Edward Wyke Smith

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Edward Augustine Wyke-Smith
Born Edward Augustine Wyke-Smith
United Kingdom
Died 1935 (aged 63–64)
Occupation Novelist
Genre Children's literature
Notable works The Marvellous Land of Snergs

Edward Augustine Wyke-Smith (1871–1935) was an English author, mining engineer and adventurer. He is the author of The Marvellous Land of Snergs, now particularly noted as an inspiration for Tolkien's creation of hobbits.


After a time in the Horse Guards at Whitehall, Wyke-Smith joined the crew of a windjammer and sailed to Australia and the west coast of the United States. In the American West, he worked as a cowboy. Back in England, he studied mine engineering and later managed mines in Mexico, the Sinai, South America, Spain, Portugal and Norway. During the 1913 revolution in Mexico, he rescued his wife from the capital. He built a pontoon bridge across the Suez canal during the First World War.

He wrote his first book, Bill of the Bustingforths, at his children's request, and went on to write several others, both for children and adults.

Influence on Tolkien[edit]

J. R. R. Tolkien, author of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings is known to have read, The Marvellous Land of Snergs to his children. He said: "I should like to record my own love and my children's love of E. A. Wyke-Smith's Marvellous Land of Snergs, at any rate of the snerg-element of that tale, and of Gorbo the gem of dunderheads, jewel of a companion in an escapade."[1]

The similarities between the races of snergs and hobbits have led to speculation that the book was a major inspiration.[2] They are similar in their physical descriptions, their love of communal feasting, and their names, particularly Gorbo and Bilbo. In all the books there are also journeys through dangerous forests and underground caverns.


  • Bill of the Bustingforths (1921)
  • The Last of the Baron (1921)
  • Some Pirates and Marmaduke (1921)
  • Captain Quality (1922)
  • The Second Chance (1923)
  • Because of Josephine (1924)
  • Fortune My Foe (1925)
  • The Marvellous Land of Snergs (1927).