Letter to Alina Dadlez (20 July 1962)

From Tolkien Gateway

On 20 July 1962, J.R.R. Tolkien wrote a letter to Alina Dadlez.[1]

  • Subject: Reply to a letter from Dadlez (of 3 July), who had forwarded a copy of a letter concerning a translation into Spanish of The Hobbit (see El hobito).[1]
  • Publication: Partially published as Letter 239. The letter is extended in the expanded edition of the Letters.


[Tolkien wishes] hobbit to remain untranslated (as a protection against the private fancies of translators ... ). In a Latin language hobbits looks dreadful, and if I had been earlier consulted I would have readily agreed to some naturalization of the form, e.g. hobitos, which consorts better with the long-adopted elfos, while having the good fortune to contain the normal Sp[anish] diminutive suffix, and a stem hob-, which as far as I know has no associations in Spanish.

In the words of Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond, Tolkien also apologizes to Dadlez for "not replying sooner, but mail had not been forwarded despite his arrangements", and writes that the "most important point to make to the translator of The Hobbit into Spanish is that if he uses gnomos for dwarves, it must not be used in the phrase 'the elves that are now called gnomes'".[1]

See also