Tolkien Gateway

Letter 126

The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien
Letter 126
RecipientMilton Waldman
Date10 March 1950
Subject(s)Reporting to Waldman the status of Sir Stanley Unwin's deliberations on The Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings

Letter 126 is a letter written by J.R.R. Tolkien and published in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien.

[edit] Summary

Tolkien reported to Waldman that Sir Stanley Unwin had written to him personally to tell him that his letter had set Allen and Unwin a problem. Unwin had asked if the million words[note 1] could be broken into three or four somewhat self-contained volumes.

Tolkien perceived that it was Unwin's opinion that his mass of stuff was not suitable for publication, since he had stressed that The Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings went together as one long Saga of the Jewels and the Rings and that he was resolved to treat them as one long thing. The Lord of the Rings was not divisible except into artificial fragments. He had told Unwin that he would not be surprised if he declined the monstrous Saga.

There rested the matter, said Tolkien, and he profoundly hoped that Unwin would let go without demanding the manuscript. Tolkien felt that time was short because he would soon be plunged back into business. Unwin had also mentioned that Farmer Giles had sold only 2,000 copies and Tolkien had replied that he had seen no advertisements.

Tolkien mentioned that he would be moving at some uncertain date but that Merton College would always be able to find him.

[edit] Note

  1. Tolkien's overestimate of the combined length of The Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings