Fine Books, Manuscripts, Atlases & Historical Photographs / TOLKIEN (J.R.R.) Autograph rules for one of his word-games, headed Word-extraction, listing seven numbered rules, Bournemouth, c.1968
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A WORD GAME BY J.R.R. TOLKIEN. As has often been pointed out, and as Tolkien himself acknowledged, word-games and invented languages form the bedrock of his art (leading, even, to comparisons being made with Joyce and Finnegans Wake). In terms of plot, Bilbo and Gollum's riddle-game forms a turning point of The Hobbit; and when Tolkien came to writing its adult sequel, he took this episode – and the ring that Bilbo had won from Gollum – as the source of his tale (for a general discussion of the topic, see Beppe Roncari, 'Tolkien e l'enigmistica', Endòre. no. 12, 2009). Simon Tolkien, who often stayed with his grandfather in Bournemouth when a boy, writes that 'I don't remember My Grandfather writing when I went to stay with him. He played endless word games with me and did the Telegraph crossword' ('My Grandfather', simontolkien.com). This particular puzzle derives from the papers of Tolkien's Bournemouth doctor and his wife, Denys and Joyce Tolhurst and probably dates from 1968, the year he and Edith moved to Bournemouth (see his letter to the Tolhursts in the present sale).