Tolkien Gateway

Letter 128

The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien
Letter 128
RecipientAllen and Unwin
Date1 August 1950
Subject(s)Changing The Hobbit, the continuance of the feud

Letter 128 is a letter written by J.R.R. Tolkien and published in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien.

[edit] Summary

In July, Tolkien was sent proofs for a new edition of The Hobbit. Along with minor corrections, the new version of Chapter 5, "Riddles in the Dark" had been incorporated, which came as a surprise to Tolkien. It had been a long while, said Tolkien, since he had proposed the alteration. Work on the sequel would have been a simpler task with the new version but since he had not heard any more about it he had assumed that it had been ruled out. The sequel now depended on the earlier version; the revision, if published, would entail much rewriting of the sequel. He wished that some hint had been given before seeing the change in the page-proof. However, he had made up his mind to accept the alteration and its consequences. The revised version was better, in motive and narrative, and would make the sequel more natural.

[edit] Note

After Tolkien's ultimatum (see Letter 127), Sir Stanley Unwin replied "no" to an immediate answer but said it could have been yes with time and the sight of a completed transcript. There the matter rested for months, when the matter of this letter arose.