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Letter 74

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The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien
Letter 74
RecipientStanley Unwin
DateJune 29, 1944
Subject(s)Sons in the war, work on The Lord of the Rings, money received

Letter 74 is a letter written by J.R.R. Tolkien and published in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien.

Summary

On 22 June Unwin sent Tolkien a substantial cheque for royalties on The Hobbit and let him know that his son Rayner Unwin was reading English at Oxford as a naval cadet. Tolkien was delighted that he would have a chance to see Rayner. At the same time he was grieved that the war had swept him up. Tolkien said his youngest son[notes 1] had been carried off – in the midst of typing and revising The Hobbit sequel and making a map – and was now far away and wretched in the Orange Free State. His older son, a damaged soldier,[notes 2] was at Trinity College trying to work and recover.

Tolkien had not written to Unwin for some time. He said he should have thanked him for his note and the two copies of The Hobbit.[notes 3] Although no work had been possible for a year, recently Tolkien had been able to press ahead with the sequel to within sight of conclusion. He hoped Unwin still had some mild interest in it, despite the paper shortage. Typing was difficult and expensive to have done and there was no one to fix his typewriter when it broke. Still, he would soon submit a chunk of it to Unwin.

He thanked Unwin for the cheque. It would be useful, he said, since he had large debts trying to complete a family's education when war had taken away most means.

Notes

  1. Christopher Tolkien
  2. Michael Tolkien, judged unfit for further service due to severe shock.
  3. An edition by Foyles of London had been published in 1942.