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The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien 2.jpg

The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien is a collection published in 1981 of 354 selected letters written by J.R.R. Tolkien over the course of his lifetime, which were edited where necessary and compiled by Tolkien's biographer Humphrey Carpenter, with the help of Christopher Tolkien. The selection contains 354 letters dates between October 1914 when Tolkien was an undergraduate at Oxford and August 29, 1973; four days before his death.


Humphrey Carpenter first collected and transcribed all the letters and made the initial selection based upon that. Then Christopher Tolkien commented upon his work and made various suggestions for changes, which where then discussed among them and adopted with various emendations. They then found it necessary to reduce the text quite severely for consideration of space. Humphrey then proposed the initial cuts on which Christopher again made various suggestions after which they came up with a final procedure needed for publication.


Types of letters

The 354 letters can be roughly divided into four categories:

  • Personal letters to his family, namely to his wife Edith Tolkien, his son Christopher Tolkien and all his other children and even some grandchildren.
  • Letters concerning his career as a professor of Anglo-Saxon
  • Letters send to his publishers Allen & Unwin explaining his often continued failing to meet deadlines and other topics related to publishing a book and
  • Letters about Middle-earth, this category is for obvious reasons the most interesting to Tolkien fans as it provides a lot of information about Middle-earth which at the time of publishing could not anywhere else in the then published works by Tolkien himself and his then posthumously published work by his son Christopher.


In letters 29 & 30, we find out that a German translation of The Hobbit was being negotiated in 1938. The German firm inquired whether Tolkien was of 'arisch' (Aryan) origin. Tolkien was infuriated by this, and wrote two letters as a response. In the first one Tolkien apparently refused to give any declaration whatsoever of his origin and in the second one he proudly protested on the inquiry and, among other things, replied that "... I regret that I appear to have no ancestors of that gifted [Jewish] people". He gave his editor the choice on which reply to use. This second letter is the only one preserved and it is probable that the first one was sent.



Foreign Language Translated name
Afrikaans Die Briewe van J. R. R. Tolkien
Albanian Letrat e J. R. R. Tolkien
Amharic ጄ አር አር ጦልኪአን ደብዳቤዎች
Arabic رسائل من جون ر. تولكين
Armenian Ջոն Ռոնալդ Ռուել Թոլքին Տառերը ?
Azerbaijani J. R. R. Tolkien Məktubları
Basque J. R. R. Tolkienen Gutunak
Belarusian Cyrillic Лісты Толкіна
Bengali জজে. আর. আর. টলকিন বর্ণ
Bulgarian Cyrillic Писмата на Й. Р. Р. Толкин
Burmese ဂျေ အာ အာ တော်ကီးန် စာလုံးများ
Catalan Les cartes de J. R. R. Tolkien
Cebuano Ang Sulat ni J. R. R. Tolkien
Corsican U Lettres di J. R. R. Tolkien
Croatian Pisma od J. R. R. Tolkina
Czech Dopisy J. R. R. Tolkien
Danish J. R. R. Tolkiens breve
Dutch De Brieven van J.R.R. Tolkien
Esperanto La Leteroj de J. R. R. Tolkien
Estonian Kirjad kohta J. R. R. Tolkien
Filipino Ang Sulat ng J. R. R. Tolkien
Finnish J. R. R. Tolkienin kirjaimet
French Les lettres de J. R. R. Tolkien
Galician As cartas de J. R. R. Tolkien
Georgian ჯ. რ. რ. ტოლკინის წერილები
German J. R. R. Tolkien Briefe
Greek Οι επιστολές του Τζ. Ρ. Ρ. Τόλκιν
Gujarati જે.આર. આર. ટોલ્કિએનનાં પત્રો
Hausa Wasikun J. R. R. Tolkien
Hebrew מכתבי ר 'ר' טולקין
Hindi जे॰आर॰आर॰ टोल्किन के पत्र
Hungarian J. R. R. Tolkien levelei
Icelandic Bréfum af J. R. R. Tolkien
Indonesian Huruf-huruf J. R. R. Tolkien
Irish Gaelic Na Litreacha de J. R. R. Tolkien
Italian Le lettere di J. R. R. Tolkien
Japanese J・R・R・トールキンの手紙
Javanese Ing Huruf saka J. R. R. Tolkien
Kannada ದಿ ಲೆಟರ್ಸ್ ಆಫ್ ಜೆ. ಆರ್. ಆರ್. ಟೋಲ್ಕಿನ್
Kazakh J. Р. Р. хаттар Толкиеннің (Cyrillic) J. R. R. xattar Tolkïenniñ (Latin)
Korean J. R. R. 톨킨의 편지
Kyrgyz Cyrillic Ж. Р. Р. Толкин каттар
Latin Literae J. R. R. Tolkien
Latvian Vēstulēm no J. R. R. Tolkien
Lithuanian J. R. R. Tolkino raidės
Macedonian Cyrillic Писмата на Ј Р Р Толкин
Malaysian Huruf-huruf J. R. R. Tolkien
Maltese Il Ittri ta 'J. R. R. Tolkien
Maori Ko nga Reta a J. R. R. Tolkien
Marathi जे.आर.आर. टॉल्कीन: पत्रे
Mongolian Cyrillic J. Р. Р. Толкиэн нь Захидал
Nepalese जे आर आर टोल्किएन को पत्र ?
Norwegian Bokstavene av J. R. R. Tolkien
Persian جی. آر. آر. تالکین نامه ها
Polish Listy J. R. R. Tolkiena
Portuguese As Cartas de J. R. R. Tolkien
Punjabi ਜੇ.ਆਰ.ਆਰ. ਟੌਕਲਿਕ ਅੱਖਰ
Romanian Scrisorile lui J. R. R. Tolkien
Russian Письма Дж. Р. Р. Толкина
Samoan O Mataitusi o le J. R. R. Tolkien
Sesotho Ea Mangolo a J. R. R. Tolkien
Scottish Gaelic Litrichean de J. R. R. Tolkien
Serbian Тхе Леттерс од Ј. Р. Р. Толкиен (Cyrillic) Pisma od J. R. R. Tolkien (Latin)
Sinhalese ජේ.ආර්.ආර්. ටෝල්කීන් අකුරු
Slovak Listy J. R. R. Tolkiena
Slovenian Črke J. R. R. Tolkien
Spanish Las cartas de J. R. R. Tolkien
Sundanese Nu Sastra Sunda tina J. R. R. Tolkien
Swahili Barua ya J. R. R. Tolkien
Swedish Brev av J. R. R. Tolkien
Tamil ஜே. ஆர். ஆர். டோல்கீன் எழுத்துமூலங்கள்
Telugu జె.ఆర్.ఆర్.టోల్కీన్ ది లెటర్స్ ఆఫ్
Thai จดหมายจากเจ. อาร์. อาร์. โทลคีน ?
Turkish J. R. R. Tolkien'in Mektupları
Turkmen J. R. R. Tolkieniň Hatlary
Ukrainian Cyrillic листи Толкіна
Uzbek Ж. Р. Р. Толкиенъин мактуби (Cyrillic) J. R. R. Tolkien'in maktubi (Latin)
Vietnamese Các chữ cái của J. R. R. Tolkien
Welsh Mae Llythyrau J. R. R. Tolkien