Dorothy L. Sayers Copy of Tolkien's First Appearance in Book Form to Auction


Sayers' copy of Oxford Poetry 1915

Dorothy L. Sayers signed personal copy of Oxford Poetry 1915 featuring her and J.R.R. Tolkien's first appearances in book form is offered by Sotheby's as part of its Books, Manuscripts and Music from Medieval to Modern sale which closes on July 18.

Oxford Poetry 1915 (Oxford, Basil Blackwell, 1915) is in its original wrappers with her ownership signature to the half-title and her holograph corrections to her contribution to the short collection, a poem called Lay written during her final year as an undergraduate at the University of Oxford. Sayers co-edited the 1917-19 volumes of Oxford Poetry. The estimate is £1,800- £2,600.

Tolkien's contribution was Goblin Feet, a whimsical poem about fairies written April 27-28 April 1915 for Edith Bratt (later his wife) which became very popular and was regularly anthologized. However, he came to dislike it and his son Christopher Tolkien in The Book of Lost Tales Part One reports that his father said: "I wish the unhappy little thing, representing all that I came (so soon after) to fervently dislike, could be buried for ever."

The book also features the first appearance in print of Aldous Huxley and verse by Naomi Mitchison, who later become a fan of Tolkien's works and indeed worked as a proofreader of The Lord of the Rings when George Allen & Unwin sent her advance proofs of the first two volumes (though she was critical of the third).