Excerpts from Mitgang, Herbert. “Behind the Best Sellers: J.R.R. Tolkien.” New York Times (October 2 1977), 48.
“After Professor Tolkien’s death at 81, international readers hoped that Middle-earth would somehow continue to live. The author’s son, Christopher, a World War II R.A.F. pilot, resigned his fellowship in Old English at Oxford and devoted himself to his father’s works. From a vast amount of writing, Christopher Tolkien relates, ‘I set myself to work out a single text, by selection and arrangement. Here and there I had to develop the narrative out of notes and rough drafts. I had to make many choices between competing versions. Essentially, it was a job of organization, not of completion, and the result was ‘The Silmarillion.’”
“‘If you imagine the archetype of the Oxford don, you have him,’ said Rayner Unwin. ‘He was a little offputting and at a distance, until you go to know him, and then he became immensely warm. Fame puzzled him. He was not pretentious. He lived in a very simple way, wrapped up in his family and own internal world. He laughed a lot and smoked his pipe a lot.’”
Unwin: “‘He took criticism in one of two ways–ignore it completely or go back to Square One and do it all over again.’”
Unwin: “‘He was a great philologist, and he knew precisely the way he wanted to say things. In a sense, I was more his correspondent than his editor during ‘The Lord of the Rings.’ His spellings could be eccentric–his plural of dwarf was dwarves, for example. Once a printer corrected all his so-called misspellings. Tolkien was furious. The printer then quoted as his authority the Oxford English Dictionary. And Tolkien responded, ‘Why, I wrote the O.E.D.!’ As a matter of fact, he had worked on it early in his career.’”