue cloth covered boards with gilt stamped titles on the spines and front covers. Very good. The extremities are subtly bumped, rubbed and browned. The spines are a little rolled. The edges of the text block are very lightly foxed. There are long thin glue stains or patches of adhered paper on the rear pastedowns along the hinges. The pages are yellowed. There is a small gouge and moisture stain on the front cover of volume 1. The text block of The Return of the King is just starting to crack at p. 241. *The crucial map is not present in this volume. The dust jackets of volumes 1 and 2 are in good condition, while the jacket of volume 2 is in poor condition. The jackets have rubbing, age-toning and creasing. They are also lightly stained. There are numerous small losses from the edges of the dust jackets of volumes 1 and 3. The largest loss is from the paper at head of the spine of volume 1, and measures 2 inches wide by 1 inch at its deepest point. There are many closed tears along the edges and folds as well. The longest closed tear measures 3 inches long. The jacket of volume 1 is subtly damp stained, and the jacket of volume 3 has very minor moisture staining. The dust jacket of volume 2 is tattered and torn. The jacket has been torn completely apart in two places. One of these tears has been covered with tape. There are a few other tape repairs as well. The majority of the fore edge of the rear panel is absent. The Return of the King is a first edition, with the date, 1956, on the title page. Number 4 present at the foot of p. 49. $5.00 price on jacket. *The Fellowship of the Ring is an early book club edition (no price on the dust jacket flap). Item #31181
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (1892-1973) was a scholar of the English language, focusing on Old and Middle English. While many other authors had published works of fantasy before Tolkien, the huge success of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings when they were published in paperback in the United States led directly to a renewed interest in the genre. Tolkien’s work is as popular and vital today as when it first appeared.