The Letters of J.R.R.Tolkien

by J.R.R. Tolkien

Paperback, 1999



Call number




HarperCollins (1999), Paperback


Biography & Autobiography. Nonfiction. HTML: This collection will entertain all who appreciate the art of masterful letter writing. The Letters of J.R.R Tolkien sheds much light on Tolkien's creative genius and grand design for the creation of a whole new world: Middle-earth. Featuring a radically expanded index, this volume provides a valuable research tool for all fans wishing to trace the evolution of THE HOBBIT and THE LORD OF THE RINGS..

Media reviews

Tolkien's letters are really the best source for what the author thought about the world he devised and the characters he created to populate it.

User reviews

LibraryThing member lycomayflower
What a treasure trove this is. The collection begins with a handful of letters Tolkien wrote to his wife during his training for the army just before leaving for France in WWI and carries on through 354 letters ending with one he wrote his daughter a few days before his death in 1973. Along the way
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are letters to family members, friends, and colleagues; to his publisher (outlining nicely parts of the process of getting The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and a number of his shorter works ready for print); and to readers who asked questions about his works. The letters are full of glimpses into Tolkien's life, his religious views, the background of his works, and the workings of the languages he invented. I found the entire collection thoroughly engaging and at times very effecting. The last twenty or so letters made me particularly verklempt. These cover the last two years of his life and include a heart-wrenching letter to one of his sons in which Tolkien describes his despair at the loss of his wife. The very last letter, written just days before Tolkien died, almost undid me. He writes to his daughter of plans for his week away with friends and tells her how he spent his afternoon, wandering about town and getting a haircut. Just living his life, writing his letters, with no notion he was living his last few days. Gah.

Recommended whole-heartedly to Tolkien enthusiasts.
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LibraryThing member arelenriel
This give the reader a lot of details on ME that were previously unknown or only surmised. It also tells you a lot about Tolkein both as a person and as a writer and a teacher.
LibraryThing member hermit_9
Any dedicated Tolkien fan should read this book, which provides surprising details about his personal life, his religious belief, his personal philosophy, and the writing of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.
LibraryThing member urnmo
While there are some gems in this collection, and it serves as a good supplement to other Tolkien criticism / the 12 HOME volumes, it's index is quite limited in its usefulness and the volume would greatly benefit from an updated organizational apparatus.
LibraryThing member antiquary
Some letters of great interest, notably his reaction to the Nazis.
LibraryThing member Louise_Waugh
Its good to read some of this now and again to remind oneself what an old coot the professor was. It should be required for "fans" who make bizarre assumptions about JRRT based on nothing except the fan's own views and preferences; e.g. that Tolkien meant Frodo and Sam to be gay, or that since
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Elves are "natural" they must perforce practice free love.
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LibraryThing member tronella
An interesting collection. I most enjoyed his ranty and snarky responses to bad adaptations of his work (particularly his comments on the cartoon of The Hobbit and the Swedish translation of LOTR). On the other hand, I found some of his most sermonising letters on Catholicism, love and war
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uncomfortable reading in places.
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LibraryThing member odinblindeye
Fascinating look into a great author's mind. It shows off a bit of the process he used to create his worlds, as well as giving insight into the man himself.
LibraryThing member Ceora
Fascinating, insightful, and often touching. Sometimes repetitive and sometimes over the head of any non-philologist, it can take a bit of patience, but the many gems are well worth it.
LibraryThing member DinadansFriend
Well, an author like any other artist, is best experienced through the art they produce. Too close an acquaintance, as some of these letters reveal, may be disillusioning. One should not rely too heavily on one's mental picture of JRRT as the kind and loving father to anyone other than Christopher
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Tolkien. I was surprised to discover that he had other children, and his wife did not die sometime in the 1930's but was his lifelong companion. Perhaps the wife and other children didn't wish to expose any more of their lives to the gawping public, and that certainly is their right. But it does add a little depth to the figure presented by this selection of the letters.
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LibraryThing member Tarklovishki
I felt it was a bit too invasive to be reading someone's letters that were never supposed to be for the eyes of anyone who wasn't the person it was addressed to, but this was an interesting read about the man who created the Lord of the Rings series.


Original publication date


Physical description

480 p.; 7.56 inches


0261102656 / 9780261102651

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