Yesterday we reported the sad news of Rayner Unwin’s death. A correspondent wrote in with a few lines which summed up the importance Rayner had to Tolkien and his fans – who would never have existed without Rayner’s intervention.
“Rayner Unwin was the person who first reviewed The Hobbit (when aged 10), and on his advice his father Sir Stanley published it. He was paid one shilling for the review.
Rayner Unwin was also the person responsible for getting the Lord of the Rings published. The necessary permission from his father came in a cable:
IF YOU [Rayner] THINK IT [LotR] A WORK OF GENIUS THEN YOU MAY LOSE £1000.
And the rest is history”