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Lot 9134
TOLKIEN, JOHN RONALD REUEL. 1892-1973.
Sold

BOOKS

28 Jun 2004, 10:00 PDT

Los Angeles

Lot Details
TOLKIEN, JOHN RONALD REUEL. 1892-1973.
"I RESEMBLE A HOBBIT AT ANY RATE IN BEING MODERATELY AND CHERFULLY DOMESTICATED."
Autograph Letter Signed ("Ronald Tolkien"), 2 pp recto and verso, 8vo, Oxford, August 10, 1952, to Mrs. George Sayer, light creasing and toning, otherwise very fine.

After toiling on his opus magnum, The Lord of the Rings, for 14 years, and having it rejected by every major British publisher, Tolkien despaired of ever seeing his manuscript in print. His friends George and Moira Sayer, having gotten hold of a portion of Tolkien's manuscript after it was rejected by yet another publisher, became tremendous fans, and invited him to come and stay with them at Malvern during his break. In response, Tolkien penned this letter: "Though I carried your letter about to cheer me up-it is a wonderful sensation to find that anything one has written is liked-I am afraid I allowed the burden of exhaustion caused by examinations to lead me into ungrateful silence. I think it is v. kind indeed of you all the same to allow me to come and stay. I will be as little nuisance as possible (I know too much to suppose that I shall be none); and I resemble a hobbit at any rate in being moderately and cheerfully domesticated, though no cook. I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to it, the first thoroughly agreeable prospect I have had since I was ill in October I suppose George got back safely after his astonishing dash to O. and back! I can only hope that the cargo proved worth the effort. Still I cannot really fear that, if your appetite (and his) could last so long, it will not find plenty to its taste in the second half. It is pretty well a crescendo until at least Chap 4 of the 1st book! It is on the rallentando and the coda that I am specially anxious for your opinion."
Two remarkable events occurred during Tolkien's visit with the Sayers. First, Sayer encouraged Tolkien to read aloud from his work into a tape recorder, creating the first recorded Tolkien readings that still urvive and are available today. Second, Sayer's suggested that Tolkien try to recall any former student now in publishing who might be willing to take a chance on the manuscript. Tolkien's bemused response, "There's only Rayner Unwin," was the key to getting the masterpiece published at last.
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