Lot 227
  • 227

Tolkien, J.R.R.

4,000 - 6,000 USD
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  • paper and ink
Typed letter signed ("J.R.R. Tolkien"), one page (6 3/4 x 5 1/4 in.; 172 x 130 mm), [Oxford], 6 December 1965, to G. S. Rigby Jr. of Lansdowne, Pennsylvania, acknowledging the theological elements in his Lord of the Rings trilogy. Together with: the envelope postmarked Oxford, 9 December 1965. Matted, glazed, and framed.

Catalogue Note

The Lord of the Rings and its Christian/Catholic undrepinnings. Tolkien, a devout Catholic, readily admits to theological elements in his famous trilogy. "There is, in fact, quite a lot of theology included in The Lord of the Rings (I was surprised to find how much when the work was analysed some time ago in a theological periodical), though perhaps it  is made more palatable by a sugar coating."

In an earlier letter to Robert Murray, a Jesuit priest and close family friend who had read part of The Lord of the Rings in galley proofs, Tolkien explained: "I think I know exactly what you mean by the order of Grace; and of course by your references to Our Lady, upon which all my own small perception of beauty both in majesty and simplicity is founded. The Lord of the Rings is of course a fundamentally religious and Catholic work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision. That is why I have not put in, or have cut out, practically all references to anything like 'religion,' to cults or practices, in the imaginary world. For the religious element is absorbed into the story and the symbolism" (Carpenter, ed., Letters , p.172).