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Letter 243

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Letter 243 is a letter written by J.R.R. Tolkien and published in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien.


This letter, dated December 19, 1962, is written to Michael Tolkien. J.R.R. Tolkien wshes him a merry Christmas. After his retirement, so the Professor tells, he was short of money, but Allen & Unwin paid his royalties for the very popular The Adventures of Tom Bombadil (8,000 copies sold prior to publication) in advance. Arcrene wisse was in the process of being printed, and Gawain and Pearl were to be, the following year. Tolkien looks forward to working on the legends of Númenor. Also, a "Festschrift" is in the works, containing a prefatory ode by W.H. Auden, and contributions by 22 Anglists. It was the plan of Rayner Unwin and Norman Davis (Tolkien's successor), to commemorate Tolkien's 70th birthday, the following January 3.


  • The translations of Gawain and Pearl would not come out until 1975.
  • A "Festschrift" is "[a] tribute or memorial volume filled with essays and articles by admirers [...]"[1]. The booklet is titled English and medieval studies: presented to J.R.R. Tolkien on the occasion of his seventieth birthday, edited by Norman Davis and Charles Leslie Wrenn (London: Allen & Unwin, 1962).