Tolkien Gateway

Letter 141

The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien
Letter 141
RecipientAllen and Unwin
Date9 October 1953
Subject(s)Problems with maps for The Lord of the Rings

Letter 141 is a letter written by J.R.R. Tolkien and published in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien.

[edit] Summary

He was stumped. He was panicked. The maps were essential and urgent but Tolkien could not get them done. Enormous time had been spent without profit due to lack of skill plus being harried. He could not squeeze the Shire as described in the tale into the shape of a page, nor make it informative at that size.

Tolkien felt that the maps had to be properly done, especially since the "burned manuscripts" had disappeared. Even at a little cost picturesque maps were needed, to provide more than a mere index to the text. He could do text-suited maps. It was the trimming, the removal of colour, the use of a scale so small that names hardly appeared, that was what was stumping him.