Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Letters to/from Tolkien (was Re: happiness/unhappiness)

Expand Messages
  • Jason Fisher
    Are there many/any letters in any of the volumes that Lewis sent to Tolkien? And, slightly askew of the subject, does anybody know whether a larger collection
    Message 1 of 7 , Jan 17, 2007
    • 0 Attachment
      Are there many/any letters in any of the volumes that Lewis sent to Tolkien?

      And, slightly askew of the subject, does anybody know whether a larger collection of Tolkien's letter might ever be published? In the Introduction to Letters, Humphrey Carpenter refers to the large number of letters that were omitted (mostly in the interests of space) and closes by encouraging readers to send in letters of interest for possible inclusion in a "second edition."

      Does anybody know why no such edition was ever undertaken? Does anybody want to undertake one? Wayne? :)

      ----- Original Message ----
      From: David Bratman <dbratman@...>
      To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Wednesday, January 17, 2007 1:45:05 PM
      Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Re: happiness/unhappiness

      A person not interested in serious Lewis research doesn't need the
      Collected Letters, which are very long. There's a shorter, older volume,
      "Letters of C.S. Lewis" edited by W.H. Lewis, with the highlights.

      Volume 3 of the Collected, covering 1950-1963, has a lot of casual
      references to the Bird and Baby, but the meat of the Inklings, and of
      Lewis's friendship with Tolkien, comes in volume 2, 1931-1949. The problem
      is that Lewis rarely wrote about the Inklings except to his brother during
      the brief period when he was away. Most of his comments about his
      friendship with Tolkien come in a few letters to friends from the period
      1929 to the early 1930s.

      By 1950 Lewis was fairly famous, and he got a lot of letters from readers
      asking him various questions about his books, which he liked to explain but
      was loathe to analyze, and asking his spiritual advice on various
      questions. There's a lot of both of these in here. And as they're
      complete, a tremendous amount of trivia: letters to his publisher
      correcting typographical errors in his books, letters to friends arranging
      meeting dates, that sort of thing.

      David Bratman

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • David Bratman
      ... Tolkien says somewhere that he and Lewis saw each other so often, especially in the 1930s and 40s, that they had no occasion to send letters. There are
      Message 2 of 7 , Jan 17, 2007
      • 0 Attachment
        At 12:24 PM 1/17/2007 -0800, Jason Fisher wrote:
        >Are there many/any letters in any of the volumes that Lewis sent to Tolkien?

        Tolkien says somewhere that he and Lewis saw each other so often,
        especially in the 1930s and 40s, that they had no occasion to send letters.
        There are five letters from Lewis to Tolkien in the new volume, all fairly
        brief, but since there was only one such letter in the previous two
        volumes, that's a marked increase. One of these five is quoted by
        Carpenter, but I think the others are all newly published.

        13 Nov 1952 - Lewis congratulates Tolkien on having LOTR accepted for
        publication. Some interesting comments on the effects of the passage of
        time on their friendship and on Tolkien's mood.

        28 Oct 1958 - Lewis asks Tolkien, who is about to retire, for his views on
        the succession to his professorship. Regrets not seeing him at Monday
        morning Inklings.

        10 Nov 1958 - chatty newsy letter on various subjects. Remembering
        Tolkien's enjoyment of Eddison, it's interesting that Lewis here passes on
        the news of the posthumous publication of _The Mezentian Gate_.

        20 Nov 1962 - Lewis declines, for health reasons, attending a dinner
        honoring Tolkien. Quoted by Carpenter in _The Inklings_.

        24 Dec 1962 - also responding to a letter of Tolkien's. Has a juicy
        reference to LOTR and a very Lewisian Christmas greetings (he loathed the
        commercialization of the holiday).

        David Bratman
      • John D Rateliff
        ... Thanks for the report, David. I knew there were some Tolkien letters-- Hooper particularly mentions Warnie s exclusion of them in the preface to his 1988
        Message 3 of 7 , Jan 17, 2007
        • 0 Attachment
          On Jan 17, 2007, at 1:41 PM, David Bratman wrote:
          > Tolkien says somewhere that he and Lewis saw each other so often,
          > especially in the 1930s and 40s, that they had no occasion to send
          > letters.
          > There are five letters from Lewis to Tolkien in the new volume,
          > all fairly
          > brief, but since there was only one such letter in the previous two
          > volumes, that's a marked increase. One of these five is quoted by
          > Carpenter, but I think the others are all newly published.

          Thanks for the report, David. I knew there were some Tolkien letters--
          Hooper particularly mentions Warnie's exclusion of them in the
          preface to his 1988 re-edit of CSL's LETTERS (page 16), and there
          promised they'd appear in COLLECTED LETTERS. Glad to know he's made
          good on that promise.
          In other good news, the bookseller promises to send a replacement
          for the lost volume.

