Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Tolkien on Writing for Oneself

J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter to W.H. Auden (June 7, 1955):
I wrote the Trilogy as a personal satisfaction, driven to it by the scarcity of literature of the sort that I wanted to read (and what there was was often heavily alloyed). A great labour; and as the author of the Ancrene Wisse says at the end of his work: 'I would rather, God be my witness, set out on foot for Rome than begin the work over again!' But unlike him I would not have said: 'Read some of this book at your leisure every day; and I hope that if you read it often it will prove very profitable to you; otherwise I shall have spent my long hours very ill.' I was not thinking much of the profit or delight of others; though no one can really write or make anything purely privately.
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