Tolkien Gateway

Letter 176

The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien
Letter 176
RecipientNaomi Mitchison
Date8 December 1955
Subject(s)Opinion of The Lord of the Rings (1955 radio series), Númenórean calendar superiority

Letter 176 is a letter written by J.R.R. Tolkien and published in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien.

The original letter consists of four pages.[1]

[edit] Summary

Tolkien reported that he had delivered the opening lecture of the newly-founded O'Donnell Lectures in Celtic Studies. It was a woeful experience – it was overdue, he was the merest amateur in such matters (facing critical Celtic scholars), and he had laryngitis.

He thought poorly of broadcast adaptations of The Lord of the Rings except for a few details. The BBC Third Programme version did take some trouble with names. Gimli was not too bad, although exaggerated. Tolkien thought of Dwarves like Jews, in that they were both native and alien in their habitations, speaking the local language but with an accent since they had a private tongue.

Tolkien apologized for a childish amusement with arithmetic, pointing out that his Númenórean calendar was better (17.2 seconds slow) than the Gregorian (26 seconds fast).


  1. "Valuable Autograph Letters. 1977", (accessed 30 March 2014)