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A letter of note

Nira
Lorien


Jul 25 2013, 7:01pm

Post #1 of 25 (513 views)
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A letter of note Can't Post

Via Twitter- "On this day in 1938 JRR Tolkien wrote a magnficent letter to a publishing house in Nazi Germany: http://bit.ly/xyPFEV "

For those unfamiliar with it, "Letters of Note" is a fascinating blog to follow.

"Why, to think of it, we're in the same tale still! It's going on. Don't the great tales never end?" -Samwise


MomoftheShire
Rivendell

Jul 25 2013, 7:31pm

Post #2 of 25 (289 views)
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Yay JRR! [In reply to] Can't Post

Way to politely stick the Nazis in the eye!


Aunt Dora Baggins
Half-elven


Jul 25 2013, 9:09pm

Post #3 of 25 (274 views)
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Yes, it's wonderful. [In reply to] Can't Post

I've long been aware of it, but it doesn't hurt to bring it out for a new look now and then. What a great letter!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"For DORA BAGGINS in memory of a LONG correspondence, with love from Bilbo; on a large wastebasket. Dora was Drogo's sister, and the eldest surviving female relative of Bilbo and Frodo; she was ninety-nine, and had written reams of good advice for more than half a century."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"A Chance Meeting at Rivendell" and other stories

leleni at hotmail dot com
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



elaen32
Gondor


Jul 25 2013, 11:07pm

Post #4 of 25 (257 views)
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Polite disdain is always that bit more effective than outright anger! [In reply to] Can't Post

Good for JRRT!


The first TORn Amateur Symposium, IS NOW ON from Sunday 21st July in the Reading Room. Come and join us for some interesting discussion on some different and personal ways of looking at Tolkien's work



dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jul 26 2013, 1:09am

Post #5 of 25 (250 views)
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One of my favorite letters of his. [In reply to] Can't Post

What a wonderful wit and way with words he had! Heart


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I desired dragons with a profound desire"






Brethil
Half-elven


Jul 26 2013, 1:14am

Post #6 of 25 (240 views)
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Love this Letter. Thanks for posting it Nira! // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

The first TORn Amateur Symposium starts this week in the Reading Room! Come and join in!









Ziggy Stardust
Gondor


Jul 26 2013, 1:19am

Post #7 of 25 (241 views)
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Awesome! [In reply to] Can't Post

You go JRRT! Stick it to the Nazi's!


Heatherleawv
Bree


Jul 26 2013, 1:23am

Post #8 of 25 (239 views)
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That [In reply to] Can't Post

letter is awesome! Very polite, but letting them know clearly how he felt. Smile

All that glitters is not gold...


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea

Jul 26 2013, 3:40am

Post #9 of 25 (243 views)
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I read somewhere....... [In reply to] Can't Post

That this was a heavily censored version of his opinion. Tolkien really blew up over it. His editor made him (re?)write the response letter, and looked at it before it left the office.

Can someone verify? I usually have a good memory about these things, but I've been wrong before.


geordie
Tol Eressea

Jul 26 2013, 9:47am

Post #10 of 25 (243 views)
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As in many of these cases -- [In reply to] Can't Post

- there is more to this story than has been mentioned in that internet spot. This is Letter no. 30 in The Letters of JRR Tolkien, ed. by Humphrey Carpenter with the assistance of Christopher Tolkien.

As with all of Tolkien's letters, this one needs to be looked at in context: Tolkien wrote two replies and left it to Stanley Unwin to decide which one to send to Rutten and Loening. Of letter no.30, Carpenter and Christopher write:

"This is the only one preserved in the Allen & Unwin file and it seems therefore very probable that the English publishers sent the other one to Germany. It is clear that in that letter Tolkien refused to make any declaration of 'arisch' origin."

So according to Tolkien's son, and his biographer, this letter which everyone applauds never got sent to the German publishers. But though we don't know what was in the letter that Stanley Unwin passed on, we can get a clue in Letter no.29. This is what I mean by context. On 25 July 1936 Tolkien wrote to Stanley Unwin:

"I must say the enclosed letter from Rutten and Loening is a bit stiff. Do I suffer this impertinence because of the possession of a German name, or do their lunatic laws require a certificate of 'arisch' origin from all persons of all countries? "

Tolkien goes on to say that personally he'd be "inclined to refuse... and let a German translation go hang"; and that he'd 'regret giving any colour to the notion that I subscribed to the wholly pernicious and unscientific race-doctrine."

