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TCG Letter #531 / Carpenter Letter #182


From
J.R.R. Tolkien
To
Houghton Mifflin Co.
Date
?Late June or July 1956
Type
Unknown
Transcript
Partial
Tolkien vowed to publish parts of his great history, if he was allowed.The Silmarillion. John M. Bowers in Tolkien's Lost Chaucer, p. 3, notes that "when... he admitted his Silmarillion was full of ‘all that “heigh stile” (as Chaucer might say)’, he was remembering a phrase from the Clerk’s Prologue.[1] Because of the surprising success of The Lord of the Rings he expected the prior rejection to be reconsidered, even though without Hobbits it would lack the same appeal.

The Lord of the Rings had also put him in the pincers, said Tolkien. His philological colleagues were shocked at his fall into "trivial literature" and he claimed the cry was "now we know how you have been wasting your time for 20 years". He mentioned that with the retirements of a few others he was left the senior professor of his ancient institution.

1 The Silmarillion. John M. Bowers in Tolkien's Lost Chaucer, p. 3, notes that "when... he admitted his Silmarillion was full of ‘all that “heigh stile” (as Chaucer might say)’, he was remembering a phrase from the Clerk’s Prologue.
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