Tolkien Gateway

Letter 282

The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien
Letter 282
RecipientClyde S. Kilby
Date18 December 1965
Subject(s)Responding to Kilby's offer to assist in finishing The Silmarillion

Letter 282 is a letter written by J.R.R. Tolkien and published in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien.

This only a part of the whole letter; The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide: Chronology (pp. 649-50) includes a sentence not appearing in the version of The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien (cf. Letter to Clyde S. Kilby (18 December 1965)).

The letter is presented (and quoted from) by Kilby in the article "Woodland Prisoner" (SEVEN, Volume 27, p. 49).

[edit] Summary

Tolkien said that he never had much confidence in his own work, even when he was assured that it had value for others. Had it not been for C.S. Lewis he would never have completed or offered for publication The Lord of the Rings. The Silmarillion was quite different and if good then good in another way. It began in a hospital and during sick leave in World War I and had been with him and worked on ever since, yet was still in a confused state. It needed the assistance of a scholar that was sympathetic, critical, and actually present at one's side. Tolkien said he would be free to return to it in the next year during June through August.