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TOLKIEN, J. R. R. - BILBO'S LAST SONG Illustrated by Pauline Baynes. 1974 Hymen Press.††

 

  A total rip off publishing travesty of a book, which I was glad not to have spent any money on. This is a purchase for Tolkien completionist only. The work is pleasant enough. It is the last minstrel-lay of Bilbo Baggins, the Hobbit from Tolkienís The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings books.This is Bilboís song of Farewell to Middle Earth as he sails off with Gandalf, Frodo, Galadriel and the Elves to distant shores, never to return. (It may be a metaphor for impending death). The song, or poem if you prefer, is presented twice. The first study is heavily illustrated, line-by-line with one line per page, with glossy, pretty but rather trite pictures. Under these pictures are illustrations to Bilboís other adventures, as given in his book, there And Back Again (The Hobbit).The second presentation of his last song is the poem just as Tolkien wrote it, a twenty four-line poem on one page. Padding a minor work like this into a full sized volume that sells mostly in hardback editions is almost insulting. The book was issued just after Tolkien died and marks the beginning of the franchising of Middle Earth. It is cheap cash in piece, and it shows. Baynes has illustrated other Tolkien work of note, such as Father Giles Of Ham, which is at least worthy of being called a book. Bilboís Last Song marks the time at which Tolkienís name was starting to be used out of context everywhere. From now on many lame fantasies were promoted as Ďcomparable to Tolkien at his bestí. The writerís son, Christopher Tolkien began to work leftover notes from his fatherís study and write new Middle Earth books of grossly inferior quality in his dadís name. Only the Ralph Bakshi and Peter Jackson films have helped restore Tolkienís work to its true status as masterpieces of English Literature. Bilboís Last Song is a decent enough poem, but it belongs in an anthology. It is not a book in itself unless you insist on it. http://www.tolkiensociety.org/

 

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