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Letter 311

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The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien
Letter 311
RecipientChristopher Tolkien
DateJuly 31, 1969
Subject(s)Frustration, Gall bladder attack

Letter 311 is a letter written by J.R.R. Tolkien and published in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien.

Summary

Tolkien felt a bit desperate and endlessly frustrated. He had finally "released the demon of invention" but was mired in business. Then he was assailed by considerable pain and depression. Tolhurst[notes 1] did a thorough checkup and took Tolkien off all fats (including butter) and alcohol. Usually cheerful, the doctor was alarmingly serious. Tolkien reflected that we know too little about the complicated machine we inhabit, such as an unassuming thing called a gall-bladder. The X-ray man had treated him with great civility and gave him the good news that his gall-bladder was in the right place, functioning, and had no gall-stones or growths. Tolhurst reduced his restrictions to butter and alcohol "in moderation". Tolkien felt quite well but life was not easy. The Parke[notes 2] was sick. His wife was ailing and he feared slowly "declining", while he himself felt cut off.

Notes

  1. Dr. Denis Tolhurst
  2. Mrs. Parke, the Tolkiens' driver and general help.