Tolkien Gateway

Letter 270

The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien
Letter 270
RecipientRayner Unwin
Date20 May 1965
Subject(s)Smith of Wootton Major, revising The Lord of the Rings to fight Ace Books

Letter 270 is a letter written by J.R.R. Tolkien and published in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien.

[edit] Preface

Tolkien had sent his new Smith of Wootton Major to Unwin, who suggested that it needed other stories to make a sufficient large book. This suggestion came as Tolkien was revising The Lord of the Rings for a new edition that would have U.S. copyright protection, which was necessary because Ace Books had issued the book without any consent and (initially) without paying royalties.

[edit] Summary

Tolkien thanked Unwin for the return of Smith of Wootton Major. He was delighted that Unwin liked the story but said he had nothing of a similar sort or length for a book. All of his unfinished material belonged to the world of The Silmarillion, which he would be working on if not for the infernal business of the copyright. He would send the remainder of Sir Gawain with comments on specimen pages soon, but the preface and commentary had to wait until the revised The Lord of the Rings was done. He would be working hard on that until 1 July.

In a postscript Tolkien said that in every acknowledgement sent to U.S. readers he added a note about Ace Books' piracy and asked them to inform others.