Tolkien Gateway

Smith of Wootton Major

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{{book|
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{{book
title=Smith of Wootton Major|
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| title=Smith of Wootton Major
image=[[Image:Smith of Wootton Major (edited by Verlyn Flieger).jpg|225px]]|
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| image=[[Image:Smith of Wootton Major (edited by Verlyn Flieger).jpg|225px]]
author=[[J.R.R. Tolkien]], [[Verlyn Flieger]]|
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| author=[[J.R.R. Tolkien]]
isbn=0007202474|
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| editor=[[Verlyn Flieger]] (for the [[2005]] Expanded Edition)
publisher= [[HarperCollins]]|
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| illustrator=[[Pauline Baynes]]
date=September 5, 2005|
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| publisher=[[Allen and Unwin|George Allen and Unwin]] (UK)
format=Hardcover|
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| date=[[9 November]] [[1967]] (UK)
pages= 160|
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| format=Hardcover
amazon=http://www.amazon.com/Smith-Wootton-Major-J-R-R-Tolkien/dp/0007202474|
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| pages=160
amazonprice=$22.37
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| isbn=0007202474
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| series=
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| precededby=
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| followedby=
 
}}
 
}}
'''''Smith of Wootton Major''''', first published in 1967, is a short story by [[J.R.R. Tolkien]].  
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'''''Smith of Wootton Major''''', first published in [[1967]], is a short story by [[J.R.R. Tolkien]].  
  
 
== Background ==
 
== Background ==
The book grew out of an attempt to explain the meaning of [[Faery]] by means of a brief story about a cook and his cake.  This would have been part of a preface by Tolkien to George MacDonald's famous faerie story The Golden Key.  But the story grew from there and became a tale in its own right.
+
The book grew out of an attempt to explain the meaning of [[Faery]] by means of a brief story about a cook and his cake.  This would have been part of a preface by Tolkien to [[George MacDonald]]'s faerie story ''The Golden Key''.  But the story grew from there and became a tale in its own right.
  
 
The book was originally called "'''The Great Cake'''", but the title was changed to "'''Smith of Wootton Major'''" in an attempt to suggest an early work by P.G. Wodehouse.
 
The book was originally called "'''The Great Cake'''", but the title was changed to "'''Smith of Wootton Major'''" in an attempt to suggest an early work by P.G. Wodehouse.
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The story was first published in the Christmas edition of ''Redbook'' magazine, New York on # 23 November 1967 but without the illustrations by [[Pauline Baynes]] that appeared in the published book.
 
The story was first published in the Christmas edition of ''Redbook'' magazine, New York on # 23 November 1967 but without the illustrations by [[Pauline Baynes]] that appeared in the published book.
  
It is not definitely connected to the [[Middle-earth]] legendarium.  Both ''Faery'' and [[Valinor]] are lands outside of the normal world, but Valinor cannot normally be visited by mortals.  There are lesser elven kingdoms that humans can visit and return: [[Faramir]] mentions visitors to [[Lothlórien|Lórien]].
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It is not definitely connected to the [[Middle-earth]] [[legendarium]].
  
It is sometimes published in an omnibus edition with "[[Farmer Giles of Ham]]", another Tolkien novella with illustrations by [[Pauline Baynes]].  The two stories are not obviously linked, though an ingenious person could devise a common framework.
+
It is sometimes published in an omnibus edition with "[[Farmer Giles of Ham]]", another Tolkien novella with illustrations by [[Pauline Baynes]], although the two stories are not obviously linked.
  
 
== The story ==  
 
== The story ==  
  
The village of [[Wootton Major]] is well-known around the countryside for its annual festivals, which are particularly famous for their culinary delights. The biggest festival of them all is the [[Feast of Good Children]]. This festival is celebrated only once every twenty-four years, and the celebrations take the form of a party to which twenty-four children of the village are invited. The highpoint of the party is the Great Cake, which is remarkable for its hidden magical ingredients. Whoever swallows one of these is given the rare gift of an entry into the Land of [[Faery]].
+
The village of [[Wootton Major]] is well-known around the countryside for its annual festivals, which are particularly famous for their culinary delights. The biggest festival of them all is the [[Feast of Good Children]]. This festival is celebrated only once every twenty-four years, and the celebrations take the form of a party to which twenty-four children of the village are invited. The highpoint of the party is the [[Great Cake]], which is remarkable for its hidden magical ingredients. Whoever swallows one of these is given the rare gift of an entry into the Land of Faery.
  
