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The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien

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

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.


[edit] Contents

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]

[edit] Publication history and gallery

UK Editions
1981 edition  
1990 edition  
1995 edition  
2006 edition  

[edit] See also

[edit] External links


  1. Tolkien Letters FAQ at Wayback Machine (accessed 3 June 2022)