I like to think that the reply sent by Tolkien to Rutter and Loening contained some of these sentiments. Whatever the actual content, that proposed translation was never published.

*a couple of additions - (1) - there's no suggestion that anyone 'edited' or censored either of Tolkien's draft replies.

(2) Stanley Unwin had not been knighted by 1938, so it's correct to refer to him as Stanley unwin, not 'Sir Stanley'.

.


(This post was edited by geordie on Jul 26 2013, 9:52am)


sherlock
Gondor


Jul 26 2013, 11:02am

Post #11 of 25 (221 views)
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Thanks [In reply to] Can't Post

I read it before but it's nice to read it again.


grammaboodawg
Immortal


Jul 26 2013, 9:24pm

Post #12 of 25 (185 views)
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What a guy... what a guy... /// [In reply to] Can't Post

 


4th draft of TH:AUJ Geeky Observation List - May 1, 2013



sample

"There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West."

I'm SO HAPPY these new films take me back to that magical world!!



TIME Google Calendar
TORn's Geeky Observations Lists (updated soon)


The Grey Elf
Gondor


Jul 27 2013, 11:47am

Post #13 of 25 (173 views)
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Too bad JRR Tolkein couldn't be knighted posthumously [In reply to] Can't Post

He was clearly an inspiration in more than one way.


The Grey Elf
Gondor


Jul 27 2013, 11:49am

Post #14 of 25 (167 views)
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Thanks for the elaboration, geordie [In reply to] Can't Post

It provides a fascinating glimpse at the man and his time.


Nira
Lorien


Jul 28 2013, 2:05am

Post #15 of 25 (162 views)
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Thank you for the additional information! [In reply to] Can't Post

Smile

"Why, to think of it, we're in the same tale still! It's going on. Don't the great tales never end?" -Samwise


Kristin Thompson
Rohan


Jul 28 2013, 4:02am

Post #16 of 25 (153 views)
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Tolkien was made a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire [In reply to] Can't Post

Tolkien was in the Queen's New Year's Honours list of 1972 and received his CBE. That's not strictly speaking a knighthood, but it's one step down from being one and still a high honor. Ian McKellen is one step up with a Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, or KBE, which is the second in the list of two knighthoods, allowing one to put Sir (or Dame) in front of one's name. Tolkien could write CBE after his name, though he usually didn't. Usually the CBE would be used by someone else referring to him. (Just like Ian seldom calls himself "Sir Ian.") Tolkien also received an honorary doctorate from Oxford in 1972, so he got some well-deserved rewards the year before he died.


The Grey Elf
Gondor


Jul 28 2013, 4:15am

Post #17 of 25 (129 views)
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What an educational thread this is turning out to be . // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


geordie
Tol Eressea

Jul 28 2013, 9:10am

Post #18 of 25 (139 views)
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Sadly Ronald's CBE medal was stolen - [In reply to] Can't Post

- some thief stole his medal, and some of Edith's jewellry from his flat in Merton St, Oxford, where he had gone to live after Edith's death. Neither the medal nor the jewellry were recovered: the medal would have been inscribed with Tolkien's name and therefore unsaleable. It was most likely thrown away.

Sad story.
.


geordie
Tol Eressea

Jul 28 2013, 11:39am

Post #19 of 25 (139 views)
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That's right, [In reply to] Can't Post

Tolkien received an honorary doctorate from Oxford - this doesn't mean that he could call himself 'Doctor' Tolkien, though. As you know, Kristen, JRR never got further than his bachelor's degree, as far as academic achievements go. His full title was 'Mr. JRR Tolkien M.A. (Oxon)' - the title MA can be attained by any graduate of Oxford after a set time; two years IIRC.

.


squire
Valinor


Jul 28 2013, 4:32pm

Post #20 of 25 (132 views)
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Oh. [In reply to] Can't Post

Wasn't he "Professor Tolkien" -- at least during his final year at Leeds and the years he held his two chairs at Oxford?



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Footeramas: The 3rd (and NOW the 4th too!) TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


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geordie
Tol Eressea

Jul 28 2013, 4:50pm

Post #21 of 25 (134 views)
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Yup. That was his job title [In reply to] Can't Post

- but when he applied for membership of (I think) the Association of Authors in Sept. 1955 he gave his name and title as Mr John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, and under 'Occupation other than Authorship' he wrote: 'Merton Professor of English Language and Lit.' and his address as Merton College Oxford.

