Tolkien Gateway

Letter 73

The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien
Letter 73
RecipientChristopher Tolkien
Date10 June 1944
Subject(s)Allusion to D-Day, Inklings report, a home-town incident, African memories

Letter 73 is a letter written by J.R.R. Tolkien and published in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien.

[edit] Summary

Tolkien reported that a great deal had happened at his end of the world.[notes 1] He expected that Christopher knew as much as he did, except that Tolkien mentioned that the weather seemed to be clearing up, which he fancied was of paramount importance.

Tolkien had met with C.S. Lewis, Warren Lewis, Charles Williams, and E.R. Eddison. W. Lewis had read a long chapter on the system of government in the ancien régime of France, which he had made very amusing. Eddison had read from an uncompleted romance.[notes 2]

At a mass-meeting to discuss the formation of a local Christian Council a man arose and said that he approved of it because in his previous life he had been Lord Nelson. Nobody laughed because he had made this claim so often that it was taken as a matter of course. Tolkien said it showed how little one might know of one’s home-town because he had never seen or heard of the man before.

Continuing the letter on 11 June, Tolkien remarked that he was very interested in Christopher's descriptions of his abode and the country. He said his son's sharpened memory was due to sharpened desire and new images not corresponding to anything old. Tolkien's own sharp memories were a beautiful blend of African and English details. He had once tried to keep a diary but found that it was not his line. Taking to “escapism” he transformed experience into Morgoth, Orcs, and the Eldalie. Tolkien said that were he younger he would wish to change places with Christopher, merely for change.

[edit] Notes

  1. Four days before the invasion of Normandy had begun.
  2. The Mezentian Gate, still incomplete when Eddison died in 1945; his brother edited and published it in 1958.