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(did you mean Carpenter's Letter #223?)

TCG Letter #223 / Carpenter Letter #98


From
J.R.R. Tolkien
To
Stanley Unwin
Date
Undated (circa 18 March 1945)
Type
Unknown
Transcript
Partial
Stanley Unwin's elder son David had read Leaf by Niggle, called it "exquisite", and suggested that it be published with other short stories by Tolkien. Unwin passed this suggestion to Tolkien. Tolkien said that he had written several imaginary letters and half of an actual one before he had received Unwin's 24 February note.

Christopher was in transit for England. One of his group had already been killed in his first flight, and he was the one at the top of the Course. This explained part of his unproductiveness.

Tolkien declared Niggle to be so unlike any of his other stories that he did not know what else would consort with it. His real desire, said Tolkien, was to publish The Silmarillion. Then there was the great Hobbit sequel. It was great in the quantitative sense, could not be abbreviated, and was not finished. Tolkien decided that he must stop lest Unwin felt that the time and paper could have been better spent on writing and not talking about it. He then enumerated everything that was preventing him from writing.

Douglas Anderson quotes a letterThe Annotated Hobbit (Revised edition, 2002), p.384[1] from Tolkien to Stanley from March 18th that talks about the Foyle's Hobbit dustjacket being "hideous" and a "waste of paper", that is likely this letter, but Carpenter's transcript makes no mention of this subject in his partial transcript.

1 The Annotated Hobbit (Revised edition, 2002), p.384
Tags
References
The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien (1981), pp. 112-14, p. 440 (Carpenter notes)
The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide - Chronology (2017), pp. 307-8 (this entry includes portions not included in Letter #98)
The Lord of the Rings: Souvenir Booklet Commemorating Twenty Five Years of Its Publication
J.R.R. Tolkien A Descriptive Bibliography, Di1, p. 350, Dii43, p. 360
Error in hardcover and Kindle editions: in a spun>spurt p. 164. Mile> Mlle Kindle only.
Cartas de J.R.R. Tolkien, pp. 176-9, p. 628 (notas de Carpenter)


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