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TCG Letter #526 / Carpenter Letter #177

J.R.R. Tolkien
Rayner Unwin
8 December 1955
Although Tolkien agreed with the "critics" view of the radio adaptations of The Lord of the Rings he was annoyed when this group that had not read the book then criticized it and him. He deplored verse reading by W.H. Auden and his touting of the book as "a test of literary taste", which was untrue and would only infuriate (and one rejoinder termed Auden a "fair-ground barker"). However, Tolkien supposed that it was all good for sales, noting many letters of fury against the critics and the broadcast. One elderly lady (unsuspectingly a partial model for Lobelia) Tolkien believed would have assailed Auden and the others if they had been within umbrella range.

Portions of this letter appear in Carpenter's Letters, with some additional material quoted in Chronology. The original letter is in the Tolkien-George Allen & Unwin archive, HarperCollins.

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