The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. How was the collection of J.R.R. Tolkien's letters compiled and who helped with the process?

Humphrey Carpenter was responsible for the main order of the letters and Christopher Tolkien assisted by providing input on the selection and editing of them. The letters are arranged and numbered very neatly with no chapters.

2. How old is Tolkien when the earliest letters begin and what is his situation?

Tolkien is twenty-one years old in the earliest letters. He is an undergraduate at Oxford University and primarily writing to his girlfriend, Edith Bratt.

3. What happens between Tolkien and Edith leading up to their engagement?

Tolkien and Edith are separated for a period of three years. During that time, Tolkien does not write to her, and Edith becomes engaged to someone else. Eventually, the two reconnect and Edith cancels her engagement in order to marry Tolkien.

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