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TCG Letter #370 / Carpenter Letter #142

J.R.R. Tolkien
Father Robert Murray
2 December 1953
Typed Letter Signed
Robert Murray had offered Tolkien some thought on The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien replied that The Lord of the Rings is a Catholic work, describing it as an unconscious act at first but consciously so in the revision.

Tolkien mentions his fears of the publication, as he has “exposed” his heart to “be shot at”.

The 2023 revised edition of Letters restores a paragraph where Tolkien talks about how non-Catholics will receive the book, and describes how he might be able to get proofs of The Lord of the Rings for Murray to read.

A portion of the introductory paragraph (removed by Carpenter after the first sentence) can be partially read on screen in the documentary Tolkien A Film Portrait.
J.R.R. Tolkien A Descriptive Bibliography, Di1, p. 350; Dii26, p. 357; Dii34, p. 358
Tolkien and the Great War, p. 13 (single sentence quoted)
J.R.R. Tolkien: Scholar and Storyteller, p. 284
Tolkien & the Silmarillion, p. 56-7
The Tablet, 15 September, 1973, pp. 779-80
Isabelle Pantin, L’ombre de Troie dans l’œuvre de Tolkien, see pp. 149-50, note 1, (Many thanks to Tom Hillman for providing us with references from this article)
Silke Anzinger, "Von Troja nach Gondor.Tolkiens „The Lord of the Rings“ als Epos in vergilischer Tradition," in Vestigia Vergiliana: Vergil-Rezeption in der Neuzeit edited by Thorsten Burkard , Markus Schauer and Claudia Wiener. (2010) pp. 363-401. p. 372 note 32
Marco Cristini "The Fall of Two Cities: Troy and Gondolin." Thersites 15 (2022), p. 10
Portions of the original letter are viewable in Tolkien A Film Portrait (1996) at approximately 1:22:06 and 1:22:19
Ivano Sassanelli, "Religious and Catholic: Primary and Secondary World in Tolkien's Letter no. 142", in Giuseppe Pezzini & Eden O'Brien (ed.), Tolkien and the Relation between Sub-creation and Reality, Inklings Studies Supplement 3 (2023), pp. 107-26

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