‘The Lord of the Rings’
has been read by many people
since it finally appeared in print;
and I should like to say something here
with reference to the many opinions or guesses
that I have received or have read
concerning the motives and meaning of the tale.
The prime motive was the desire of a tale-teller to try his hand at a really long story
that would hold the attention of readers, amuse them, delight them, and at times maybe excite them or deeply move them.
As a guide I had only my own feelings for what is appealing or moving, and for many the guide was inevitably often at fault.
Some who have read the book, or at any rate have reviewed it, have found it boring, absurd, or contemptible;
and I have no cause to complain,
since I have similar opinions of their works,
or of the kinds of writing that they evidently prefer.
But even from the points of view of many
who have enjoyed my story there is much that fails to please.
It is perhaps not possible in a long tale to please everybody at all points,
nor to displease everybody at the same points;
for I find from the letters that I have received that
the passages or chapters that are to some a blemish are all by others specially approved.
The most critical reader of all, myself, now finds many defects, minor and major,
but being fortunately under no obligation either to review the book or to write it again,
he will pass over these in silence, except one that has been noted by others:
the book is too short.