Tolkien Gateway

Letter 34

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The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien
Letter 34
RecipientStanley Unwin
Date13 October 1938
Subject(s)Lord of the Rings

Letter 34 is a letter written by J.R.R. Tolkien and published in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien.

Summary

Tolkien stated that he had worked very hard for a month on the sequel to The Hobbit and had reached Chapter XI. He was thoroughly engrossed in it with all the threads in hand but had to put it aside for an indefinite period. His friend E. V. Gordon had died in the middle of Honours Exams and Tolkien had to finish setting the papers. Tolkien still hoped to submit the sequel early in 1939.

Tolkien clarified that when he had said that the sequel had gotten “out of hand” he meant that it was running its course and was becoming more terrifying than The Hobbit, with the darkness of the present days (i.e. the Czechoslovak crisis and the apprehension of war in late September 1938) having had some effect on it. However, it was not an “allegory”.