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The Lord of the Rings. by  J. R. R TOLKIEN - First Edition - 1954-55 - from Peter Harrington (SKU: 141591)

The Lord of the Rings.

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The Lord of the Rings.: The Fellowship of the Ring; The Two Towers; The Return of the King.


  • Used
  • hardcover
  • First
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This seller has earned a 5 of 5 Stars rating from Biblio customers.
London, United Kingdom
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About This Item

London: George Allen and Unwin, 1954-55. A fine set of Tolkien's influential masterpiece First editions, first impressions of The Two Towers and The Return of the King. "Second impression" of The Fellowship of the Ring. Tolkien's work is one of the most popular and influential works of literature in the 20th century, containing richly rendered detail of a new mythological world, not yet surpassed.
C. S. Lewis wrote that "no imaginary world has been projected which is at once as multifarious and so true to its own inner laws; none so seemingly objective, so disinfected from the taint of an author's merely individual psychology; none so relevant to the actual human situation yet so free from allegory". Tolkien, a noted scholar of Old English, conceived the idea for his tales set in "Middle Earth" while in the trenches of the First World War; its immense influence has been felt ever since publication.
Hammond and Anderson state that the publisher's request for a second impression of The Fellowship of the Ring caused difficulty at the printers. Jarrold & Sons had distributed the type after printing the first impression and they therefore suggested that they might reprint by photo-offset from first impression sheets. The publisher rejected this proposal, as the quality of photo-offset printing was not as clear as printing from letterpress. The printer therefore had to reset the volume and no one at the publisher's seems to have known about the resetting. Tolkien did not see a new proof. In strict bibliographical terms, the "second impression" of this title is therefore a "second edition, first impression" and, as noted by Hammond and Anderson, the printers "in resetting introduced new errors, some of which have remained in print for many years". The binding is slightly shorter than the other two volumes.
This copy of The Return of the King is in Hammond and Anderson's first state (signature mark "4" present on page 49 and lines of type sagging in the middle). The conclusions of the bibliographers have since been challenged. 3 volumes, octavo. Original red cloth, lettering to spines in gilt, top edges red. With dust jackets. Folding map in red and black at rear of each volume. Slight leaning to spines; a bright set in near-fine condition. Extremities of dust jackets very slightly frayed, slightly toned with minor staining to jacket for volume three; else fine and unclipped examples. Bleiler, Supernatural Fiction 1606; 1607; 1608; Hammond & Anderson A5a i (see p. 97), ii, & iii.


The Lord of the Rings is an epic high fantasy novel written by philologist and Oxford University professor J. R. R. Tolkien. The story began as a sequel to Tolkien's earlier, less complex children's fantasy novel The Hobbit (1937), but eventually developed into a much larger work. It was written in stages between 1937 and 1949, much of it during World War II.


On Aug 15 2020, a reader said:
This is one of the most engaging, enjoyable, and creative books I have ever read. The way Tolkien creates a new world from scratch, new languages, new races. It is a work of art. And the fact that this book can be enjoyed by young children and adults alike makes it stand out among the works of fiction that fill our libraries these days. I would recommend these books to anyone who has not already read them.

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Peter Harrington GB (GB)
Bookseller's Inventory #
The Lord of the Rings.
Book condition
London: George Allen and Unwin,
Date Published

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Peter Harrington

All major credit cards are accepted. Both UK pounds and US dollars (exchange rate to be agreed) accepted. Books may be returned within 14 days of receipt for any reason, please notify first of returned goods.

About the Seller

Peter Harrington

Seller rating:
This seller has earned a 5 of 5 Stars rating from Biblio customers. member since 2006
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About Peter Harrington

Since its establishment, Peter Harrington has specialised in sourcing, selling and buying the finest quality original first editions, signed, rare and antiquarian books, fine bindings and library sets. Peter Harrington first began selling rare books from the Chelsea Antiques Market on London's King's Road. For the past twenty years the business has been run by Pom Harrington, Peter's son.


Some terminology that may be used in this description includes:

The collective of the top, fore and bottom edges of the text block of the book, being that part of the edges of the pages of a... [More]
The decorative application of gold or gold coloring to a portion of a book on the spine, edges of the text block, or an inlay in... [More]
"Cloth-bound" generally refers to a hardcover book with cloth covering the outside of the book covers. The cloth is stretched... [More]
Another of the terms referring to page or book size, octavo refers to a standard printer's sheet folded four times, producing... [More]
A new book is a book previously not circulated to a buyer. Although a new book is typically free of any faults or defects, "new"... [More]
A book in fine condition exhibits no flaws. A fine condition book closely approaches As New condition, but may lack the... [More]
Sometimes used as another term for dust jacket, a protective and often decorative wrapper, usually made of paper which wraps... [More]
Any printing of a book which follows the original edition. By definition, a reprint is not a first edition.
first state
used in book collecting to refer to a book from the earliest run of a first edition, generally distinguished by a change in some... [More]

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