TOLKIEN, John Ronald Reuel (1892-1973). Three autograph letters signed to Paula Iley, 76 Sandfield Road, Oxford and Poole, 26 August 1965 - 6 August 1970, 10½ pages, 8vo, 3 autograph envelopes.
A sequence of letters to a young family friend, including a long discussion of the principles of verse composition. The letter of 26.8.65 refers to the imminent publication of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings in America in response to a pirated edition. In a five-page separate appendix ('You need not read it!') commenting on some poems sent to him, Tolkien compares his own childhood attempts at poetry - 'I remember when I was about seven trying to write some verse about a dragon, and I said it was a 'green great dragon' ...' and emphasises the importance of the technical aspects of verse ('Verse is I think in many ways like games'), with some particular suggestions ('But it is great cheek to interfere with other poets'). The later letters comment on Tolkien's departure from Oxford, 'not wishing to witness any more of its destruction' and escaping from the 'persecution of the press'; and, in general terms, on poetry.
The lot also includes a fine black-and-white portrait photograph of Tolkien, smoking a pipe, signed and dedicated on verso, 160 x 110mm, and three colour photographs of the writer in his study, with Edith Tolkien (in two photographs) inscribed on verso in Edith Tolkein's autograph, 60 x 60mm (one very faded and worn). (7)