George Allen & Unwin: A Remembrancer

From Tolkien Gateway
George Allen & Unwin: A Remembrancer
AuthorRayner Unwin
PublisherLudlow [Shropshire]: Merlin Unwin Books
ReleasedNovember 1, 1999

George Allen & Unwin: A Remembrancer is a memoir book where Rayner Unwin recollects his work at the family firm George Allen & Unwin. The book contains two chapters recounting his experiences publishing J.R.R. Tolkien.

The book was printed in small numbers (ca. 300); most copies were sent to acquaintances of Rayner Unwin.[1]


'While Tolkien remained in Oxford he and his secretary still had a lot of correspondence to deal with. He found this less and less amusing and more burdensome. "I came back yesterday to find a mass of letters, nearly all annoying and some troublesome" he told me in March 1966... In particular Tolkien was unable to deal with clashes of creativity. Many correspondents had been stimulated through reading LotR into an imitative and inept creativity of their own, based on some aspect of the book. Tolkien could muster very little tolerance for such misguided forms of admiration. The boisterous good humour with which he could face ridiculous aspects of real life deserted him when his own creation was misused. He would become angry and exasperated, and unless it was otherwise necessary we would try to shelter him from such well-intentioned effusions. He found it particularly difficult to commend, or even to write polite nothings about anything he did not actively approve of...Replies might be drafted but not sent, as after the expenditure of much time silence would seem preferable to hypocrisy'. (p. 126)