          On Jan 17, 2007, at 9:40 AM, ajkjr1 wrote:
          > As my main area of interest is with J.R.R. Tolkien but with
          > additional interest in The Inklings, can you give me an idea of what
          > is contain in some of his letters? I think volume 1 is primarily his
          > younger years. Do the other volumes cover any discussions with the
          > Inklings, meeting at Bird & Baby and with Tolkien in particular? I
          > love to soak up as much information as possible but before I spend
          > the money wanted to get a better idea of what was in each volume.

          As David points out, there are some interesting bits but not a lot.
          The book you really want, if you haven't already read it, is BROTHERS
          AND FRIENDS, excerpts from Warnie's diaries which provide us with
          most of what we know about individual Inklings meetings; the editors
          made an effort to include everything they could describing actual
          meetings. The next most important source is LETTERS OF JRRT. CSL's
          main comments in his letters come in his first letter to Charles
          Williams (about 1936 I think), a few letters to his brother in the
          early days of WWII (1939-40), two letters to Charles Moorman (1952 &
          1959), and a late (1962) letter attempting to refute the account of
          the Inklings in Wain's autobiography. Perhaps there are more in the
          COLLECTED LETTERS, but those are the main ones I can think of offhand.
          Does that help?
          --JDR

          current reading: OWEN BARFIELD: A BIOGRAPHY, THE PLANTS OF MIDDLE-EARTH
        • Wayne G. Hammond
          ... Christina and I would love to produce a second, enlarged edition. Many more letters do exist, though Humphrey and Christopher tried to include, within a
          Message 4 of 7 , Jan 17, 2007
          • 0 Attachment
            Jason wrote:

            >And, slightly askew of the subject, does anybody know whether a larger
            >collection of Tolkien's letter might ever be published? In the
            >Introduction to Letters, Humphrey Carpenter refers to the large number of
            >letters that were omitted (mostly in the interests of space) and closes by
            >encouraging readers to send in letters of interest for possible inclusion
            >in a "second edition."
            >
            >Does anybody know why no such edition was ever undertaken? Does anybody
            >want to undertake one? Wayne? :)

            Christina and I would love to produce a second, enlarged edition. Many more
            letters do exist, though Humphrey and Christopher tried to include, within
            a limited number of pages, most of those concerned with Tolkien's fiction,
            or pertinent extracts, on the grounds that those would be of most interest
            to the greatest number of readers. A lot of correspondence between Tolkien
            and his publishers, for instance, and about Tolkien's academic career, was
            omitted: Christina and I have quoted from many of these letters in our
            books. But one would have to convince those who make decisions about what
            Tolkien books to publish that there are enough good letters to warrant a
            new edition, and also that such a book would sell well enough to recoup the
            investment. Tolkien's _Letters_ has never been a big seller (it's said that
            92% of the first American printing was remaindered), though it seems to
            make respectable money as a backlist title, in paperback. I wonder how well
            the Lewis letters have been selling?

            Anyway, we've suggested a new edition to HarperCollins from time to time,
            and will continue to do so. Our new index (in 2000) seems to have helped it
            along also.

            Wayne




            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Jason Fisher
            Thanks very much for the detailed info, David. Jason ... From: David Bratman To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com Sent: Wednesday, January 17,
            Message 5 of 7 , Jan 18, 2007
            • 0 Attachment
              Thanks very much for the detailed info, David.

              Jason

              ----- Original Message ----
              From: David Bratman <dbratman@...>
              To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Wednesday, January 17, 2007 3:41:09 PM
              Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Letters to/from Tolkien

              At 12:24 PM 1/17/2007 -0800, Jason Fisher wrote:
              >Are there many/any letters in any of the volumes that Lewis sent to Tolkien?

              Tolkien says somewhere that he and Lewis saw each other so often,
              especially in the 1930s and 40s, that they had no occasion to send letters.
              There are five letters from Lewis to Tolkien in the new volume, all fairly
              brief, but since there was only one such letter in the previous two
              volumes, that's a marked increase. One of these five is quoted by
              Carpenter, but I think the others are all newly published.

              13 Nov 1952 - Lewis congratulates Tolkien on having LOTR accepted for
              publication. Some interesting comments on the effects of the passage of
              time on their friendship and on Tolkien's mood.

              28 Oct 1958 - Lewis asks Tolkien, who is about to retire, for his views on
              the succession to his professorship. Regrets not seeing him at Monday
              morning Inklings.

              10 Nov 1958 - chatty newsy letter on various subjects. Remembering
              Tolkien's enjoyment of Eddison, it's interesting that Lewis here passes on
              the news of the posthumous publication of _The Mezentian Gate_.

              20 Nov 1962 - Lewis declines, for health reasons, attending a dinner
              honoring Tolkien. Quoted by Carpenter in _The Inklings_.

