TOLKIEN, J.R.R. 1892-1973. Autograph Letter Signed ("J.R.R. Tolkien") to Miss F.L. Perry describing his own hobbitness and the laborious creation of The Lord of the Rings, 4 pp, 8vo (170 x 132 mm), on 76 Sanfield Road letterhead, June 28, 1955, old folds.
A REMARKABLE LETTER IN WHICH HE DESCRIBES HIMSELF LIKE A HOBBIT, AND COMMENTS ON THE LABORIOUS WORK OF WRITING HIS MASTERPIECE. He begins with his description of a visit to Bumpus with Rayner Unwin at the behest of Mr. Wilson [John Gideon Wilson]. He calls Mr. Wilson, the head of Bumpus, "one of my major supporters, who has done more than any other one person to promote sales." He promises to send her a proof of vol 3.
Speaking of travelling and his family, he describes himself as a Hobbit: "Alas, I love men so little — en masse — that my own desire is for empty countries, though being far more timid and unadventurous than my desires, I do not really face the prospect of hardship or deprivation of familiar foods (and tobacco) with anything but alarm. This sounds a fair description of a hobbit! But I cannot claim to be one, since I have no confidence at all that I should prove 'tough at/or in a pinch'."
Responding to her note that his writing "gave the effect of ease," he describes for her how the writing of The Lord of the Rings actually felt: "the whole work was so laborious, and so often (at all points) rewritten: the actual sensation in process of composition, except for a few passages, was more like walking uphill in heavy boots against a strong wind with the light failing!"
Miss F.L. Perry was the first fan to send Tolkien a letter regarding the new book The Lord of the Rings, the sequel to The Hobbit, as he wrote to her in a letter dated August 6, 1954. Tolkien enjoyed receiving letters from enthusiastic fans at the time and did not find replying to be a burden (see Hammond & Scull, A Tolkien Companion and Guide, 2006, p 437). Tolkien and Miss Perry exchanged a number of letters documenting his feelings during publication, and continued correspondence until at least 1961. He clearly valued her opinion. See lots 150-153 in this sale.