This year the magic star hidden inside the Great Cake was eaten by a [[Smith|blacksmith's son]]. The boy did not feel any of its magical properties at once but on the morning of his tenth birthday the star fixed itself on his forehead and marked him as one intimate with the Faeryfolk. This boy grew up to be a blacksmith like his father, but in his free time he roamed into the Land of Faery. The star on his forehead protected him from the evils threatening mortals in that land, and the Folk called him [[Starbrow]] and told him about their land and its hidden beauties and dangers.  
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This year the magic star hidden inside the Great Cake was eaten by a [[Smith Smithson|blacksmith's son]]. The boy did not feel any of its magical properties at once but on the morning of his tenth birthday the star fixed itself on his forehead and marked him as one intimate with the Faeryfolk. This boy grew up to be a blacksmith like his father, but in his free time he roamed into the Land of Faery. The star on his forehead protected him from the evils threatening mortals in that land, and the Folk called him [[Starbrow]] and told him about their land and its hidden beauties and dangers.  
  
 
The years passed and it was now time for another Feast of Good Children. Smith had had his precious gift for most of his life now and the time had come for it to be passed on to some other child. So he gave up the star, and the mysterious new Master Cook baked it into the festive cake once more.
 
The years passed and it was now time for another Feast of Good Children. Smith had had his precious gift for most of his life now and the time had come for it to be passed on to some other child. So he gave up the star, and the mysterious new Master Cook baked it into the festive cake once more.
  
Funny, frightening and always fascinating, the book is in part dominated by the character of the earlier [[Master Cook]], a shallow, sly and lazy man called [[Nokes]]. He is the foremost among the non-believers, and dismisses all things magical as mere dreams and fancies. In the end it is he who meets the [[King of Faery]] and who is told off by him for his greed and indolence.
+
Funny, frightening and always fascinating, the book is in part dominated by the character of the earlier [[Master Cook]], a shallow, sly and lazy man called [[Nokes]]. He is the foremost among the non-believers, and dismisses all things magical as mere dreams and fancies. In the end it is he who meets the [[Alf|King of Faery]] and who is told off by him for his greed and indolence.
  
 
== The Critical Edition ==
 
== The Critical Edition ==
  
The most recent edition of [[Smith of Wootton Major]] is a critical edition prepared by [[Verlyn Flieger]] and published in 2005.
+
In 2005, a critical edition of ''Smith of Wootton Major'' was published, prepared by [[Verlyn Flieger]].
  
 
In addition to editorial Notes and Commentary, the edition includes much material that was hitherto unpublished, including facsimiles of manuscripts and typescripts of previous versions, a Time Scheme, new essays (especially one dealing with the background of the story and the nature of [[Faerie]]) and notes by [[J.R.R. Tolkien]], and a list of characters.<ref>[http://mythus.com/smith.html Mythus] (Verlyn Flieger's website), as of 18 August 2010</ref>
 
In addition to editorial Notes and Commentary, the edition includes much material that was hitherto unpublished, including facsimiles of manuscripts and typescripts of previous versions, a Time Scheme, new essays (especially one dealing with the background of the story and the nature of [[Faerie]]) and notes by [[J.R.R. Tolkien]], and a list of characters.<ref>[http://mythus.com/smith.html Mythus] (Verlyn Flieger's website), as of 18 August 2010</ref>
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== See also ==
 
== See also ==
 
*[[Essay concerning Smith of Wootton Major]]
 
*[[Essay concerning Smith of Wootton Major]]
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==External links==
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*[http://www.johngarth.co.uk/php/SmithofWoottonMajor.php Review of the expanded edition] by [[John Garth]]
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{{references}}
 
