Letter to Elena Jeronimides

On 14 June 1973, J.R.R. Tolkien wrote a letter to Mrs Elena Jeronimides.[1]

Elena Jeronimides 14 June 1973.png


"I don't know Italian well enough to help you very much... As for the geography, it is odd but perfectly possible", advising her not to search for words in other languages to translate the mythological creatures in his work, "I have in fact myself used the name 'elf' for creatures that have very little in common with the prevailing tradition of elves in English. 'Troll' is not an English word ... I suggest you should follow the English example of borrowing the word 'troll' and making it into either 'trolle' or 'trollo'. 'Gnomo' should be avoided because it is not in origin a mythological word at all but derived from Parcelsus[sic?][note 1]..."


  1. Parcelsus as transcribed by Christie's, but likely referring to Paracelsus (second page of letter, where the word appears, is not shown). Cf. gnome at the Online Etymology Dictionary.


  1. "Sale 6237/Lot 252", Christie's.com (accessed 19 June 2012)