Background for The Hobbit

Tolkien fought in World War One, and though The Hobbit is a work of fantasy, his experiences as a soldier in France clearly informed his writing. When Yugoslavian nationalists assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, the Austro- Hungarian Empire declared war on Serbia, and the two nations’ military alliances with other countries eventually drew all of Europe into a military conflict. Italy formed an uneasy alliance with Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, while England formed an alliance with France and Russia. The complicated five-way battle at the end ofThe Hobbit, which leads to a series of hastily-established alliances and treaties, might be Tolkien’s version of World War One. LITCHART

The success of The Hobbit inspired Tolkien to write the three longer novels about Middle Earth collectively known as The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (1954), The Two Towers (1954), and The Return of the King (1955). 

KEY FACTS

• Full Title: The Hobbit, or There and Back Again

• Where Written: Pembroke College, Oxford

• When Published: September 21, 1937

• Genre:Fantasy; Epic

• Setting:Middle Earth

• Climax: The Battle of the Five Armies

• Antagonist:Smaug the dragon

• Point of View:Third person omniscient

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