Tolkien Gateway

Letter 20

The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien
Letter 20
RecipientC.A. Furth, Allen & Unwin
Date19 December 1937
Subject(s)The Hobbit
The Lord of the Rings

Letter 20 is a letter written by J.R.R. Tolkien and published in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien.

[edit] Summary

This letter is a reply to C.A. Furth of Allen & Unwin who had written to tell Tolkien about a minor crisis at the publishers' precipitated by the volume of Christmas orders for The Hobbit. Tolkien thanks Mr Furth for his letter and for the copies of The Hobbit he had received as requested. He discusses some emendations he would like made to text of the next edition, fixing some errors that have been pointed out to him by 'humble hobbit-fancier' Mr Arthur Ransome (the inappropriate use of man/men to refer to hobbits and dwarves in a few places).[note 1]

Of chief 'historical' interest is the closing line:

I have written the first chapter of a new story about Hobbits – 'A long expected party'. A merry Christmas.

An additional paragraph from the letter and a reproduction of the second page appeared in the booklet The Hobbit 50th Anniversary (cf. Letter to Charles Furth (19 December 1937)).[1]


  1. For the correspondence between Tolkien and Ransome, see letter Letter to Arthur Ransome.


  1. "The Hobbit 50th Anniversary. 1987", (accessed 8 July 2012)