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Old 06-03-2023, 11:53 AM   #1
Bęthberry
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Revised and Expanded Edition of the Letters

Apparently 150 letters had been cut from the first edition of Tolkien's Letters. Now to be included in a new revised edition.

available for pre-order through the various national Amazons. to be released January 23, 2024.

http://https://www.tolkienguide.com/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?post_id=49265&fbclid=IwAR0NAaV_O1CC_ x-hi8Ho11We-6EEd2OM9kgyhbEI5v4gMLabugy1RyPPDrI
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Old 06-03-2023, 12:37 PM   #2
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I have always wondered about the efficiency of the postal service in the Shire. Evidently, there were quite a few slowcoach hobbits delivering the mail.
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Old 06-03-2023, 03:28 PM   #3
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Thanks for the heads up, Bethberry!

This is actually quite intriguing. Letters is a fascinating combination of (1) correspondence to Tolkien's fans and critics regarding his writings including many fascinating nuggets of insight, and (2) correspondence to family and friends tending towards the personal, some providing glimpses of his life and personality and others revealing what could be characterized as the drudgery (as well as the benefits) of academia. The first category includes material regarding the process of drafting his works, musings on the underpinnings, philosophical as well as his inspirations, of Middle Earth. Regarding the latter, I wish I had a dollar for every time Tolkien apologized for being late about anything.

It will be interesting to see an additional 150 letters, though I worry about why they were excluded when the first edition was published. I suspect all here will forgive me if I am a bit skeptical when I hear about "new" materials by Tolkien being published considering what has been released since HoME 12.
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Old 06-04-2023, 04:43 AM   #4
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I share Mithadan's scepticism about the real value of the expansion--this is very late going in the publication of Tolkien's original works, and I fully expect that anything "new" is going to be on the order of the nuggets in The Nature of Middle-earth.

But I was still glad to get The Nature of Middle-earth, and a fuller Letters (or a supplement, or a volume II) has been something I've wanted since about 2000, when I read the original volume for the first time and realised they hadn't published them ALL. So I'm excited, but in a very realistic way--I know I'll be spending 40 or 50 dollars on a hardcover with three-to-five minorly interesting tidbits in it.
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Old 06-07-2023, 03:52 PM   #5
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Apparently this version with 500 letters is the original edition Carpenter and CRT prepared. But Unwins thought it was too long to have a hope of breaking even, so they insisted it be curt down in size. So, in one way, there's nothing "new." Call it the Director's Cut.
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Old 08-30-2023, 12:12 PM   #6
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Wait, wasn't it supposed to come out in November this year?

Also, what does the "vision for publishing his 'Tales of the Three Ages'" mean exactly?
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Old 10-15-2023, 04:59 PM   #7
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When is the release date?
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Old 10-15-2023, 07:57 PM   #8
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The revised and expanded edition of The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien will be published in hardback by HarperCollins in the UK and William Morrow in the USA. It will be released on 9 November 2023 in the UK and 14 November in the USA, with translations in other countries to follow. The book will be over 700 pages in length.
from the website of the Tolkien Society, https://www.tolkiensociety.org/2023/...-be-published/

I wonder where I got the January 2024 date in the first post.
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Old 10-18-2023, 04:51 PM   #9
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Old 11-06-2023, 01:41 PM   #10
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I would just like to add this summary of the changes made in the new Letters, courtesy of Tolkien Collector's Guide: https://www.tolkienguide.com/uploads...7cd2197837.pdf
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Old 11-06-2023, 05:07 PM   #11
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I would just like to add this summary of the changes made in the new Letters, courtesy of Tolkien Collector's Guide: https://www.tolkienguide.com/uploads...7cd2197837.pdf
I appreciate the link, but apparently cannot bear to read it in any detail! I want to go in--of all things--unspoiled.
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Old 11-14-2023, 06:12 AM   #12
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Apparently this version with 500 letters is the original edition Carpenter and CRT prepared. But Unwins thought it was too long to have a hope of breaking even, so they insisted it be curt down in size. So, in one way, there's nothing "new." Call it the Director's Cut.
This makes a lot of sense. The original letters is quite a substantial paperback as it is and I am pretty sure it would have had to be physically type set at that time.. I did hope their might have been some extras made relevant by the publication of HoME in the interim but I am still looking forward to this vey much
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Old 11-14-2023, 12:37 PM   #13
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Just arrived; I'm pleased to say that it appears to have a much expanded and improved index (the old one was pretty marginal)
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Old 12-08-2023, 06:37 PM   #14
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ruminations on some of the new letters

http://https://menelrond.blogspot.com/2023/11/tolkien-and-physical-economy-of-post.html?fbclid=IwAR2lXhXvrX6o2a-L3Jt9KgnrrZMwBIpv-z0a34onU-bgLtgMUPLV7f5pMJA

Note: This review is by a Tolkienist with considerable credibility.
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Old 12-08-2023, 11:28 PM   #15
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A lot of anger in that piece.
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Old 12-09-2023, 09:19 AM   #16
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I am surprised that there have been no reviews posted of the Expanded Edition. I have not yet purchased it. Any feedback?
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Old 12-09-2023, 02:39 PM   #17
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A lot of anger in that piece.
Really? And?
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Old 12-10-2023, 10:52 AM   #18
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Well, it strikes me as odd to get heated over a man who's been dead half a century expressing viewpoints eighty years ago which would have been completely unremarkable at the time. Not many people write angrily about Cicero's views on slavery or Boniface VIII's take on religious libertiy. Comment? Sure. But anger? A little misplaced.
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Old 12-10-2023, 02:55 PM   #19
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Looking purely at the passage in the article Bethberry linked relating to the Legendarium:

