#Friday56 & #BookBeginnings: JRR Tolkien's Smith of Wootton Major


There was a village once, not very long ago for those with long memories, nor very far away for those with very long legs. Wootton Major it was called because it was larger than Wootton Minor, a few miles away deep in the trees; but it was not very large, though it was at the time prosperous, and a fair number of folk lived in it, good, bad, and mixed, as is usual.
- p. 7

For Friday 56:
"Yes Master. But do you really know what the star was made of? Don't trouble your mind about it. Someone swallowed it, I assure you."
- p. 56


About Smith of Wootton Major by J.R.R. Tolkien*:  A charming new pocket 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. What began as a preface to The Golden Key by George MacDonald eventually grew into this charming short story, so named by Tolkien to suggest an early work by P.G. Wodehouse.

Composed almost a decade after The Lord of the Rings, and when his lifelong occupation with the `Silmarillion' was winding down, Smith of Wootton Major was the product of ripened experience and reflection. It was published in 1967 as a small hardback, complete with charming black and white illustrations by Pauline Baynes, and would be the last work of fiction to be published in Tolkien's own lifetime.

Now, almost 50 years on, this enchanting tale of a wanderer who finds his way into the perilous realm of Faery is being published once again as a pocket hardback. Contained here are many intriguing links to the world of Middle-earth, as well as to Tolkien's other tales, and this new edition is enhanced with a facsimile of the illustrated first edition, a manuscript of Tolkien's early draft of the story, notes and an alternate ending, and a lengthy essay on the nature of Faery.

*** 

So was at the thrift store agin (yes again!) and look what the daughter found! I saw the author -- JRR Tolkien -- and without hesitation said "Take it." Being a huge Tolkien fan, I was surprised not to have even heard of this title or even thought he would make an illustrated book. Did you know, this is his last published work after Lord of the Rings? This is a 1975 copy and I love the illustrations in this edition.

Are you familiar with this book by Tolkien?


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© guiltless readingMaira Gall