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Letter 224

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The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien
Letter 224
RecipientChristopher Tolkien
DateSeptember 12, 1960
Subject(s)Criticism of C.S. Lewis's Studies in Words

Letter 224 is a letter written by J.R.R. Tolkien and published in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien.


Tolkien had read C.S. Lewis's latest, Studies in Words, and remarked that Lewis's ponderous silliness had become a fixed manner. Fortunately, said Tolkien, he had not been mentioned. He had written a long analysis of *BHŪ, of which Lewis had only used the first nine lines and dismissed the rest with "we have not a shred of evidence".

The best part, thought Tolkien, was the wise remark on the last page: "…the very occasions on which we should most like to write a slashing review are precisely those on which we had much better hold our tongues." Tolkien commented Ergo silebo.[note 1]


  1. "Therefore I will keep silent" in Latin.