In a letter housed at the University of Leeds, Tolkien claimed that sales of The Hobbit “are not very great” and that he had changed some of the wording in the book to make it more marketable. The changes came at the suggestion of the letter’s recipient, another author named Arthur Ransome. Tolkien promised to send him a copy of The Hobbit if it were ever to be reprinted.
Though Tolkien taught at Leeds for only five years, the school retains many marks of his influence. Aside from housing letters like this, Leeds offers classes featuring medieval Welsh, Beowulf, and Tolkien’s translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. During his tenure, Tolkien also saw the rise of The Viking Club, where students gathered to read and sing viking sagas and songs. He even found time to publish poetry in the school literary magazine, The Gryphon while developing The Silmarillion.
You can read more about Tolkien’s time at Leeds in this article, which was graciously brought to our attention by the University of Leeds Press Office.