Tolkien Gateway

Letter 87

The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien
Letter 87
RecipientChristopher Tolkien
Date25 October 1944
Subject(s)Sending chapters of The Lord of the Rings, a letter from an American boy

Letter 87 is a letter written by J.R.R. Tolkien and published in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien.

[edit] Summary

Along with this letter Tolkien sent two more chapters of "the Ring" to Chistopher for his delectation and criticism. Since he thought the packet would not arrive by his birthday Tolkien also sent long airletter on the same day. Tolkien said he had two more chapters to write for the "Fourth Book" and then hoped to complete the "Fifth" and last.[notes 1]

Tolkien quoted from a letter sent by John Barrow from Pennsylvania, wherein the twelve year old said he had read The Hobbit for the eleventh time and said, "Gee Whiz, I’m surprised that it’s not more popular". He also asked for the names of any other books Tolkien had written.

Tolkien said letters like this made him sad, thinking about thousands of grains of good human corn that must fall on barren ground if such a tiny drop of water should be so intoxicating. Yet he was grateful for the grace and fortune that was provided by even this drop. He also added a note stating that it was nice to find the little American boys do really still say "Gee Whiz".

[edit] Notes

  1. There would eventually be six "books" in The Lord of the Rings.