16 March 2012

Tolkien: Jews are a "gifted people"

Much has been written about the influence of his Catholic faith on J. R. R. Tolkien's great work, The Lord of the Rings and of its influence in his daily life, which is particularly seen through his many letters.

On 25 July 1938, he wrote a letter to the German publishing house Rütten & Loening in response to their inquiry as to his ancestry before consenting publish his great work.  Tolkien said in reply, "But if I am to understand that you are enquiring whether I am of Jewish origin, I can only reply that I regret that I appear to have no ancestors of that gifted people."

After explaining, in brief, his family's origin, Tolkien went on to say, "I cannot, however, forbear to comment that if impertinent and irrelevant inquiries of this sort are to become the rule in matters of literature, then the time is not far distant when a German name will no longer be a source of pride."

How right he was.

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