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An indispensable and invaluable document
on 6 January 2013
Already over 30 years old, Humphrey Carpenter's edition of The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien still stands as a unique peep into the mind of one of the greatest authors of Western literature. One just wishes that the book be revised and updated, or a second volume be added with the help of new letters which have come to light since, but the death of the editor seems to preclude this for the time being.
Since initial publication, as happened with Carpenter's biography, one has also become aware that some censorship may have been applied to the text. This doesn't seem necessary, as we are all human and full of foibles and JRRT was no exception.
However a companion volume of sorts already exists. The Father Xmas Letters, which complements this book nicely. Unfortunately, these too have been censored to remove many autobiographical elements. One can only hope that a full, unexpurgated version of these will eventually be released in the future.