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

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  • 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 1 of 7 , Jan 17, 2007
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      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 2 of 7 , Jan 18, 2007
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        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 3 of 7 , Jan 18, 2007
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          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 4 of 7 , Jan 18, 2007
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            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.
            >
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