[After Allen & Unwin, under pressure from Tolkien to make up their minds, had reluctantly declined to publish The Lord of the Rings together with The Silmarillion, Tolkien was confident that Milton Waldman of Collins would shortly issue both books under his firm's imprint. In the spring of 1950, Waldman told Tolkien that he hoped to begin typesetting the following autumn. But there were delays, largely caused by Waldman's frequent absences in Italy and his ill-health. By the latter part of 1951 no definite arrangements for publication had yet been made, and Collins were becoming anxious about the combined length of both books. It was apparently at Waldman's suggestion that Tolkien wrote the following letter - of which the full text is some ten thousand words long - with the intention of demonstrating that The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion were interdependent and indivisible. The letter, which interested Waldman so much that he had a typed copy made (see the end of no. 137), is not dated, but was probably written late in 1951.]

The Second Age
[dna 9/6]
Numenor and the High Elves in a Dark Age

The next cycle deals (or would deal) with the Second Age. But it is on Earth a dark age, and not very much of its history is (or need be) told. In the great battles against the First Enemy the lands were broken and ruined, and the West of Middle-earth became desolate. We team that the Exiled Elves were, if not commanded, at least sternly counselled to return into the West, and there be at peace. They were not to dwell permanently in Valinor again, but in the Lonely Isle of Eressëa within sight of the Blessed Realm. The Men of the Three Houses were rewarded for their valour and faithful alliance, by being allowed to dwell 'western-most of all mortals’, in the great ‘Atlantis’ isle of Númenóre.[*]

The doom or gift of God, of mortality, the gods of course cannot abrogate, but the Numenoreans have a great span of life. They set sail and leave Middle-earth, and establish a great kingdom of mariners just within furthest sight of Eressea (but not of Valinor). Most of the High Elves depart also back into the West. Not all. Some Men akin to the Numenoreans remain in the land not far from the shores of the Sea. Some of the Exiles will not return, or delay their return (for the way west is ever open to the immortals and in the Grey Havens ships are ever ready to sail away for ever).


[*] A name that Lewis derives from me and cannot be restrained from using, and mis-spelling as Numinor. Numenóre means in 'Elvish' simply Westemesse or Land in the West, and is not related to numen numinous, or nonmenon.2