TOLKIEN (J.R.R.) Autograph letter signed ("JRR Tolkien"), to Mr Potts, Headington, Oxford, 15 August 1964

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Lot 251
TOLKIEN (J.R.R.)
Autograph letter signed ("JRR Tolkien"), to Mr Potts, Headington, Oxford, 15 August 1964

£ 1,000 - 1,500
US$ 1,300 - 2,000
MODERN BOOKS, MANUSCRIPTS & ORIGINAL ILLUSTRATIONS
TOLKIEN (J.R.R.)
Autograph letter signed ("JRR Tolkien"), to Mr Potts, responding to his request to fill in a questionnaire, "I think you are asking too much of a busy man. Most of your questions are in any case unanswerable by me, and some impertinent. You may put me down as an odd character for personally I do not believe that any valuable truths or insights are discoverable by such questionnaires", one page, 8vo (176 x 135mm.), on cream-coloured Sandfield Road headed notepaper, some creases and light spotting, Headington, Oxford, 15 August 1964

Footnotes

  • 'I THINK YOU ARE ASKING TOO MUCH OF A BUSY MAN... YOU MAY PUT ME DOWN AS AN ODD CHARACTER': Tolkien rebukes a young admirer.

    Richard Potts sent Professor Tolkien a questionnaire whilst working on his dissertation on children's literature, hoping that the bestselling author would shed some light on his craft. A copy of the questions that caused so much ire does not survive but Potts remembers "I was taken back by his letter. It was not what I had expected. I had asked a number of questions, how and when he wrote, what was the source of his writing. I greatly admired his work but found the length daunting. I may have made reference to this reservation and it was perhaps this that prompted the angry tone of his letter". Potts went on to be a successful children's author in his own right, with titles such as A Boy and his Bike, Haunted Mine and Tod's Owl.

    This letter is sold by his family to benefit the Birth Companions charity.
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