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Letter 77

The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien
Letter 77
RecipientChristopher Tolkien
Date31 July 1944
Subject(s)The Lord of the Rings progress, war progress, sour view of the future, Wind in the Willows sequel

Letter 77 is a letter written by J.R.R. Tolkien and published in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien.

[edit] Summary

Tolkien had typed for many hours and had nearly finished the new stuff in the Ring, which he would soon send to Christopher. Priscilla Tolkien had read Out of the Silent Planet and Perelandra and with good taste preferred the latter. Tolkien said that the philologist in Perelandra was not him although he recognized some of his opinions and ideas Lewisified.

The good news[notes 1] meant that things might move fast now, although the time to get excited would be when the burst came in France. How long, and what of Japan? When over, would ordinary people have any freedoms? Some Big Folk seemed to hope that the ordinary people would be too tired to resist. On certain result would be the further growth in great standardised amalgamations with mass produced notions and emotions. Tolkien foresaw music replaced by jiving, wherein one takes a piano (meant to produce the sounds devised by a Chopin) and hits it so hard that it breaks. What mass-manias the Soviets would produce remained for the end of the war to show (perhaps not as dismal as the West). It has always been going on in different terms; Tolkien said he and his son belonged to the ever-defeated but never subdued side. Tolkien said he would have hated the Roman Empire in its day (and he did in the present), remained a patriotic Roman citizen, but would have preferred a free Gaul and seen good in Carthage. Hope lay in the fact that in England propaganda defeated itself, probably in Russia and he bet even in Germany.

Continuing the letter on 1 August, Tolkien reported hearing that First Whispers of the Wind in the Willows,[notes 2], a collection of further stories about Toad and Mole that Kenneth Grahame had put into letters to his son, was coming out to favourable reviews. Tolkien declared that he must get a copy. He said he made a great mistake in making his sequel too long, complicated, and slow in coming out, the curse of having an epic temperament in an overcrowded age.

[edit] Notes

  1. Allied advance in Normandy
  2. Never published