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Letter to Campbell

From Tolkien Gateway
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On 28 July 1973, J.R.R. Tolkien wrote a letter to Campbell.[1]

  • Subject: an autograph letter from J.R.R. Tolkien to Professor Campbell, thanking him for the award of an Honorary Degree.
  • Description: Autograph letter, 1 page. Signed by Tolkien.
  • Publication: An extract from the letter was quoted in the chapter "Biography as Source: Niggles and Notions" in Tolkien and the Study of His Sources (2011).[2]


July 28th 1973

Dear Professor Campbell,

I have now returned to Oxford after

some further travelling, and write, rather belated-
ly to thank you for your part in the events of
July 11th and 12th, which both in feasting and
in ceremonial were to me the most resplendent
academic occasion in which I have taken part.
The festive occasions to my own surprise I sur-
vived with unmarred pleasure, owing to the
generous substitution of whisky for wine, and
I am confirmed in my doctor's advice: 'you
must transfer your allegiance wholly from
Bacchus to Ceres'. At the laureation I
felt like a hobbit would: as is exhibited in
'The Lord of the Rings', especially by Merry
and Pippin: great pride and delight in the re-
ception of high honour and title, combined
with (and in a way enhanced by) a difficulty
^in believing that^ it was really happening to me, or was really
deserved except by the generosity of my superiors.
The words of the Address left me overwhelmed.
Especially the words 'making him one of us'.
I assure you that Edinburgh has gripped me
fast; and though my 81 years had begun to
make me reluctant to travel far, a journey back
north, if opportunity and health allows, will
not be reluctant.

Yours sincerely

J R R Tolkien


  1. Centre for Research Collections, University of Edinburgh, "(Timeline photo)" dated 10 October 2017, Facebook (accessed 10 October 2017)
  2. "Always worth checking in the Archives (forum post)", Tolkien Collector's Guide (accessed 21 October 2017)