Tolkien Gateway

Letter 341

The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien
Letter 341
RecipientMarjorie Incledon[note 1]
Date17 September 1972
Subject(s)Lonely living and the urge to escape "community life"

Letter 341 is a letter written by J.R.R. Tolkien and published in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien.

[edit] Summary

Tolkien agreed with Marjorie about the desire and necessity of escaping from "community life" at intervals. His college had treated him with kindness and generosity, providing for his needs. They had made him a residential Emeritus Fellow (he was considered, he said, "ornamental"). The Common Room had three times as many as when he was an active Fellow, their standard had risen greatly, and they were all very good companions.

Nonetheless Tolkien was often lonely and longed for a change. After term he was all alone in a large house; only the caretaker and his wife were there in a basement. Troubled by intruders and nefarious persons he lived behind locked doors.

Occasionally he had managed to get away. However, he did have obligations of courtesy as a Fellow. It was Christopher who had "off his own bat" contacted the Warden of Merton College to say that his father was looking in vain for a home. The Warden had convened a special meeting of the Governing Body that had unanimously voted to invite him to be a residential Fellow. He called himself very fortunate but not yet "happily settled"; he was still in considerable confusion.

[edit] Note

  1. She was a cousin of Tolkien's.