In 1938, Tolkien Tried to Get the Hobbit Published in Germany, He Was Asked If He Had Jewish Ancestry, Here Is His Reply

By June 20, 2018Authors, Political
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In 1938, only a year or so before the start of the Second World War, J.R.R. Tolkien was busy trying to get The Hobbit published overseas. Tolkien’s publisher was working on bringing the novel to Germany where, under Adolf Hitler, anti-Semitism was rife. Before The Hobbit would be published, Tolkien was asked whether he was of Aryan origin, and by extension whether he was Jewish or had Jewish ancestry. Tolkien replied thusly:

Dear Sirs,

Thank you for your letter. …. I regret that I am not clear as to what you intend by arisch. I am not of Aryan extraction: that is Indo-iranian; as far as I am aware none of my ancestors spoke Flindustani, Persian, Gypsy, or any related dialects. But if I am to understand that you are enquiring whether I am of Jewish origin, I can only reply that I regret that I appear to have no ancestors of that gifted people. My great-great-grandfather came to England in the eighteenth century from Germany: the main part of my descent is therefore purely English, and I am an English subject – which should be sufficient. I have been accustomed, nonetheless, to regard my German name with pride, and continued to do so throughout the period of the late regrettable war, in which I served in the English army. I cannot, however, forbear to comment that if impertinent and irrelevant inquiries of this son are to become the rule in matters of literature, then the time is not far distant when a German name will no longer be a source of pride.

Your enquiry is doubtless made in order to comply with the laws of your own country, but that this should be held to apply to the subjects of another state would be improper, even if it had (as it has not) any bearing whatsoever on the merits of my work or its suitability for publication, of which you appear to have satisfied yourselves without reference to my Abstammung.

I trust you will find this reply satisfactory, and remain yours faithfully
J. R. R. Tolkien.

In a letter written some time later to his son, Tolkien again expressed his disdain for Nazi Germany and described Hitler as a “ruddy little ignoramus“.

Yet I suppose I know better than most what is the truth about this ‘Nordic’ nonsense. Anyway, I have in this War a burning private grudge – which would probably make me a better soldier at 49 than I was at 22: against that ruddy little ignoramus Adolf Hitler (for the odd thing about demonic inspiration and impetus is that it in no way enhances the purely intellectual stature: it chiefly affects the mere will). Ruining, perverting, misapplying, and making for ever accursed, that noble northern spirit, a supreme contribution to Europe, which I have ever loved, and tried to present in its true light.

Tolkien not only despised the Nazis on a moral level but, as a fantasy writer and a scholar, he was no doubt troubled by the way the Nazis took European mythology, much of which inspired the likes of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and corrupted it to fit their narrative of a ‘master race’. Tolkien exposes not only the cruelty of Nazi ideology, but also the utter ignorance and stupidity.

New Book Explores the Relationship Between Writers and their Cats

By | Authors, New Releases | No Comments
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Released last month, Writers and Their Cats does exactly what it says on the tin. Writers are a solitary sort, at home all day, and so it does make them perfect for keeping house pets and cats and writing kind of go hand in hand. I’ve often wondered how many authors have a feline muse, draped across their lap as they type and now it seems this new book has all the answers.

This volume celebrates forty five famous writers including Mark Twain, Haruki Murakami, and Ursula K. Le Guin, who have shared their home and writing space with a feline friend. There are photographs and stories all exploring that special bond between wordsmith and mouser.

Here’s a taster:

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Haruki Murakami Withdraws His Book from This Year’s Alternative Nobel Prize

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Famed Japanese author Haruki Murakami has requested that his 2017 book Killing Commendatore be withdrawn from this year’s alternative Nobel Prize in Literature award. This year sees an alternative award called the New Academy Prize in Literature, as the original has been postponed this year following a sexual misconduct scandal.

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This Stage Presentation of Richard Wright’s Black Boy is Beautiful

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Richard Nathaniel Wright (September 4th, 1908 – November 28th, 1960) was an American author of novels, short stories, poems and non fiction. Born on a plantation in Roxie, Mississippi, much of Wright’s work concerns racial themes and the plight of African Americans during the late 19th to mid 20th centuries and the discrimination and violence they suffered. He’s credited with helping to change race relations in the USA.
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The Fall of Gondolin Is the Last Story of Tolkien’s to Be Edited by His Son

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For decades, J.R.R. Tolkien’s son Christopher Tolkien, has worked tirelessly to edit his father’s notes and bring us tales from Middle-Earth that remained unfinished at the time of his father’s death. Christopher Tolkien brought us many treasures from Middle-Earth, including the likes of The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, and a massive twelve volume series called The History of Middle-Earth.

Following this week’s release of The Fall of Gondolin, it seems that at the age of 93, Christopher Tolkien has finally finished working on his father’s legacy. As WinterisComing.net reports, Christopher has stated that “The Fall of Gondolin is indubitably the last” of his father’s work he’ll be involved with.

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“No Guarantees That Things Aren’t Going to Go Tits Up,” Says Margaret Atwood

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Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale was first published in 1985 and has since become a modern classic for its depiction of a dystopian future where women are treat as second class citizens in a patriarchal society. A recent TV adaptation by Hulu has since propelled the novel to further fame, and the current political climate in the United States has made the book increasingly relevant.

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