              24 Dec 1962 - also responding to a letter of Tolkien's. Has a juicy
              reference to LOTR and a very Lewisian Christmas greetings (he loathed the
              commercialization of the holiday).

              David Bratman
            • Jason Fisher
              Thanks for the reply, Wayne, and it s good to know the suggestion is still being run up the flagpole. Please don t give up, and do let us know if there s
              Message 6 of 7 , Jan 18, 2007
              • 0 Attachment
                Thanks for the reply, Wayne, and it's good to know the suggestion is still being run up the flagpole. Please don't give up, and do let us know if there's anything any of us can do to help (e.g., perhaps if enough of us contacted the Estate or the publisher to echo our support for the idea, with the promise to buy it once it comes out, that might help). I'm very curious about the sales of the Lewis letters, too. If they do well, this could be another argument for an expanded edition of Tolkien's; OTOH, if they do poorly, this might be the final nail in the coffin. Then again, the first two volumes of Lewis have gone to softcover, and the appearance of a third in hardcover would also seem to suggest they're doing well.

                Jason Fisher

                --- Wayne G. Hammond wrote:
                Christina and I would love to produce a second, enlarged edition. Many more
                letters do exist, though Humphrey and Christopher tried to include, within
                a limited number of pages, most of those concerned with Tolkien's fiction,
                or pertinent extracts, on the grounds that those would be of most interest
                to the greatest number of readers. A lot of correspondence between Tolkien
                and his publishers, for instance, and about Tolkien's academic career, was
                omitted: Christina and I have quoted from many of these letters in our
                books. But one would have to convince those who make decisions about what
                Tolkien books to publish that there are enough good letters to warrant a
                new edition, and also that such a book would sell well enough to recoup the
                investment. Tolkien's _Letters_ has never been a big seller (it's said that
                92% of the first American printing was remaindered) , though it seems to
                make respectable money as a backlist title, in paperback. I wonder how well
                the Lewis letters have been selling?

                Anyway, we've suggested a new edition to HarperCollins from time to time,
                and will continue to do so. Our new index (in 2000) seems to have helped it
                along also.
              • William Cloud Hicklin
                It appears also that over the ensuing quarter-century a fair number of JRRT s letters to readers have come to light at Sothbys and eBay and whatnot; many of
                Message 7 of 7 , Jan 18, 2007
                • 0 Attachment
                  It appears also that over the ensuing quarter-century a fair
                  number of JRRT's letters to readers have come to light at
                  Sothbys and eBay and whatnot; many of those I would expect to be
                  of the sort of "answers to inquiries" that are in the existing
                  volume, and some at least of the current owners might agree to
                  contribute copies to a new edition.


                  --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, Jason Fisher <visualweasel@...>
                  wrote:
                  >
                  > Thanks for the reply, Wayne, and it's good to know the
                  suggestion is still being run up the flagpole. Please don't give
                  up, and do let us know if there's anything any of us can do to
                  help (e.g., perhaps if enough of us contacted the Estate or the
                  publisher to echo our support for the idea, with the promise to
                  buy it once it comes out, that might help). I'm very curious
                  about the sales of the Lewis letters, too. If they do well, this
                  could be another argument for an expanded edition of Tolkien's;
                  OTOH, if they do poorly, this might be the final nail in the
                  coffin. Then again, the first two volumes of Lewis have gone to
                  softcover, and the appearance of a third in hardcover would also
                  seem to suggest they're doing well.
                  >
                  > Jason Fisher
                  >
                  > --- Wayne G. Hammond wrote:
                  > Christina and I would love to produce a second, enlarged
                  edition. Many more
                  > letters do exist, though Humphrey and Christopher tried to
                  include, within
                  > a limited number of pages, most of those concerned with
                  Tolkien's fiction,
                  > or pertinent extracts, on the grounds that those would be of
                  most interest
                  > to the greatest number of readers. A lot of correspondence
                  between Tolkien
                  > and his publishers, for instance, and about Tolkien's academic
                  career, was
                  > omitted: Christina and I have quoted from many of these
                  letters in our
                  > books. But one would have to convince those who make decisions
                  about what
                  > Tolkien books to publish that there are enough good letters to
                  warrant a
                  > new edition, and also that such a book would sell well enough
                  to recoup the
                  > investment. Tolkien's _Letters_ has never been a big seller
                  (it's said that
                  > 92% of the first American printing was remaindered) , though
                  it seems to
                  > make respectable money as a backlist title, in paperback. I
                  wonder how well
                  > the Lewis letters have been selling?
                  >
                  > Anyway, we've suggested a new edition to HarperCollins from
                  time to time,
                  > and will continue to do so. Our new index (in 2000) seems to
                  have helped it
                  > along also.
                  >
                Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.