The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien: A Selection

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Houghton Mifflin Company, 2000 - Biography & Autobiography - 502 pages
24 Reviews
'...If you wanted to go on from the end of The Hobbit I think the ring would be your inevitable choice as the link. If then you wanted a large tale, the Ring would at once acquire a capital letter; and the Dark Lord would immediately appear. As he did, unasked, on the hearth at Bag End as soon as I came to that point. So the essential Quest started at once. But I met a lot of things along the way that astonished me. Tom Bombadil I knew already; but I had never been to Bree. Strider sitting in the corner of the inn was a shock, and I had no more idea who he was than Frodo did. The Mines of Moria had been a mere name; and of Lothlorien no word had reached my mortal ears till I came there.' -- J.R.R. Tolkien to W.H. Auden, June 7, 1955

J.R.R. Tolkien, cherished author of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion, was one of the twentieth century's most prolific letter writers. Over the years he wrote a mass of letters -- to his publishers, his family, to friends, and to fans of his books -- which record the history and composition of his works and his reaction to subsequent events.

By turns thoughtful, impish, scholarly, impassioned, playful, vigorous, and gentle, Tolkien poured his heart and mind into a great stream of correspondence to intimate friends and unknown admirers all over the world. From this collection one sees a mind of immense complexity and many layers -- artistic, religious, charmingly eccentric, sentimental, and ultimately brilliant.

Now newly expanded with a detailed index, this collection provides an invaluable record that sheds much light on Tolkien's creative genius, his thoughts and feelings about his own work, and the evolution of his grand design for the creation of a whole new world -- Middle-earth.

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Great Insight available here! - Goodreads
The insight offered here is great. - Goodreads
Tolkien attributes it to Lewis' Irishness. - Goodreads
There are lots of insights like that. - Goodreads

Review: The Letters of JRR Tolkien

User Review  - Douglas Summers-Stay - Goodreads

When I first read Lord of the Rings, I was uncomfortable with Frodo's change of heart at mount Doom. In one of the letters in this book, Tolkien explains that it was no more Frodo's moral fault than ... Read full review

Review: The Letters of JRR Tolkien

User Review  - Edward Waverley - Goodreads

Look up CS Lewis in this book's index, as you were probably already thinking of doing. Tolkien's letters to his friend Lewis, as well as his incredibly frank remarks about Lewis in letters to others ... Read full review

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About the author (2000)

A writer of fantasies, Tolkien, a professor of language and literature at Oxford University, was always intrigued by early English and the imaginative use of language. In his greatest story, the trilogy The Lord of the Rings (1954--56), Tolkien invented a language with vocabulary, grammar, syntax, even poetry of its own. Though readers have created various possible allegorical interpretations, Tolkien has said: "It is not about anything but itself. (Certainly it has no allegorical intentions, general, particular or topical, moral, religious or political.)" In The Adventures of Tom Bombadil (1962), Tolkien tells the story of the "master of wood, water, and hill," a jolly teller of tales and singer of songs, one of the multitude of characters in his romance, saga, epic, or fairy tales about his country of the Hobbits. Tolkien was also a formidable medieval scholar, as evidenced by his work, Beowulf: The Monster and the Critics (1936) and his edition of Anciene Wisse: English Text of the Anciene Riwle. Among his works published posthumously, are The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún and The Fall of Arthur, which was edited by his son, Christopher. In 2013, his title, The Hobbit (Movie Tie-In) made The New York Times Best Seller List.

Humphrey Carpenter, the author of THE BRIDESHEAD GENERATION and THE INKLINGS, among other books, was given unrestricted access to all of Tolkien's papers for his biography of Tolkien, J.R.R. TOLKIEN: A BIOGRAPHY.

Christopher Reuel Tolkien was born on November 21, 1924 in Leeds, England. He is author J.R.R. Tolkien's youngest son and is known for having edited and published much of his father's work posthumously, including The Children of Húrin.

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