Clyde Kilby on J.R.R. Tolkien

“From my point of view his most important letter to me was that of December 18, 1965 in which he invited me, at my own suggestion, to come to Oxford in the summer of 1966.  In this letter Tolkien spoke of himself as [a] writer, saying, “I have never had much confidence in my own work, and even now when I am assured (still much to my grateful surprise) that it has value for other people, I feel diffident, reluctant as it were to expose my world of imagination to possibly contemptuous eyes.  But for the encouragement of C.S.L., I do not think I should ever have completed and offered for publication THE LORD OF THE RINGS.  THE SILMARILLION is quite different, and if good at all, good in quite another way.  I don’t really know what to make of it.” [Kilby, “Woodland Prisoner,” VII, pg. 49.]

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