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Fine Printed Books & Manuscripts including the Works of Charles Dickens
Home away from home
So, one of my hobbies is collecting pictures and images of uncollected & unpublished Tolkien letters. Christie's new catalog contains a couple lots of Tolkien letters. The letter pictured in the catalog is very interesting; you can read most of it on-line. Listed below are the lot descriptions. And here is link to the lots: http://www.christies.com/LotFinder/se ... ac-4872-be05-4299478454f3
TOLKIEN, John Ronald Reuel (1892-1973). Autograph letter signed ('Ronald Tolkien') to Professor Przemyslaw Mroczkowski, Headington, 20-26 January 1964, 3½ pages, 4to. Provenance: by descent from the recipient.
'A DREADFUL YEAR OF LOSS AND FRUSTRATION': on the death of C.S. Lewis and the 'simultaneity of different planes' in The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien responds to a sympathetic letter from his correspondent to pour out a tale of 'a dreadful year': 'The loss reached for me its climax on Nov. 22nd, not for me the day Kennedy was murdered, but the day C.S. Lewis died'; then, Tolkien and his wife were so ill as not to be able to celebrate Christmas; the next disaster was in their son Christopher's divorce -- 'A shadow, only guessed by us, has been falling on my son Christopher and his wife ... soon after Christmas disaster came on them and us. His wife walked out ... I fear they have left their allegiance to our Mother [the Church]'. The letter continues with a detailed discussion of The Lord of the Rings, considering Mroczkowski's suggestion as to 'the simultaneity of different planes of reality touching one another ... part of the deeply felt idea that I had ... Beyond that too I feel that no construction of the human mind, whether in imagination or the highest philosophy, can contain within its own "englobement" all that there is ... There is always something left over that demands a different or longer construction to "explain" it ... This is like a "play", in which ... there are noises that do not belong, chinks in the scenery', discussing in particular the status of Tom Bombadil in this respect. The letter concludes with apologies if this seems too earnest, and references to his wife's ill-health.
TOLKIEN, John Ronald Reuel (1892-1973). A series of eight autograph letters signed and one typed letter signed ('J.R.R.T.', 'J.R.R. Tolkien', 'Ronald Tolkien', one unsigned) to Professor Przemyslaw Mroczkowski, one to Mrs Mrockzkowska, Bournemouth, Headington and n.p., 2 August 1946 - 10 April 1969, together 13 pages, 8vo and 4to, in autograph, and 2 pages, 4to, typescript, envelope; with a typescript of an essay by Mroczkowski on the New Robinson Chaucer with very extensive corrections in Tolkien's hand, commentary at the end on approx 2 pages, 4to; [with] two autograph letters signed to the Mroczkowskis by C.S. Lewis, 8 March and 13 May 1958, arranging a meeting and discussing a Polish translation of one of his books, 1½ pages, 8vo and 4to. Provenance: by descent from the recipients.
The earliest, typewritten letter discusses, in a discouraging way, the practicalities of Mroczkowski's proposed studies in Oxford; resuming the correspondence in 1957, Tolkien discusses his extensive proposed changes to Mroczkowski's essay on Chaucer ('Your style uses too many abstract nouns for my taste'). In 1958 he broaches a 'difficult matter', offering his friend financial support, in the form of £30, writing a few days later to express his pleasure that 'you will allow me to share a little of the proceeds of The Lord of the Rings. Specially since I guess it to be an answer to prayer, for on the way from church on Sunday I had a sudden clear intuition that you were worried and in difficulties'. In December 1959 he complains that he finds 'compulsory retirement both distressing, and extremely laborious', complaining about his 'very inadequate pension'; the later letters continue to complain of the effects of old age and other troubles, including 'my family that gives me much cause for grief and anxiety'; the last, to Mrs Mroczkowska, concludes that 'Poland for its own sake, but especially since it is your country, is ever in my mind'. (12)
Posted on: 2009/6/1 20:50
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