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TCG Letter #403 / Carpenter Letter #155


From
J.R.R. Tolkien
To
Naomi Mitchison
Date
25 September 1954
Type
Draft
Transcript
Partial
Tolkien feared that he had been far too casual about "magic" and the use of the word, although criticism by Galadriel and others of the "mortal" use of the term showed that thought about it was not casual.

For the purposes of the tale there was a latent distinction between what was once called magia and goeteia. Galadriel spoke of the "deceits of the Enemy".[1] Magia was held to be good and goeteia bad; in this tale neither is good or bad except by motive or purpose or use. Both sides used both, but with different motives. Both sides lived mainly by "ordinary" means. The Enemy and those like him went in for "machinery".

A difference in Tolkien’s "magic" is that it cannot be attained by "lore" or spells; it is an inherent power not possessed by Men as such.
Tags
References
The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien (1981), pp. 199-200 (ALS), p. 445 (Carpenter notes)
Sotheby's English Literature and History 18 December 1986 Lot 183 estimate GBP 1200-1500. The final page is reproduced.
This letter ran to 6 pages.
Cartas de J.R.R. Tolkien, pp. 305-7, p. 635 (notas de Carpenter)


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