Literary Birthday - 3 January - J.R.R. Tolkien

JRR Tolkien was born 3 January 1892, and died 2 September 1973

JRR Tolkien: 10 Quotes

  1. I desired dragons with a profound desire. Of course, I in my timid body did not wish to have them in the neighbourhood. But the world that contained even the imagination of Fafnir was richer and beautiful at whatever cost of peril.
  2. It’s the job that’s never started takes longest to finish. 
  3. I am dreading the publication, for it will be impossible not to mind what is said. I have exposed my heart to be shot at.
  4. I learned more in those two years than in any other equal period of my life. (On his time spent working on the New English Dictionary)
  5. Fantasy remains a human right: we make in our measure and in our derivative mode, because we are made: and not only made, but made in the image and likeness of a Maker.
  6. I am told that I talk in shorthand and then smudge it. 
  7. The unpayable debt that I owe to him [C.S. Lewis] was not ‘influence’ as it is ordinarily understood, but sheer encouragement. He was for long my only audience. Only from him did I ever get the idea that my ‘stuff’ could be more than a private hobby.
  8. If you’re going to have a complicated story you must work to a map; otherwise you’ll never make a map of it afterwards.
  9. The news today about ‘Atomic bombs’ is so horrifying one is stunned. The utter folly of these lunatic physicists to consent to do such work for war-purposes: calmly plotting the destruction of the world! Such explosives in men’s hands, while their moral and intellectual status is declining, is about as useful as giving out firearms to all inmates of a gaol and then saying that you hope ‘this will ensure peace’. But one good thing may arise out of it, I suppose, if the write-ups are not overheated: Japan ought to cave in. Well we’re in God’s hands. But He does not look kindly on Babel-builders.
  10. A single dream is more powerful than a thousand realities.

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born in South Africa but moved to England as a child. He was a writer, poet, philologist, and university professor, best known for the classic high fantasy works: The HobbitThe Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion.

Source for Image

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J. R. R. Tolkien’s response to the Nazis

J. R. R. Tolkien’s response to the Nazis

In 1938, some months after the initial publication of The HobbitJ. R. R. Tolkien and his British publisher, Stanley Unwin, opened talks with Rütten & Loening, a Berlin-based publishing house who were keen to translate the novel for the German market.

All was going well until, in July, they wrote to Tolkien and asked for proof of his Aryan descent. Tolkien was furious, and forwarded their letter to his publisher along with two possible replies — one in which their question was delicately side-stepped, and one, seen below, in which Tolkien made his displeasure known with considerable style.

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25 July 1938
20 Northmoor Road, Oxford 

Dear Sirs,

Thank you for your letter. I regret that I am not clear as to what you intend by arisch. I am not of Aryan extraction: that is Indo-Iranian; as far as I am aware none of my ancestors spoke Hindustani, Persian, Gypsy, or any related dialects. But if I am to understand that you are enquiring whether I am of Jewish origin, I can only reply that I regret that I appear to have no ancestors of that gifted people. My great-great-grandfather came to England in the eighteenth century from Germany: the main part of my descent is therefore purely English, and I am an English subject — which should be sufficient. I have been accustomed, nonetheless, to regard my German name with pride, and continued to do so throughout the period of the late regrettable war, in which I served in the English army. I cannot, however, forbear to comment that if impertinent and irrelevant inquiries of this sort are to become the rule in matters of literature, then the time is not far distant when a German name will no longer be a source of pride.

Your enquiry is doubtless made in order to comply with the laws of your own country, but that this should be held to apply to the subjects of another state would be improper, even if it had (as it has not) any bearing whatsoever on the merits of my work or its sustainability for publication, of which you appear to have satisfied yourselves without reference to my Abstammung.

I trust you will find this reply satisfactory, and 
remain yours faithfully,
J. R. R. Tolkien

(Source: The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien; Image: Tolkien in 1955, via; Thanks to William Vodrey.) 

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Writers in Wartime

Writers in Wartime   

  1. Ernest Hemingway, Ambulance Driver - WW1
  2. Kurt Vonnegut, Infantryman/Scout - WW2
  3. Tim O’Brien, Infantryman - Vietnam
  4. Evelyn Waugh, Royal Marines/Special Operations Executive - WW2
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Signals Officer Infantry - WW1
  6. Roald Dahl, Fighter Pilot - WW2

(Source: myimaginarybrooklyn)

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