So, we've long know that in his youth Terry Pratchett, who wd become the first person knighted for writing fantasy, wrote a fan letter to J. R. R. Tolkien, the man who more than any other invented the genre. It was a pleasure, therefore, to find the whole letter (Pratchett to Tolkien, November 22nd 1967) printed in full in the new Pratchett biography
Dear Professor Tolkien;
This is simply a letter of appreciation. I have just read 'Smith of Wootton Major'. To tell the truth, when I ordered it I expected a light tale akin to 'Farmer Giles of Ham' --instead I read and re-read it with awe.
I don't know what there was in it that moved me to write this letter. It was something that 'The Lord of the Rings' never possessed except in very short measure, that feeling of recognition. You said something in 'Smith' which I hope I grasped, and there was a feeling almost of recognition. An odd feeling of grief overcame me when I read it. I cannot explain my feelings any clearer. It was like hearing a piece of misic from way back, except that it was nearer poetry by Graves's definition. Thank you very much for writing it.
Now I await the Silmarilion, [Nt1]
Wilkins does not print Tolkien's reply, no doubt for reasons of copyright, but he does tell us that Tolkien's reply was brief, just four sentences, in which JRRT noted that this was the first fan mail he had received re. SWM.
'You evidently feel about the story very much as I do myself. I can hardly say more.' [Nt2]
We already knew the main sentence in Tolkien's reply ('You evidently feel . . .') from its being quoted in SCULL & HAMMOND, JRRT COMPANION & GUIDE: CHRONOLOGY page 746. The short following sentence ('I can hardly . . .') was previously unpublished, so far as I can tell.
current reading: TERRY PRATCHETT: A LIFE IN FOOTNOTES, by Rob Wilkins, December 2022
Notes— the slight misspelling of Silmarilon (sic) is Pratchett's]