Letter to Michael George Tolkien (24 April 1957)

From Tolkien Gateway

On 24 April 1957, J.R.R. Tolkien wrote a letter to Michael George Tolkien.[1]


Daddy may be interested to hear that I have been elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature (on the strength of 'The Lord of the Rings' I suppose): a pleasant compliment and pat of approval, and one which few if any 'philologists' or language men have received.

The Dutch edition and translation are going well. I have had to swot at Dutch; but it is not a really nice language. Actually, I am at present immersed in Hebrew. If you want a beautiful but idiotic alphabet, and a language so difficult that it makes Latin (or even Greek) seem footling but also glimpses into a past that makes Homer seem recent - that is the stuff! (I am hoping when I retire to get included in a new Bible-translation team that is brewing. I have passed the test: with a version of the Book of Jonah. Not from Hebrew direct! Incidentally, if you ever look at the Old Testament, and look at Jonah you'll find that the "whale" - it's not really said to be a whale, but a big fish - is quite unimportant. The real point is that God is much more merciful than 'prophets', is easily moved by penitence, and won't be dictated to even by high ecclesiastics whom he has himself appointed.) However, there are too many absorbing things in the world. One has to choose and stick to a few, with which blessing and counsel (like preachers) I end - and with my love and goodwishes.


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