Hobbit, The, or There and Back Again (1937)
The first published excursion by Tolkien into ‘Middle Earth’, an intricately realized other world. Hobbits are the bucolic residents of ‘the Shire’, based on the pastoral Midlands. The reluctant hero, Bilbo Baggins, is drawn into a quest for dragon's gold in wild lands by the magician Gandalf, in the course of which he acquires a magic ring which is central to Tolkien's epic, The Lord of the Rings. The book was a forerunner of the late 20th‐century vogue for fantasy, and achieved worldwide popularity in the 1960s.