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TCG Letter #52 / Carpenter Letter #37
19 December 1939
Tolkien had agreed to write a forward to a revision by C.L. Wrenn of Clark Hall’s translation of Beowulf but had not answered several inquiries about his progress until Stanley Unwin himself wrote to him. Tolkien said that in spite of his troubles he did not have a sufficient excuse for at least responding to inquires. The sequel to The Hobbit had reached Chapter XVI and he feared that it was growing too large. Tolkien asked if there might be any chance of publication if he could finish it by Spring. He offered to let it be read in serial but stated that he had only one fair copy since he had had to revise earlier chapters as the plot and plan took firmer shape. He supposed that a German edition of The Hobbit would never appear which was disappointing to himself and his son since they had a bet on how the opening sentence would read. Tolkien asked if Farmer Giles could be published, which was finished if slender in bulk.