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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
In a comprehensive letter, J.R.R. Tolkien reflects on relationships between men and women, addressing physical, friendly, and romantic dimensions. He delves into the fallen nature of the world, emphasizing the dislocation of sex-instinct as a symptom of the Fall. Tolkien critiques the romantic chivalric tradition, cautioning against idealizing love detached from matrimony. He discusses his own experience, acknowledging the challenges and imprudence in his early love affair and subsequent marriage. Reflecting on marriage, he underscores the importance of denial, suffering, and fidelity, challenging romantic notions and emphasizing the need for self-discipline. Tolkien concludes by advising his son to find solace and guidance in the Blessed Sacrament.

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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