JRR Tolkien told a fellow teacher that "all teaching is exhausting and depressing" as revealed in a newly-discovered letter.
Tolkien wrote the letter in 1964 in response to a newly qualified teacher named Anne Mountfield. Mountfield had told Tolkien that her "rather restless" class had been enraptured when she read them The Hobbit aloud.
Tolkien in his reply agreed that the story of Bilbo Baggins's adventures "seems to go down well at school." But he also told the young teacher that "all teaching is exhausting, and depressing and one is seldom comforted by knowing when one has had some effect.“
Tolkien was Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford University. He corrected exams in the summers to supplement his salary and wrote the first line of The Hobbit while marking papers.
"All I remember about the start of The Hobbit is sitting correcting School Certificate papers in the everlasting weariness of that annual task forced on impecunious academics with children, “ he wrote to WH Auden. “On the blank leaf I scrawled: 'In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.' I did not and do not know why."
Tolkien's letter to the young teacher will be auctioned by Bonhams in London on June 18, when it is expected to sell for £2,000.