The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien

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The name Letters refers to more than one character, item or concept. For a list of other meanings, see Letters (disambiguation).
The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien
Tolkien Letters 1981.jpg
AuthorJ.R.R. Tolkien
EditorHumphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien
PublisherGeorge Allen and Unwin (UK)
Houghton Mifflin (US)
Released20 August 1981
FormatHardcover; paperback
Pages463
ISBN0048260053

The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien is a book of a collection of 354 letters, excerpts from letters, drafts, and endnotes by J.R.R. Tolkien. It was published in 1981, edited by his son Christopher Tolkien and his biographer Humphrey Carpenter.

From the 1995 edition an expanded index has been added by Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull.

Contents[edit]

The selection contains 354 letters, dating between October 1914, when Tolkien was an undergraduate at the University of Oxford, and August 29 1973, four days before his death.

The letters can be roughly divided in four categories:

  1. Personal letters to Edith Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien and his other children
  2. Letters about Tolkien's career as a professor of Anglo-Saxon
  3. Letters to his publishers at Allen and Unwin explaining his failing to meet the deadline and related topics
  4. Letters about Middle-earth

The last category is especially of interest to Tolkien fans, as it provides a lot of information about Middle-earth which cannot be found elsewhere in the works published by Tolkien himself.

It is remarked thus:

During the composition and the publication process of his literary works, J.R.R. Tolkien continually corresponded with friends, family members, colleagues, and his publishers, and for years after the publication of The Lord of the Rings, with his readers as well. Indeed, many of his letters are direct (inasmuch as Tolkien strove to be direct) answers to questions about which people had written to him. His letters contain much background and expository material that never made it to publication, and also a great deal of explanation of his intent or purpose. He often went to great lengths to clear up readers' misunderstandings. In a few instances, however, Tolkien didn't actually provide a clear, if any, answer to the question (for example, "Who is Tom Bombadil?" or "What happened to the Entwives?"), although he did address these topics in his letters, thus leaving us with at least the final word on the subject from the author himself.
—Mike Brinza[1]

Publication history and gallery[edit]

UK Editions
1981 edition  
1990 edition  
1995 edition  
2006 edition  

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References

  1. Tolkien Letters FAQ at Wayback Machine (accessed 3 June 2022)
The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien
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A J.R.R. Tolkien book guide
Books by Tolkien or based on his writings
Of Arda Authorized by
J.R.R. Tolkien
The Hobbit · The Lord of the Rings
(i.The Fellowship of the Ring · ii.The Two Towers · iii.The Return of the King) ·
The Road Goes Ever On · Bilbo's Last Song
Edited by Christopher Tolkien The Silmarillion · Unfinished Tales · The History of Middle-earth series
(i.The Book of Lost Tales: Part One · ii.The Book of Lost Tales: Part Two · iii.The Lays of Beleriand ·
iv.The Shaping of Middle-earth · v.The Lost Road and Other Writings · vi.The Return of the Shadow ·
vii.The Treason of Isengard · viii.The War of the Ring · ix.Sauron Defeated · x.Morgoth's Ring ·
xi.The War of the Jewels · xii.The Peoples of Middle-earth · Index) ·
The Children of Húrin · Beren and Lúthien · The Fall of Gondolin
Edited by others The Annotated Hobbit · The History of The Hobbit · The Nature of Middle-earth · The Fall of Númenor
Not of Arda Short stories
and poems
Leaf by Niggle · Farmer Giles of Ham · Smith of Wootton Major · The Adventures of Tom Bombadil ·
Letters from Father Christmas · Mr. Bliss · Roverandom ·
Tree and Leaf (compilation) · Tales from the Perilous Realm (compilation)
Fictions The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún · The Fall of Arthur · The Story of Kullervo · The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun
Translations and academic works Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, and Sir Orfeo · Finn and Hengest: The Fragment and the Episode ·
Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary · The Monsters and the Critics, and Other Essays ·
Tolkien On Fairy-stories · A Secret Vice: Tolkien on Invented Languages
Other The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien
Books by other authors
Reference book The Complete Guide to Middle-earth
Scholarly books containing Tolkien's writings J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography · The Inklings · The Road to Middle-earth ·
A Question of Time · Tolkien and the Great War ·
The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion · The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide
Scholarly journal containing Tolkien's writings Tolkien Studies various issues
Other published works by Tolkien
Linguistic journals Vinyar Tengwar issues 1-50 · Parma Eldalamberon issues 1-22
Collections of artwork
and manuscripts
Pictures by J.R.R. Tolkien · Tolkien: Life and Legend · J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator ·
The Art of The Hobbit · The Art of The Lord of the Rings · Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth ·
Tolkien: Treasures · J.R.R. Tolkien: The Art of the Manuscript
This list only includes the major published works, for the full bibliography of Tolkien, see here or here