Take a look at this letter J. R. R. Tolkien sent to Edinburgh Uni just weeks before he died

He wrote that his visit to Edi Uni made him feel like a hobbit

Hide Images

An archivist at the Centre for Research Collections at Edinburgh Uni has stumbled across a letter from J. R. R. Tolkien to the university, while looking for something in their archives.

The beloved author of Lord of the Rings was thanking a Professor Campbell for the award of an Honorary Degree from the university. Within the letter he says that his visit to Edinburgh had made him feel “like a hobbit would”.

The letter was written on July 28th, 1973 – just five weeks before Tolkien passed away.

The letter reads:

“Dear Professor Campbell, I have now returned to Oxford after some further travelling, and write, rather belatedly to thank you for your part in the events of July 11th and 12th, which both in feasting and in ceremonial were to me the most resplendent academic occasion in which I have taken part.

“The festive occasions to my own surprise I survived with unmarred pleasure, owing to the generous substitution of whisky for wine, and I am confirmed in my doctor’s advice: ‘you must transfer your allegiance wholly from Bacchus to Ceres’.

“At the laureation I felt like a hobbit would: as is exhibited in ‘The Lord of the Rings’, especially by Merry and Pippin: great pride and delight in the reception of high honour and title, combined with (and in a way enhanced by) a difficulty in believing that it was really happening to me, or was really deserved except by the generousity of my superiors.

“The words of the Address left me overwhelmed. Especially the words ‘making him one of us’. I assure you dear Edinburgh has gripped me fast; and though my 81 years had begun to make me reluctant to travel far, a journey back north, if opportunity and heath allows, will not be reluctant.

“Yours sincerely
J R R Tolkien.”

Picture Credits: Centre for Research Collections, University of Edinburgh Facebook page