Letter to Eileen Elgar (September 1963)
Between 22 September and 3 October 1963 (when it was postmarked), J.R.R. Tolkien wrote a letter to Mrs Eileen Elgar.
- Note: A draft for this letter was published in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien as Letter 246.
- Contents: Answers to questions about The Lord of the Rings, especially about the failure of Frodo. The letter varies widely from the draft.
- Description: 6 pages, closely-typed, with an autograph postscript, additions and corrections. 4to, 76 Sandfield Road, Headington.
- Publication: An excerpt from the letter has appeared in Sotheby's English Literature and English History 6-7 December 1984 and Beyond Bree May 1985 (p. 6).
... The most important point was that of Frodo's "moral failure". Only one other correspondent has referred to it; and he abused F. as a scoundrel, and me — for holding him up to admiration ... Frodo failed as a 'hero' conceived in abstract ideal terms: he succumbed to the pressure of the Ring, which at that instant reached its maximum, when starved, utterly exhausted, and after months of increasing fear and torment. But we are all finite creatures, having absolute limits to our powers of soul, mind, and body ... Frodo took the Ring in complete humility, and his motive was entirely selfless ... By his sufferings he provided a situation in which the quest could be achieved, and by his pity (for Gollum) he made the means for this available. We, the readers, and within the book the Great can, I think have no doubt whatever in our praise ...
- ↑ Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond (2006), The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide: I. Chronology, p. 608
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Beyond Bree May 1985, p. 6