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:
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.
To date, Caryl Phillips has written more than a dozen novels, historical fiction and plays. Today we’re going to bring attention to some of those works with some quotes and the books they come from.
Neither of the writers shy away from speaking out against injustice and very recently Tabitha expressed her annoyance at everyday sexism she encountered in the media. Her husband Stephen used his extremely popular Twitter account to spread her message, and point out the blatant sexism in their headline and article where Tabitha was merely ‘Stephen King’s wife’.
Some bookshops have even gone so far as to create visual experiments to show how many of the shelves are dominated by male authors.
Its eight years since Salinger died in 2010 leaving behind a body of published works including the iconic The Catcher in the Rye, Franny and Zooey, For Esme with Love and Squalor and other works. However, the author had not published anything since 1965’s New Yorker story Hapworth 16, 1924, his last published work.
Pilcher was born Rosamunde E. M. L Scott on 22nd September 1924 in Lelant on the north coast of Cornwall and began writing aged 7. She was just 15 when she had her first short story published. In the late 1940s Pilcher began to write for Mills & Boon, publishing her stories under the pseudonym Jane Fraser.