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Farmer Giles of Ham (UK HB 1961 in DJ fine copy) [Hardcover]

J.R.R. Tolkien , Pauline Baynes
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: George Allen & Unwin (1961)
  • ASIN: B000S6MW7U
  • Product Dimensions: 47 x 32.5 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,639,159 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

J.R.R. Tolkien was born on 3rd January 1892. After serving in the First World War, he became best known for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, selling 150 million copies in more than 40 languages worldwide. Awarded the CBE and an honorary Doctorate of Letters from Oxford University, he died in 1973 at the age of 81.

Product Description

Small book from 1961, quite rare.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A miniature gem 1 July 2000
How a simple but cunning farmer got to be king of his world is told by Tolkien in classically simple style. This is a great stoty for telling to children, but, as always in the best childrens' tales, there are plenty of subtle jokes and sly digs to amuse the teller. Tolkien is, of course, one of the great experts in Dark Ages history and tales and his wide knowledge is reflected in the setting and background to the story. The characterisation is simple yet true to life and the plot twists in delightful ways. If you like historical novels, you will also enjoy the detail and the 'in jokes' in this short tale. Full of amusement yet so authentic in its feel, 'Farmer Giles of Ham' almost makes me wish that this story WAS dug up from among musty manuscripts in a forgotten archive to confound some dull scholar! I read it first in the original edition, again to my children some 15 years ago, to their great delight, and yet again recently; it remains as fresh as the first time. By the way, have you tried "Leaf by Niggle"? This is another little Tolkien beauty!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful - with hidden depths 9 Dec 2001
By A Customer
I first read this book 32 years ago. Now I am buying it as a present for a teenager.
It was a delightful read the first time, full of gentle humour. However, I frequently re-read it, often finding something new. Having developed a passion for classical history, I discovered many lingustic and historical jokes, puns and allusions hidden in the text. For example, "Sunny Sam" the Blacksmith's true (Latin) name is Fabricius Cunctator - "Fabricius the delayer", a clear pun on the name of the famous Roman general Fabius Cunctator, who got his cognomen by delaying battle with Hannibal. There are many more absolute gems like this. If you don't recognise them it's still a charming story, but if you do, it enriches the experience even more and is potentially very educational. This book is a joy!
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5.0 out of 5 stars The light humour of a deep academic 14 May 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Lewis Carroll played with his readers or audience in many ways, drawing on his own wide interests and intellectual background.
Tolkien does the same, here, telling a would-be medieval story of an unlikely hero and the giant and dragon he deals with.
Initially, amusing himself and his children with a spontaneously improvised tale, and later developing this further for an adult audience, and then polishing the results for eventual publication, this edition preserves the brilliant Pauline Baynes illustrations (that LOOK medieval) for the last-stage published book-version, while adding a light gloss of commentary, and providing the earlier drafts of this final version.
This is the PERFECT way to enjoy "Farmer Giles of Ham". You are free to read the story, as is, or go further into the otherwise subtle and secret humour Tolkien created as he told, wrote, and revised.
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By A Customer
This little jewel of a story could be seen as a slender, more humorous companion volume to 'The Hobbit'. Tolkien was at his slyest and most playful in this very English fairy story, where dragons and giants are anachronistically attacked with blunderbusses, and a craggy farmer outwits millers and kings.

The story follows the fortunes of one Ægidius Agricola de Hammo (Farmer Giles of Ham), as he reluctantly battles a very sly and conniving dragon called Chrysophylax Dives. Tolkien, the philologist, brings his language skills subtly into play throughout the book, and we learn the 'true' origins of familiar place names like 'Thames'.

The book contains wonderful pseudo-medieval illustrations by Pauline Baynes, embellishing the good-humoured seriousness of this not-quite-mock heroic epic.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Rich Guardian of Gold 17 Mar 2008
By Craobh Rua VINE VOICE
"Farmer Giles of Ham" was written by JRR Tolkien in 1937, and was first published in 1949. It's set in Ham, a small village in England - sometime after the arrival of the Romans, but before Arthur's time. The book was originally illustrated by Pauline Baynes, who also illustrated CS Lewis' Narnia books.

Giles in married to Agatha, has a dog called Garm and is fond of his ale. Nothing of note had happened in Ham for a long time, something that Giles was perfectly happy about - neither Giles, nor his dog had ever given any thought to life beyond their borders.

Unfortunately , there is a troublesome giant living nearby. He doesn't appear to be a deliberately malicious sort - but he is larger and ruder than most of his fellow giants, as well as being short-sighted and deaf. Unsurprisingly, he manages to cause a lot of - quite possibly inadvertent - damage when he goes out for a walk. One day, he gets lost when he goes out for a walk and finds himself in Ham - a trip that sees him accidentally squashing Giles' favourite cow, Galathea. The giant is first spotted by Garm, who naturally runs off to tell his master all about it. (Although somewhat lacking in courage, Garm can apparently talk). Giles luckily has a blunderbuss, a top-of-the-range weapon for the time - he loads it up and manages to shoot the giant in the face. It doesn't do the thick-skinned giant any great damage, but - thinking he's stumbled across an unhealthy area and that he's been stung by a nasty dragonfly - turns around and leaves.

Giles as a result becomes a bit of a celebrity and - when the King hears of it - he receives a regal letter, a belt and what turns out to be a very famous sword called Tailbiter. Initially, Giles enjoys his fame - though it later comes to rue it a little.
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