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The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien: Revised and Expanded ed. (HarperCollins, UK)

by J. R. R. Tolkien, ed. Humphrey Carpenter


The comprehensive collection of letters spanning the adult life of one of the world’s greatest storytellers, now revised and expanded to include more than 150 previously unseen letters, with revealing new insights into The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion.

J.R.R. Tolkien, creator of the languages and history of Middle-earth as recorded in The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion, was one of the most prolific letter-writers of this century. Over the years he wrote a mass of letters – to his publishers, to members of his family, to friends, and to ‘fans’ of his books – which often reveal the inner workings of his mind, and which record the history of composition of his works and his reaction to subsequent events.

A selection from Tolkien’s correspondence, collected and edited by Tolkien’s official biographer, Humphrey Carpenter, and assisted by Christopher Tolkien, was published in 1981. It presented, in Tolkien’s own words, a highly detailed portrait of the man in his many aspects: storyteller, scholar, Catholic, parent, friend, and observer of the world around him.

In this revised and expanded edition of The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, it has been possible to go back to the editors’ original typescripts and notes, restoring more than 150 letters that were excised purely to achieve what was then deemed a ‘publishable length’, and present the book as originally intended.

Enthusiasts for his writings will find much that is new, for the letters not only include fresh information about Middle-earth, such as Tolkien’s own plot summary of the entirety of The Lord of the Rings and a vision for publishing his ‘Tales of the Three Ages’, but also many insights into the man and his world. In addition, this new selection will entertain anyone who appreciates the art of letter-writing, of which J.R.R. Tolkien was a master.


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The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien 2nd Edition (UK, HB)

HarperCollins (2023-11-09)

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pp. 39-42
Carpenter #112: Letter from J.R.R. Tolkien to Katharine Farrer • 30 November 1947 (#140), p. 179, p. 619 (Carpenter note. This is a translation of the given runic letter.)
Letter from J.R.R. Tolkien to Hugh Brogan • 18 September 1955 (#2062), p. 328 (inc. in remarks from Humphrey Carpenter)
Carpenter #220*: Letter from J.R.R. Tolkien to Allen & Unwin • 16 October 1959 (#594), p. 426, p. 628 (editorial note on change of number assignment in new edition)
Carpenter #219*: Letter from J.R.R. Tolkien to Naomi Mitchison • 15 October 1959 (#596), p. 426, p. 628 (Carpenter Notes + editorial note on letter number change)
Carpenter #239: Letter from J.R.R. Tolkien to Alina Dadlez • 20 July 1962 (#614), pp. 449-50, p. 630 (Carpenter notes. Note 1 from 1981 is now note 2)
Letter from J.R.R. Tolkien to Roger Verhulst • 9 March 1966 (#724), pp. 513-14 (see paragraph which begins, "I regret very much to hear that you have contracted to write a book about me."
Carpenter #347a: Letter from J.R.R. Tolkien to Miss T.R.C. • Not dated (January 1973) (#1503), pp. 599-600, p. 635 (Carpenter note) - this note should be on page 636, notes for [347a]
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