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(did you mean Carpenter's Letter #58?)

TCG Letter #58 / Carpenter Letter #43

J.R.R. Tolkien
Michael Tolkien
6-8 March 1941
Tolkien considered three ways by which men dealt with women: purely physical relationships, friendly relationships, and loving relationships. A purely physical relationship does not really exist; it can only be partially realized by a man refusing to take other aspects into account, harming both individuals’ souls and bodies. Since this is a fallen world the sex-instinct has been dislocated and is one of the chief symptoms of the Fall. A friendship between a man and a woman is virtually impossible – only the elderly, saints, and very rare ordinary couples may achieve it. Almost certainly, one or the other will fall in love and let their partner down. Young men may claim that they only want “friendship” but in reality they do want love.

In November 2023, HarperCollins published a revised and updated edition of the Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien. This letter is significantly updated with new details. He considers that Michael has had a tough time, noting that it has "fallen heaviest" on him. Michael had feared he would not make it through the war. Tolkien says that his fears are not unfounded, and that maybe they all might not, "even Priscilla". In a footnote Tolkien says that he remembers this feeling. Tolkien mentions how hard it was to find work, and that "no amount of merit not accompanied by extraordinary chances and luck would have landed me here as Oxford’s youngest professor in 1925". Tolkien also talks about the how in many ways women are braver than men.

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