Tolkien Gateway

Letter to Miss Stanley-Smith (22 November 1956)

Miss Stanley-Smith 22 November 1956.png

On 22 November 1956, J.R.R. Tolkien wrote a letter to Miss Stanley-Smith, librarian at Deddington Library.[1][2][3]

  • Subject: Tolkien accepts an invitation to give a speech at the opening of the new library (on 14 December).[1]

[edit] Transcription

Dear Miss Stanley-Smith,

Fortunately I think I can manage Friday 14 Nove December. I say ‘fortunately’, because though I dislike talking (in this sense), lecturing, or addressing a gathering, I should have been sorry to refuse your invitation: you sugar the central pill so attractively. I should be delighted to visit Deddington and have lunch with you; and I fear that the fee will be more than ample for the performance. Short? Ten minutes? A quarter of an hour?

I will consult you later, if I may, on the sort of thing likely to be most appropriate.

As for my own writings: beside the two you name there is Farmer Giles of Ham (Allen & Unwin), specially appropriate, since it is localized in Oxfordshire. Other poems and stories are, I fear, either scattered in periodicals or o.p.2 and await collection. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (Clarendon Press), since it is an edition of a mediaeval poem, would, I imagine, be regarded as too technical, specially as I have not yet published the translation which has twice been broadcast.

It would be most kind if you could send a car, as I have none of my own now and have in consequence seldom visited Deddington, in post-war years, though I used often to do so.

Yours sincerely,

J.R.R. Tolkien

P.S. I wonder if Mrs. Lionel Hitchens is the mother of Miss Phoebe Hitchens, whom I have met, since my daughter knew her. She was, I think, the cousin (?) of the woman novelist of the same name - (Noughts and Crosses …etc.).

[edit] See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond (2006), The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide: I. Chronology, pp. 496-8
  2. "Deddington Library, opened by Tolkien in 1956, under threat from OCC", (accessed 23 December 2011)
  3. Sam McGregor, "Tolkien letters return to rightful home" (dated 23 December 2011), (accessed 23 December 2011)