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Letter 172

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The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien
Letter 172
RecipientAllen and Unwin
DateOctober 12, 1955
Subject(s)Plea for The Return of the King publication date on 20 October 1955

Letter 172 is a letter written by J.R.R. Tolkien and published in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien.


Allen and Unwin proposed 20 October 1955 as the publication date for The Return of the King. Tolkien beseeched them not to fail; it was the last possible day since on the next day he had to deliver his first (overdue) O’Donnell Lecture. He was hoping that a large part of the audience would sit up late reading the night before and thus not notice his grave lack of equipment as a lecturer on a Celtic subject. He also wanted to allude to the book because his lecture talked about "Celticness" and its linguistic pattern.