Tolkien Gateway

Letter 237

The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien
Letter 237
RecipientRayner Unwin
Date12 April 1962
Subject(s)Distress over The Adventures of Tom Bombadil

Letter 237 is a letter written by J.R.R. Tolkien and published in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien.

[edit] Summary

Tolkien said that he had given every spare moment to the poems.[notes 1] He stated that he had lost all confidence in them, all judgement, and could not see them becoming a book unless Pauline Baynes was inspired by them (which he doubted).

The various items do not "collect", said Tolkien. The only possible link was the fiction of coming from the Shire from the period of The Lord of the Rings, but it was an uneasy fit for some. He had tried to make them fit better. He had added a new Bombadil poem[notes 2] that would further "integrate" Tom into the period. It also tickled what Tolkien called his pedantic fancy, echoing the Norse Niblung and taking a line straight from The Ancrene Wisse.

Tolkien thought some kind of forward might be required. He sent a sample, not intended to be used, but amusing as a piece of ridiculous editorial fiction. He hoped Rayner would not be greatly disappointed.[notes 3]

[edit] Notes

  1. This refers to the collection of sixteen poems titled The Adventures of Tom Bombadil
  2. Number two in the series, "Bombadil Goes Boating"
  3. It seems that Rayner was not disappointed; The Adventures of Tom Bombadil was published later that same year.