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(did you mean Carpenter's Letter #211?)

TCG Letter #211


From
J.R.R. Tolkien
To
David Masson
Date
12 December 1955
Type
Unknown
Transcript
Partial
The Return of the King was published 20 October 1955. Irritated by the Times Literary Supplement review of 25 November 1955, Mr. Masson, a librarian at the University of Leeds, had written a reply, published in the TLS 9 December 1955.

Tolkien mentions that the reviewer should not be making such a fuss over giving quarters to orcs. "Surely how often "quarter" is given is off the point in a book that breathes Mercy from start to finish: in which the central hero is at last divested of all arms, except his will?" "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil", are words that occur to me, and of which the scene, in the Sammath Naur was meant to be a "fairy-story" exemplum ..."

Tolkien also discusses various points of interest concerning Elvish historical philology. Tolkien says that "the ‘languages’ have, of course, changed quite as much as the world and its stories to which they belong" and answers some questions from David Masson concerning certain words (sūrĭ-, √EL, "Elendil, ‘Ælfwine’, ‘Elf-friend’ is probably < eled-nil.") and Quenya and Sindarin nouns.

Much of the letter remains unpublished but extensive quotations from the letter appeared in Parma Eldalamberon, volume 17.

A quote also appears in The Road to Middle-earth by Tom Shippey.
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