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The Princess and the Goblin - Illustrated

The Royal Mint

The Princess and the Goblin - A BOOK THAT INSPIRED TOLKIEN

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Pages: 232
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Color: Black and White
ISBN: 978-1-925110-09-8
Publication Date: 2018
Trim Size: 152mm x 229mm (6" x 9")

Written by George MacDonald, illustrated by Jessie Wilcox Smith, first published 1872


J.R.R. Tolkien was a great admirer of George MacDonald’s fairy-stories. When his children were young, he used to read The Princess and the Goblin to them in the evenings, before they went to bed.

‘Tolkien knew well MacDonald’s children’s books “The Princess and the Goblin” and “The Princess and Curdie”, both of which influenced Tolkien’s depiction of goblins in The Hobbit,’ writes Douglas A. Anderson in ‘Tales Before Tolkien: The Roots of Modern Fantasy’.

Dart-Thornton’s introduction notes similarities between this story and Tolkien’s works, for example: ‘The wise, magical, prescient grandmother of the Princess Irene, seems to be a literary ancestor of Galadriel; centuries old and yet looking young, a queen, a healer, a beautiful, golden-haired woman associated with water.
‘Princess Irene has a magic ring which is associated with invisibility, being linked to a semi-visible thread. This ring aids her in an escape from the Goblin Underground, much as The One Ring aids Bilbo in The Hobbit. This is the ring that features later in The Lord of the Rings.’

This new edition contains one illustration by Arthur Hughes from the 1911 edition and ten by Jessie Willcox-Smith from the 1920 edition - published when Tolkien was aged 28, his eldest child was three years old and his second child had just been born. The delicately beautiful drawings of Willcox-Smith have been loved by generations of children to this very day.


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The Professor's Bookshelf is recommended by Chris Clark of The Satiety Diet
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