Tolkien was very correct in this sort of distinction.
.


(This post was edited by geordie on Jul 28 2013, 4:51pm)


squire
Valinor


Jul 29 2013, 1:11am

Post #22 of 25 (123 views)
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Got it - ?? [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm trying to see it. What is the difference between "Name" and "Title"? Is there anyone whose name includes perforce his title?

I'm wondering if a knight of the kingdom's actual name is Sir Wonder Whosis, not Mr Wonder Whosis -- whereas if he was a Professor at Oxford, his title is properly Professor Wonder Whosis, but his name (given in applications, etc.) remains Mr. Wonder Whosis. Taking it back to the doctorate, does a degreed doctor assume the degree as part of his name, so he is Dr. Wonder Whosis not Mr. Wonder Whosis when he applies for membership somewhere - but a Professor does not?

I think I see it now. Even though we call both a knighthood and a professorship a title, in fact they're quite different because one is joined to your name and one is not. Likewise, the president of the U.S. is addressed as President Whosis, but if he was filling out a membership application he would only call himself Mr. Wonder Whosis, and add the presidency as his job description.

President and Professor - "title" but not part of your name. Doctor and Knight - "title" and part of your name.

We could make a long pair of lists of these two categories of title. Colonel? Reverend? Pope? Priest (Father)? Secretary or Minister (of a government department)? Judge? This whole subject feels like something the medievals were experts at.



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Footeramas: The 3rd (and NOW the 4th too!) TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


= Forum has no new posts. Forum needs no new posts.


Elizabeth
Valinor


Jul 29 2013, 7:34am

Post #23 of 25 (111 views)
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Very culture-specific. [In reply to] Can't Post

Americans struggle to parse the niceties of English titles. I remember Swan & Flanders referring to "C. P. Snow (or Sir Charles Snow, in private life)".

It's much simpler here, sort-of. If you have a Doctorate of Medicine, Dentistry, or Psychiatry (or a limited number of similar fields), you are Dr. X. If you have a mere PhD, or "Doctor of Philosophy", you can expect your students to call you Dr. X, but almost no one else will. Reporters, maybe, if you publish something that catches their fancy. Some religious denominations (e.g. Presbyterians) call their ministers (who have a "Dr of Theology" degree) Dr. X.

My ex-husband has PhD in Astronomy. He calls himself Dr. ... but most people think that's a little pretentious. And he's an ex. Duh.

If you reach the rank of Colonel or higher in the Army, you can be called Col. X (or General X) for life. Governors, Senators, and Presidents likewise. I don't think the Navy has a similar custom for its Captains, but Admirals are probably Adm. X for life.

Professors (Ass't Professors, Assoc. Professors, etc.) have a job title, not a form of address. They might, occasionally, be referred to as Prof. X, but not by anyone who knows them.








(This post was edited by Elizabeth on Jul 29 2013, 7:38am)


Yngwulff
Gondor


Jul 29 2013, 8:40am

Post #24 of 25 (105 views)
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The split [In reply to] Can't Post

Since the time when us "colonials" in america decided to revolt and make our own country way back when, (ahem!), the use of titles has been frowned upon. I'm sure titles are something people in other parts of the world (in Europe especially) take for granted, but here you are (in theory/principle at least) treated as you deserve to be treated, for what you have done or accomplished, and not for what your family name is or who your father was. No Lords or Ladies, Sirs or Dames, Kings or Queens.

With the exception of miltary, academics, or specific professions where an individual earns their title throughhard work or merit, the only exception to this is people with extensive bank accounts who are acorded some degree of celebrity/status.

I find this to be ludicrous, but as they say money talks and BS walks. It never fails to amaze me however, that some high school flunky who through good looks, some luck, and a good agent becomes a multi millionaire movie star. All of the sudden this person who is as dumb as the proverbial bag of hammers is regarded as some kind of authority on some social or political contreversy because he donated 3 million dollars to some charity or political campaign. LOL sorry about the rant.

I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.



Starling
Half-elven


Jul 29 2013, 9:34am

Post #25 of 25 (135 views)
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But Sirs and Dames [In reply to] Can't Post

are not born with those titles, they are awarded them for their accomplishments. Whether or not they deserve the titles is of course another conversation entirely.

Or did I misread your post? Apologies if I did.

 
 

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