Tolkien Gateway

The Ulsterior Motive

"The Ulsterior Motive" is the title of an unpublished essay by J.R.R. Tolkien written in 1964. The essay derived from a critique of the posthumous publication of C.S. Lewis's Letters to Malcolm.[1][2]

Extracts from the essay were published in Humphrey Carpenter's The Inklings:[3]

It was not for some time that I realized that there was more in the title Pilgrim's Regress than I had understood (or the author either, maybe). Lewis would regress. He would not re-enter Christianity by a new door, but by the old one: at least in the sense that in taking it up again he would also take up, or reawaken, the prejudices so sedulously planted in boyhood. He would become again a Northern Ireland protestant.


  1. Humphrey Carpenter, The Inklings, p. 265
  2. Lisa Star, "A List of Tolkien's Unpublished and Slightly Published Manuscripts" dated 1 August 2002, Tyalie Tyelellieva website (archived) (accessed 10 July 2012)
  3. Humphrey Carpenter, The Inklings, p. 50 (see also pp. 51-2)