As a collector and bookseller, I’ve seen many versions and editions of J.R.R. Tolkien’s beloved novel The Hobbit over the years. However, it wasn’t until recently that I was aware of Swedish and Finnish language editions that were illustrated by the anti-Fascist cartoonist and writer Tove Jansson. Although the creator of the beloved Moomins had great success with most of her projects, both of her illustrated versions of The Hobbit were critical failures.
Jansson was first commissioned to create a series of illustrations in 1960, but didn’t complete the black and white drawings until 1962. Most Tolkien fans found her interpretation of his characters and storylines to be wanting. Here’s a sample from the books, what do you think ?
I’m not a Tolkien fan. I find these illustrations charming,and I guess that won’t do.
Maybe it’s because I’m accustomed to seeing Tolkien artwork done in a realistic style, that these drawings don’t feel as matching the “The Hobbit.” But that’s not due to Tove Jansson. I think her drawings are quite good. I agree with the other commenter that the drawings are charming. Yet there’s that disconnect in my mind. Which is interesting, because as a teenager in the 80s I rented the VHS of the animated movie version of the “The Hobbit.” It came out in 1977, and it wasn’t done in a realistic style either. (Info about that movie: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0077687/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_7)
Enchanting, but far less scary than those we are used to. Golum looks very different, if that’s him in the underground lake. Odd really because this Nordic tradition was one of the sources Tolkien drew on.
Gorgeous, thanks for sharing