Tolkien Library Store - Rare Tolkien Item
J.R.R. Tolkien Autograph Letter to Niall Hoskin: A Glimpse into the Linguistic World of Middle-earth
This handwritten letter, signed by J.R.R. Tolkien and dated 16 October 1968, offers a unique glimpse into the mind of the esteemed author as he discusses his Elvish languages. Addressed to Niall Hoskin, then a 14-year-old with a keen interest in languages, Tolkien notes in part that he lacks the time to provide further linguistic information, as arranging detailed information about the Elvish languages would require substantial labor and time.
The recipient, Niall Hoskin, went on to become a language teacher and recalls how he managed to track down Tolkien's address after the author had moved to Bournemouth to write in tranquility. The letter reveals Tolkien's graciousness in responding to Hoskin's inquiries despite his preference for uninterrupted writing time.
This is what Niall Hoskin recalls about the letter:
"As to the content of the letter: I wrote to him a long time before I tracked down where he was living: hence his reference to a disparity in the dates. You see, he had moved from the Oxford address quoted on the letter itself, retiring to the coast in Bournemouth to write - as he hoped - in tranquillity. In the event, schoolboy detective that I was, I looked him up in the South Dorset telephone book, having read that he had moved there.
I subsequently also received the standard copied letter from Allen & Unwin telling me that Professor Tolkien wasn't replying to letters, and with a copied signature. I didn't keep that one! In the event, although there are plenty of signs in the letter that he did not appreciate the interruption, he was gracious enough to go into some detail: he was also fairly prompt in replying.
My enquiries are now too distant for me to remember precisely what I asked about. Even then - I was 14 - I was interested in languages, and have since become and remained a language teacher, and my enquiries centred, as the reply implies, on linguistic matters. Probably very geeky, but as you say it got his attention! Incidentally, although I live in SW England, the address on the envelope is now that of my parents. "
This charming letter delves into a subject dear to Tolkien's heart - the Elvish languages - and showcases the author's willingness to engage with fans even during his retirement. A true collector's item for any Tolkien enthusiast.
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