08 October 2023

from letter no. 131 to Milton Waldman, 1951 (J.R.R. Tolkien)

It was begun in 1936, and every part has been written many times.  Hardly a word in its 600,000 or more has been unconsidered.  And the placing, size, style, and contribution to the whole of all the features, incidents, and chapters has been laboriously pondered.  I do not say this in recommendation.  It is, I feel, only too likely that I am deluded, lost in a web of vain imaginings of not much value to others - in spite of the fact that a few readers have found it good, on the whole.  What I intend to say is this: I cannot substantially alter the thing.  I have finished it, it is 'off my mind': the labour has been colossal; and it must stand or fall, practically as it is.

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