Tolkien Gateway

Letter 123

The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien
Letter 123
RecipientAllen and Unwin
Date5 February 1950
Subject(s)Possibly changing publishers, obligations to the Unwins

Letter 123 is a letter written by J.R.R. Tolkien and published in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien.

[edit] Summary

Milton Waldman had met Tolkien and expressed interest in publishing both The Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings. Since Allen and Unwin had turned down The Silmarillion, Tolkien considered changing publishers. He sent Waldman a copy of The Lord of the Rings but felt guilty since he imagined that it had weighed down Waldman's holiday. Tolkien confessed that since the story had only been seen by a few like-minded friends he was eager to get a fresh perspective.

Tolkien believed that he was under no legal obligation to Allen and Unwin after they had rejected The Silmarillion but accepted and published Farmer Giles of Ham, thus satisfying his contract to supply them with a sequel to The Hobbit. Tolkien said he had friendly personal relations with the Unwins, both Stanley (whom he did not like very much) and Rayner (whom he did like). Rayner liked what he had read of The Lord of the Rings; Stanly saw no money in it but still was anxious to see the result. This might constitute a moral obligation, but Tolkien said he would proceed to extricate himself from their dilatory coils.