The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien is a selection of J. R. R. Tolkien's letters published in 1981, edited by Tolkien's biographer Humphrey Carpenter assisted by Christopher Tolkien. The selection from a large mass of materials contains 354 letters, dating between October 1914, when Tolkien was an undergraduate at Oxford, and 29 August 1973, four days before his death. The letters are of interest both for what they show of Tolkien's life and for his interpretations of his Middle-earth writings.
The book has a 3-page introduction by its editor, Humphrey Carpenter. It notes that an "enormous quantity of material [had] to be omitted, and that only passages of particular interest could be included." The omissions include "the very large body of letters" written between 1913 and 1918 to Edith Bratt, the woman who became his wife. Carpenter notes that few letters from the period between 1918 and 1937 survive, and those "unfortunately" say nothing about the writing of The Si