Smith of Wootton Major

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9780007202478: Smith of Wootton Major

A new, expanded edition of one of Tolkien’s major pieces of short fiction, and his only finished work dating from after publication of The Lord of the Rings; it contains many previously unpublished texts.

In 1964 J.R.R. Tolkien was invited to write the preface to a new edition of “The Golden Key” by George MacDonald. Accepting the invitation, Tolkien proposed the preface would explain the meaning of Fairy through a brief story about a cook and a cake. But the story grew, and took on a life of its own, and the preface was abandoned. Tolkien eventually gave it the title, “Smith of Wootton Major”, to suggest an early work by P.G. Wodehouse or a story in the Boy’s Own paper. It was published in 1967 as a small hardback, complete with charming black and white illustrations by Pauline Baynes.

Now, almost 40 years on, a facsimile of this early illustrated edition is being republished, but in addition to this enchanting story the new edition includes:

• Tolkien’s own account of the genesis of the story
• Tolkien’s Time-Scheme and Characters
• Tolkien’s discussion of the shadowy but important figure of “Grandfather Rider” and a lengthy, 10,000-word essay on the nature of Faery
• Early draft versions and alternative endings
• Foreword by the editor, containing a brief history of the story’s composition and publication, and its connection to Tolkien’s other published stories

Contained within “Smith of Wootton Major” are many intriguing links to the world of Middle-earth, as well as Tolkien’s other tales, and in this ‘extended edition’ the reader will finally discover the full story behind this major piece of short fiction.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

Review:

“The book has a haunting quality, characteristic of the best of the ‘deeper’ folktales. It is a beautiful, memorable story.” Times Educational Supplement

“It may be compared to the most delicate miniature but it is one of a rare kind: the more closely it is examined the more it reveals the grandeur of its conception. Whoever reads it at eight will still be going back to it at eighty.” New Statesman

“A tremendously valuable volume with important new insights into Tolkien’s way of working. It’s also a beautiful hardcover edition of the story.” Mythprint

From the Back Cover:

J.R.R. Tolkien's enchanting fairy-story.

Every twenty-four years in the village of Wootton Major the Feast of Good Children was held. This was a very special occasion and to celebrate it a Great Cake was prepared, to feed the twenty-four children who were invited. The cake was very sweet and rich and entirely covered in sugar icing. But inside there were some very strange ingredients and whoever swallowed one of them would gain the gift of entry into the Land of Faery…

"The book has a haunting quality characteristic of the 'deeper' folk-tales. It is a beautiful memorable story."
TIMES EDUCATIONAL SUPPLEMENT

"May be compared to the most delicate miniature but it is one of a rare kind: the more closely it is examined the more it reveals the grandeur of its conception. And whoever reads it at eight, will no doubt still be going back to it at eighty."
NEW STATESMAN

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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Tolkien, J. R. R.
Published by Harpercollins (2005)
ISBN 10: 0007202474 ISBN 13: 9780007202478
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