Tolkien Gateway

Letter 105

The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien
Letter 105
RecipientSir Stanley Unwin
Date21 July 1946
Subject(s)Promising to work on The Lord of the Rings

Letter 105 is a letter written by J.R.R. Tolkien and published in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien.

[edit] Summary

Unwin had been knighted and asked about progress on The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien, addressing him as Sir Stanley, felt he had treated him badly and said he would attempt to do better. Tolkien had been ill but mostly recovered, and had at last taken steps to alleviate some of his workload. For the first time in 25 years, barring one year on crutches, he was free of examining. He hoped after a week he would actually be able to write. He had ceased to be the Professor of Anglo-Saxon, moving to Merton as its Professor of English Language and Literature. Professor Wrenn was coming from London in October to take Anglo-Saxon off of his shoulders and they were about to elect another Merton professor, possibly C.S. Lewis or Lord David Cecil.

However, Tolkien wanted to congratulate Unwin on his new honour, which gave him great pleasure. He inquired about Rayner, hoping for good news although he said that one was still hesitant to ask for news of sons. Christopher Tolkien, while still in the Navy, had returned to Trinity.

He asked if Unwin's son David Severn still wanted to look at Farmer Giles. If he did Tolkien was sending it now, after more than a year's delay. Tolkien had tried to finish The Hobbit sequel but failed. Troubles and ill health had become too thick and he would have to study his own work to get back to it. He really hoped to finish before the autumn term, or by the end of the year. Tolkien wondered if Unwin would find any paper even if the work commended itself.

Tolkien mentioned other work he had recently done: A story in verse,[notes 1] an expanded version of an essay on Fairy Stories in a memorial volume for Charles Williams, and three parts of another book.[notes 2] However, Tolkien said he would put The Lord of the Rings before all else, save unavoidable duties.

[edit] Notes

  1. The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun
  2. The Notion Club Papers, not finished in Tolkien's lifetime