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[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.

Published: George Allen and Unwin, 1954–55

Stock code: 88300

Price: £12,500

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First editions, first impressions. The Lord of the Rings trilogy is one of the most influential literary works of the century. Its first reception was mixed: favourable and perceptive reviews from C. S. Lewis and from W. H. Auden, who had attended Tolkien’s Oxford lectures, were countered by others who were hostile, sometimes bitterly so. But the trilogy went on to astonishing sales and forged a major change in public literary taste. “Heroic fantasy” has since become one of the most commercially successful literary genres, having a transforming impact upon the entertainment industry, from electronic games to movies.

3 volumes, octavo. Original red cloth, titles to spines gilt, top edges stained red. With the dust jackets. Housed in a black morocco backed bookform folding case. Folding map by the author at end of each volume. Two minor marks to cloth of volume 1, very slight rubbing to ends and corners of each volume, titles oxidised to spine of volume 2, light spotting and toning to endpapers of volumes 1 and 2, and a single spot to the fore-edge of volume 1; a nice fresh set in excellent condition, the jackets lightly rubbed along edges, with very small splits to some corners and small loss at the foot of spine panel in volumes 2, discreet internal repair to the head of spine panel in volume 1, very faint marks and dust-soiling to jackets on volumes 1 and 3, and slight fading to the titles from spine panels in volumes 1 and 3.

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