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TCG Letter #529 / Carpenter Letter #180

J.R.R. Tolkien
Mr. Thompson
14 January 1956
Tolkien said he recognized the "arrogance" of his self-imposed task of restoring to the English an epic tradition and mythology and found it wonderful that Tompson said that he had succeeded. He had long ceased to invent; he just waited until he seemed to know what happened. He had known for years that Frodo would run into a tree-adventure. When he came to the point he wrote the Treebeard chapter with no previous thought, and discovered that it had not happened to Frodo at all.

Tolkien was sure that all this was boring but he took a dispassionate and scientific interest in these matters and cited himself because he was the most readily available example of the mystery of literary sub-creation. Tolkien had offered The Silmarillion for publication years ago and it was turned down. From this blow had come The Lord of the Rings. The hobbits had been welcomed and he loved them himself, loving the vulgar and simple as dearly as the noble.

The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien (1981), pp. 230-32, p. 446 (Carpenter notes)
Cartas de J.R.R. Tolkien, pp. 346-8, p. 636 (notas de Carpenter)
Michael Livingston, "Troy and the Rings:Tolkien and the Medieval Myth of England," Mythlore 32.1 (2013), p. 87 citation from p. 232* ['Letters', 1981], (note on citation) -- Livingston cites p. 251 of the letters, but there's no reference on p. 251. None in Letter 251 either. The only reference matching what Livingston says in his text is to the note at the bottom of the page on page 232. [TCG note: Many thanks to Tom Hillman who is providing many references to the guide.]

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