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Tales from the Perilous Realm Hardcover – November 17, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
All of these stories have been published before in different formats, and I have loved them all for many years. I purchased Tales From the Perilous Realm in the interests of completing my collection but with some trepidation, because I knew the illustrations would be different. The late Pauline Baynes illustrated Farmer Giles, Smith, and Tom Bombadil, and her vivid interpretations are so marvelous that I dreaded seeing any depictions by any other artist. But as soon as I opened Tales From a Perilous Realm my fears were allayed. Alan Lee's pencil illustrations are enchanting in their own right, allowing the reader to experience the stories anew with additional pleasure and delight. I will always love Pauline Baynes' illustrations, but Alan Lee's efforts evoke Tolkien's worlds just as vividly. This will be a book to be treasured.
"The Adventures of Tom Bombadil" involves two long poems with Tom as the main character, a number of poems from "The Lord of the Rings" as well as other assorted poetry concerning Middle Earth.
"Farmer Giles of Ham" is an extraordinary tale about a wise farmer who outwits a wicked (but not overbold) dragon. A wonderful story for children -- and full of delightful (and deliberate) anachronisms for the alert adult.
"Leaf by Niggle" is a profound and powerful story about death, life, Purgatory and eternity. It should be read in conjunction with Tolkien's non-fiction essay "On Fairy Stories".
"Smith of Wooten Major", one of the last works by the Master, tells the story of a very ordinary person who is given a very extraordinary gift. (The story also suggests the presence of the sacramental in the act of feasting).
Altogether, a wonderful collection, and one that is sure to delight. Only those far gone in the desubstantialization of the human race could fail to appreciate these stories.
Tom Shippey's introduction is, as always, incisive and insightful, packed with quotable phrases and interesting observations placing these shorter pieces within Tolkien's oeuvre. But it is aimed at the new reader of these works - it is a guide to how to read them, not ground-breaking new scholarship.
I am personally not a fan of realism in illustration of Tolkien's works; I find that a more stylized approach better suits the atmosphere of his writing. This is perhaps purely a matter of personal taste, but I can't read the stories included in this collection without a deep longing for the original illustrations by Pauline Baynes - particularly for Farmer Giles, where Tolkien himself said he felt her artwork reduced his text to a commentary on the drawings. To my mind, Lee's pale, washed-out pencil drawings hardly hold a candle to Baynes' ability to convey the humor, enchantment, and melancholy of Tolkien's shorter works.
All of the included works by Tolkien are readily available elsewhere. Roverandom, Farmer Giles, Smith, and On Fairy-stories have recently appeared in excellent stand-alone editions with critical commentary and, when applicable, the original illustrations by Baynes or Tolkien himself. All but Roverandom and Smith are included in The Tolkien Reader, which is still in print, though alas only in paperback; I imagine this collection is meant to replace it in hardback.
If you are a fan of Alan Lee, the answer may be yes, though for most of the tales there are actually only two drawings each.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I love Tolkien's works and this is a good way to encounter him as an author if you are just looking for some short stories for a quick read. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Tolkien is one of the few authors that never wrote a bad story. I thoroughly enjoy reading this over and over. Read morePublished 2 months ago by AngBadWolf
Tolkien's writings were very great but I don't like its cover so muchPublished 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
I love the story about Giles farmer of Ham. The dragon, the dog and the farmer itself is like read about an old folklore tale for sure!Published 8 months ago by yoyawan
Tales from the Perilous Realm is like owning a set of some of Tolkien's lesser known works in a single volume. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Stuart Dunn