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    Sale 5822

    Fine Printed Books & Manuscripts including the Works of Charles Dickens

    1 June 2009, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 77

    TOLKIEN, John Ronald Reuel (1892-1973). A series of eight autograph letters signed and one typed letter signed ('J.R.R.T.', 'J.R.R. Tolkien', 'Ronald Tolkien', one unsigned) to Professor Przemyslaw Mroczkowski, one to Mrs Mrockzkowska, Bournemouth, Headington and n.p., 2 August 1946 - 10 April 1969, together 13 pages, 8vo and 4to, in autograph, and 2 pages, 4to, typescript, envelope; with a typescript of an essay by Mroczkowski on the New Robinson Chaucer with very extensive corrections in Tolkien's hand, commentary at the end on approx 2 pages, 4to; [with] two autograph letters signed to the Mroczkowskis by C.S. Lewis, 8 March and 13 May 1958, arranging a meeting and discussing a Polish translation of one of his books, 1½ pages, 8vo and 4to. Provenance: by descent from the recipients.

    Price Realised  

    TOLKIEN, John Ronald Reuel (1892-1973). A series of eight autograph letters signed and one typed letter signed ('J.R.R.T.', 'J.R.R. Tolkien', 'Ronald Tolkien', one unsigned) to Professor Przemyslaw Mroczkowski, one to Mrs Mrockzkowska, Bournemouth, Headington and n.p., 2 August 1946 - 10 April 1969, together 13 pages, 8vo and 4to, in autograph, and 2 pages, 4to, typescript, envelope; with a typescript of an essay by Mroczkowski on the New Robinson Chaucer with very extensive corrections in Tolkien's hand, commentary at the end on approx 2 pages, 4to; [with] two autograph letters signed to the Mroczkowskis by C.S. Lewis, 8 March and 13 May 1958, arranging a meeting and discussing a Polish translation of one of his books, 1½ pages, 8vo and 4to. Provenance: by descent from the recipients.

    The earliest, typewritten letter discusses, in a discouraging way, the practicalities of Mroczkowski's proposed studies in Oxford; resuming the correspondence in 1957, Tolkien discusses his extensive proposed changes to Mroczkowski's essay on Chaucer ('Your style uses too many abstract nouns for my taste'). In 1958 he broaches a 'difficult matter', offering his friend financial support, in the form of £30, writing a few days later to express his pleasure that 'you will allow me to share a little of the proceeds of The Lord of the Rings. Specially since I guess it to be an answer to prayer, for on the way from church on Sunday I had a sudden clear intuition that you were worried and in difficulties'. In December 1959 he complains that he finds 'compulsory retirement both distressing, and extremely laborious', complaining about his 'very inadequate pension'; the later letters continue to complain of the effects of old age and other troubles, including 'my family that gives me much cause for grief and anxiety'; the last, to Mrs Mroczkowska, concludes that 'Poland for its own sake, but especially since it is your country, is ever in my mind'. (12)


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    Please note that the illustration for this lot in the printed catalogue is incorrect.