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J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, or There and Back Again, is a children's fantasy novel. It was released in 1937 to widespread critical acclaim, earning a Carnegie Medal nomination and a prize for best juvenile fiction from the New York Herald Tribune. The book is still widely read and considered a classic in children's literature.

The Hobbit is set in Tolkien's imaginary world and follows Bilbo Baggins, the titular hobbit, on his journey to acquire a part of the treasure guarded by the dragon Smaug. Bilbo's adventure takes him away from his happy, rural life and into more dark land.

Most chapters introduce a specific creature or type of creature from Tolkien's geography, and the story is recounted in the form of an episodic adventure. By accepting the disreputable, romantic, fey, and adventurous elements of his personality and using his wits and common sense, Bilbo achieves a new degree of maturity, competence, and wisdom. The Battle of Five Armies brings the plot to a close, with many of the people and creatures from previous chapters reappearing to fight.

Personal growth and forms of heroism are central themes of the story, along with motifs of warfare. These themes have led critics to view Tolkien's own experiences during World War I as instrumental in shaping the story. The author's scholarly knowledge of Germanic philology and interest in mythology and fairy tales are often noted as influences.The story's key themes are personal growth and various forms of courage, as well as military overtones. These themes have led some reviewers to believe that Tolkien's personal experiences during World War I influenced the novel. The author's interest in mythology and fairy tales, as well as his scholarly knowledge of Germanic philology, are frequently mentioned as influences.

The book's critical and financial success encouraged the publisher, and he sought a sequel. Tolkien made retrospective concessions for it in The Hobbit as his work on The Lord of the Rings continued. The second edition incorporated these minor but substantial adjustments. Minor changes were made in subsequent editions, particularly those reflecting Tolkien's evolving understanding of the world, which Bilbo wandered into.

There has never been an out-of-print edition of the work. It has spawned numerous adaptations for the theater, television, radio, board games, and video games. On their own, several of these adaptations have achieved critical acclaim.

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