{{references}}
 
{{perilousrealm}}
 
{{perilousrealm}}
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{{title|italics}}
 
[[Category:Books by J.R.R. Tolkien]]
 
[[Category:Books by J.R.R. Tolkien]]
 
[[Category:Books by Verlyn Flieger]]
 
[[Category:Books by Verlyn Flieger]]
 
[[Category:Fiction books]]
 
[[Category:Fiction books]]
 
[[Category:Publications by title]]
 
[[Category:Publications by title]]
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[[Category:Smith of Wootton Major| ]]
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[[de:Der Schmied von Großholzingen]]
 
[[de:Der Schmied von Großholzingen]]
 
[[fi:Seppä ja satumaa]]
 
[[fi:Seppä ja satumaa]]

Revision as of 12:03, 19 October 2012

Smith of Wootton Major
Smith of Wootton Major (edited by Verlyn Flieger).jpg
AuthorJ.R.R. Tolkien
EditorVerlyn Flieger (for the 2005 Expanded Edition)
IllustratorPauline Baynes
PublisherGeorge Allen and Unwin (UK)
Released9 November 1967 (UK)
FormatHardcover
Pages160
ISBN0007202474

Smith of Wootton Major, first published in 1967, is a short story by J.R.R. Tolkien.

Contents

Background

The book grew out of an attempt to explain the meaning of Faery by means of a brief story about a cook and his cake. This would have been part of a preface by Tolkien to George MacDonald's faerie story The Golden Key. But the story grew from there and became a tale in its own right.

The book was originally called "The Great Cake", but the title was changed to "Smith of Wootton Major" in an attempt to suggest an early work by P.G. Wodehouse.

The story was first published in the Christmas edition of Redbook magazine, New York on # 23 November 1967 but without the illustrations by Pauline Baynes that appeared in the published book.

It is not definitely connected to the Middle-earth legendarium.

It is sometimes published in an omnibus edition with "Farmer Giles of Ham", another Tolkien novella with illustrations by Pauline Baynes, although the two stories are not obviously linked.

The story

The village of Wootton Major is well-known around the countryside for its annual festivals, which are particularly famous for their culinary delights. The biggest festival of them all is the Feast of Good Children. This festival is celebrated only once every twenty-four years, and the celebrations take the form of a party to which twenty-four children of the village are invited. The highpoint of the party is the Great Cake, which is remarkable for its hidden magical ingredients. Whoever swallows one of these is given the rare gift of an entry into the Land of Faery.

This year the magic star hidden inside the Great Cake was eaten by a blacksmith's son. The boy did not feel any of its magical properties at once but on the morning of his tenth birthday the star fixed itself on his forehead and marked him as one intimate with the Faeryfolk. This boy grew up to be a blacksmith like his father, but in his free time he roamed into the Land of Faery. The star on his forehead protected him from the evils threatening mortals in that land, and the Folk called him Starbrow and told him about their land and its hidden beauties and dangers.

The years passed and it was now time for another Feast of Good Children. Smith had had his precious gift for most of his life now and the time had come for it to be passed on to some other child. So he gave up the star, and the mysterious new Master Cook baked it into the festive cake once more.

Funny, frightening and always fascinating, the book is in part dominated by the character of the earlier Master Cook, a shallow, sly and lazy man called Nokes. He is the foremost among the non-believers, and dismisses all things magical as mere dreams and fancies. In the end it is he who meets the King of Faery and who is told off by him for his greed and indolence.

The Critical Edition

In 2005, a critical edition of Smith of Wootton Major was published, prepared by Verlyn Flieger.

In addition to editorial Notes and Commentary, the edition includes much material that was hitherto unpublished, including facsimiles of manuscripts and typescripts of previous versions, a Time Scheme, new essays (especially one dealing with the background of the story and the nature of Faerie) and notes by J.R.R. Tolkien, and a list of characters.[1]

See also

External links

References

  1. Mythus (Verlyn Flieger's website), as of 18 August 2010
Tales from the Perilous Realm
Farmer Giles of HamThe Adventures of Tom BombadilLeaf by NiggleSmith of Wootton MajorRoverandom (since 2008)