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Browsing this Thread:   1 Anonymous Users



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Re: New Letter from Tolkien found between books
Thain
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Just a quick note, I am going to continue the current embedded thread concerning the "member forum" somewhere else, just so it doesn't get too confusing here.

Thanks W&C and Beren for the enlivening discussion! I can see both sides, and have no opinion myself. I can't wait to hear if one or the other of you change your minds based on the evidence shared between you, but don't have any expectation that there is enough of a preponderance to effectively "answer" the question at hand.

Posted on: 2010/2/8 11:24
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Re: New Letter from Tolkien found between books
Just popping in
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I am aware that I am not a pro in this discussion and I do not really dare to share my thought on this, but as a simple admirer of Tolkiens work your discussion touches a deep question regarding my view on Tolkiens character. My kids have seen the “water-colour letter” and they loved it. I have shown your discussion to them and they are confused.

On the one hand there is the English scholar and renown writer who receives letters from his admirers and answers them with the help of a secretary himself with lots of personal referrals to the original letter especially when children write to him, on the other hand there is a Tolkien who does not have the time to write to them and lets a secretary not only phrase and type them but lets her forge his signature under these “fake” letters.
I have had to learn that my admiration of a writer does not necessarily be mirrored in his character so I am open to your much more mature thoughts. How does the style of answering fan post give insides of a character and what does that mean in this special case.
Please forgive me to join into this highly sophisticated discussion but it touches a nerve.

Posted on: 2010/2/8 12:17


Re: New Letter from Tolkien found between books
Home away from home
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Maybe we should sent you a copy of 'letters by J.R.R. Tolkien' to make up to you! Tolkien did write MANY letters, and with many I mean almost on a daily basis. Many are very touching and all are very personal. But it is true that when people started sending letters to Tolkien in bulk someone helped him out to answer all letters. But even then we can see clearly that Tolkien did go through these letters, because in numerous cases he ads a line or two (handwritten) and signed them in person. I can however understand fully (especially since I live a very (extreme) busy life) that there will be moments I'm unable to answer all emails that I receive (and this is also in bulk) - I'd be happy if someone once in a while would aid me. But I believe in Tolkien's case the secretary letters are the exception...

Posted on: 2010/2/8 13:38


Re: New Letter from Tolkien found between books
Not too shy to talk
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I am not going to enter further than this.
I do not believe it to be in Tolkien's nature to allow a secretary to forge his signature. The implications in this discussion seem to be that he was aware of the forgeries (which I do not believe them to be). Why would he have to know?
I know nothing about his secretaries, and I do not mean to imply anything against them, but if these signatures are a forgery could it not be the secretary taking it upon themselves to compose and sign these letters.

Posted on: 2010/2/8 20:34


Re: New Letter from Tolkien found between books
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I too don't believe that Tolkien's secretaries signed letters for him.

And I see no reason to suppose that this might be the case here, with Max's 'water colours' example. Christina and Wayne seem happy with it, and that's good enough for me.

Max, in case you're wondering - 'Findegil' is the name used by Wayne Hammond and Christina Scull, two of the world's top experts in Tolkien. Wayne wrote the 'collector's Bible', that is; 'JRR Tolkien: A Descriptive Bibliography', Oak Knoll Books, 1993.

Since then, he and his wife Christina have done much top quality work in this field; they are among a very few scholars allowed by the Tolkien Estate to work with Tolkien's original papers. Here's a list of books written or edited by them (all are published by Tolkien's publisher in the UK; Harper Collins) -

1/ Roverandom - written by JRR Tolkien, ed. Scull and Hammond

2/Farmer Giles of Ham 50th Anniversary edition - written by Tolkien, ed. Scull and Hammond

3/ JRR Tolkien - Artist and Illustrator

4/ The Lord of the Rings 50th Anniversary edition, ed. Scull and Hammond.

5/ The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion

6/ The JRR Tolkien Companion and Guide (two volumes)

These books are generally regarded as essentials for the serious Tolkien collector and scholar.

I ought to declare an interest in this - like one or two other folk on this forum, I contributed one or two things to numbers 5 and 6 in this list.

So - I rate Findegil's assessment of your letter very highly; in my view, you've nothing to worry about.

Posted on: 2010/2/9 14:19



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