J.R.R. Tolkien & C.S. Lewis - An Archive of Autograph Letters Signed to Robert W. Burchfield w/ Kentish Place-Names and, Beowulf with the Finnesburg Fragment - 1953-1972.


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London / Oxford, Various, 1953-1972. First Edition. First Impression. Hardback. A remarkable archive of scholarly correspondence between Burchfield and three key Inkling members, demonstrating the lesser-seen academic lives of Tolkien and Lewis. This collection, from the library of noted philologist and lexicographer Robert W. Burchfield (1923-2004), consists of: three autograph letters signed from C. S. Lewis to Burchfield discussing an exchange of books and his membership to the Early English Text Society (of which Burchfield was the editorial secretary); a typed letter signed by fellow Inkling C. L. Wrenn (accompanied by Burchfield?s copy of Wrenn?s edition of Beowulf with the Finnesburg Fragment, 1953, and Burchfield?s typescript draft response); Burchfield?s copy of J. K. Wallenberg's Kentish Place-Names, which was lent to Tolkien for many years, accompanied by an autograph letter signed by Tolkien dated 1972 noting his intent to return the book; followed by an autographed letter signed by Christopher Tolkien in 1974 completing the return, and apologising for the two year delay. Burchfield arrived at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar from his native New Zealand in 1949. At Magdalen College he studied English under both Tolkien and Lewis, forming a particularly close bond with Tolkien, who served as a mentor and supervised his edition of the 12th-century text The Ormulum. Upon graduation he became a Fellow at Magdalen, subsequently moving to Christ Church and St Peter?s. His friendship with the Magdalen librarian Charles T. Onions (who is mentioned briefly in Old English by Lewis in his note dated 18 June 1956) led him to edit Onions?s Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. In 1957 he consequently became editor of the second Supplement to the Oxford English Dictionary, becoming the chief editor in 1971. Physical Description: Kentish Place-Names: Original brown wrappers, titles printed to spine and front cover in black. Burchfield?s ink ownership inscription to front wrapper, wrappers browned and detached with significant chipping, a good copy at best; Beowulf with the Finnesburg Fragment: Original black boards, titles to spine in grey and to front board in blind. Burchfield?s pencilled ownership inscription to front free endpaper, newspaper clipping taped to front pastedown, his marginal pencil notes throughout. Negligible rubbing to edges, a near-fine copy. [And:] 8 autograph letters and manuscript notes housed in 4 acetate wallets. Letters occasionally a little creased and browned; overall notably well-preserved. All pieces housed together in a custom blue cloth box by Sjoerd Hofstra. [8789, Hyraxia Books].


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