Tolkien Gateway

Letter 275

The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien
Letter 275
RecipientW.H. Auden
Date4 August 1965
Subject(s)A festschrift for Nevill Coghill, the Tolkien Society

Letter 275 is a letter written by J.R.R. Tolkien and published in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien.

[edit] Summary

Auden had asked Tolkien for a contribution to a festschrift for Nevill Coghill's retirement. He also asked if Tolkien knew that a "New York Tolkien Society" had been formed, fearing that it would be filled with lunatics. Tolkien had nothing for the festschrift and hoped that the book would have a place to simply register good wishes. The only thing he had ever written about Nevill was:

Mr. Neville Judson Coghill
Wrote a deal of dangerous doggerill.
Practical, progressive men
Called him Little Poison-pen.

Tolkien wrote this when Coghill, under the name Judson, had written funny verses lampooning men like Norwood of St. John's.

Yes, sighed Tolkien, he had heard about the Tolkien Society. Real lunatics do not join them but it still filled him with alarm and despondency.