Tolkien’s whole life emerges from his letters. There are intimate letters to his wife; personal letters to his children filled with love and advice; detailed letters to his publisher concerned with the minutiae of the publishing process; expansive letters to readers answering questions about the world he had created; and professorial notes to his academic colleagues.
Christopher and his father, 1945
Lettre 96 à Christopher Tolkien (1945)
Written towards the end of the Second World War when Christopher was training with the RAF in South Africa, this letter discusses poignancy in The Lord of the Rings, life in the armed forces, Tolkien’s army service in France during the First World War and the current destruction of Europe by the ‘War of the Machines’.
Lettre 131 à Milton Waldman (1951)
This letter describes the relationship between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and explains the differences in their tone and style. It describes the importance of Tolkien’s invented languages, his love of myth and fairy-tale, his dislike of allegory and his desire to create an English mythology. There is also an explanation of the nature of Hobbits and Wizards.
W.H. Auden at Christ Church, Oxford, 1972.
Lettre 163 à W.H. Auden (1955)
In this long letter Tolkien writes of his love of northern myths, legends and languages. He provides some early biographical background as well as sources of inspiration for his literary work. He describes the relationship between his major works, and the process of writing The Lord of the Rings.
Lettre 212 à Rhona Beare (1958)
In this letter to a fan of The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien describes the wider religious context behind the work, touching on the creation of the world, the role of the Valar and the different fates of Elves, Men and Dwarves.
Michael outside 20 Northmoor Road, 1940
Lettre à Michael Tolkien 6-8 mars 1941
This letter recalls his early romance with his wife Edith, and the opposition they faced from his family and his guardian. During their courtship he gained a scholarship at Oxford, graduated with a First Class degree and enlisted in the army as the First World War raged.
Edith, taken the year she and Tolkien were married, 1916.