Quote:
In terms of Tolkien’s legendarium, what examples do we have of post-menopausal women? In terms of the elves, he notes in “The Laws and Customs Among the Eldar” in Morgoth’s Ring that, despite their longeval nature, elves, like humans, primarily reproduce in their relative youth; despite retaining the “power of generation” for as long as needed, it is natural for them to no longer have such a desire after some time and “the mind turns to other things” (MR 213). (...) it comes in the same assemblage of writings in which we have Fëanor’s mother, Míriel, will herself to die in an effort to maintain autonomy over her own reproductive rights. There is also the unfortunate case of Elrond’s wife, Celebrían, whose sole purpose in the narrative is to give him three children; after being assaulted (perhaps even sexually assaulted) at the hands of orcs, she is conveniently shipped oversea and out of the narrative. In terms of mortals, we have the busybody nursemaid Ioreth (whose name literally means “old woman” in Sindarin) and the foul-tempered, spoon-stealing Lobelia Sackville-Baggins as our primary examples. In hindsight, a menopausal reading of Lobelia might be very interesting indeed. If someone has written that paper, please let me know – I’d love to read it! If no such paper exists, someone has to write it.
I am *baffled* by the choice of examples. Miriel is in there despite effectively dying in childbirth (and that description of her death, um, does not align with my understanding of the text). Celebrian is... not even a character in the narrative, she's a character on the *timeline* who exists as an excuse for Elrond not to have a wife. (Also, sexually assaulted? I've read that fanfic, don't think it was written by Tolkien!) Ioreth I remember as basically fine. Lobelia steals the spoons possibly before her son is even born, and ends up as the sole native revolutionary against a fascist state.

And the *missing* names! It's notably ridiculous to call Celebrian menopausal but ignore her mother, who is out there ruling Lorien and wielding an Elven ring. Or what about Gilraen, who has actual narrative appearances as a post-menopausal woman? Andreth is raised by someone in the comments on the post, and dismissed by the author as not aligning with Tolkien's view as interpreted from the letter. And should we count Nerdanel or Melian, on the same grounds as Celebrian - immortal woman past the Time of the Children?

In response to the Andreth comment (which noted that her wisdom indicates 'He may have been more understanding of it than you perceive him to be in this letter'), the author says:

Quote:
I think if the reader reviews the letter and sees all of the comments I quoted in context it is fairly clear that at least in this letter Tolkien is voicing an opinion about women and menopause that is not positive (nor aligning it with wisdom).
That may be true about the letter (I cannot review it as the author suggests, I don't have NewLetters yet), but it definitely does not, as the author seems to indicate, translate to "female characters past childbearing are killed off or written negatively".

hS
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Last edited by Huinesoron; 12-10-2023 at 05:09 PM. Reason: Clarified what I'm responding to.
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Old 12-10-2023, 03:30 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by William Cloud Hicklin View Post
Well, it strikes me as odd to get heated over a man who's been dead half a century expressing viewpoints eighty years ago which would have been completely unremarkable at the time. Not many people write angrily about Cicero's views on slavery or Boniface VIII's take on religious libertiy. Comment? Sure. But anger? A little misplaced.
Indeed.
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Old 12-10-2023, 05:26 PM   #21
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It's honestly fascinating to me how whenever someone points out that Tolkien may have said, done or written something that jars with progressive values (or even, as in this case, the lived experience of many readers) people either go up in flames or casually shrug it off. Why not discuss his shortcomings as well as his merits?


It's undeniably true, I think, that Tolkien's work is short of a Crone - an elderly female fgure of wisdom and power who could hold a candle to men like Théoden, Denethor, Gandalf, heck, even Saruman. On the other side of the scales, we have Lobelia and Ioreth: the first satirised until she redeems herself with an act of unexpected courage, the second a self-important busybody who just happens to remember a bit of lore which actually saves the lives of some really important people. Hardly the same league.



Galadriel might have filled that vacuum, but doesn't, for the same reason that Míriel, Celebrían, Nerdanel or Melian don't: Elves aren't subject to physical ageing. Elven women may be 3000 years old and long past taking interest in procreation, but they'll still be beautiful - rosy-cheeked, lily-necked, graceful in dance, nightingale-voiced, you name it (although I hope their breath doesn't really smell like hay). Apparently a woman past childbearing can only be an important figure in Middle-earth if she's still physically attractive. That's really sad.
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Old 12-10-2023, 06:37 PM   #22
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. Why not discuss his shortcomings as well as his merits?
In my case, the article author said to read the letter, so I'm holding fire until I can.

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.
It's undeniably true, I think, that Tolkien's work is short of a Crone - an elderly female fgure of wisdom and power who could hold a candle to men like Théoden, Denethor, Gandalf, heck, even Saruman.... Apparently a woman past childbearing can only be an important figure in Middle-earth if she's still physically attractive. That's really sad.
Mostly true for LotR (and of course for Hobbit!), but there more in the First Age:

- Andreth is 48 when she holds what I think is the longest single dialogue in Tolkien. The elves, including Finrod, literally call her "Wise-heart".
- Morwen is in her early 50s when she flees to Doriath and when she loses Nienor, and her late 50s when she dies. Not necessarily wise, but strong-willed, although ultimately she just ups and dies without doing anything.
- Aerin's age is unknown, but I'm putting her here because being more than her physical attractiveness is her whole point. She was forced into marriage for Brodda to make an heir on her, but ended up burning everything down.
- Gilraen, I think I said above, has two appearances in her old age. She's specifically noted as having some measure of the foresight of her people.

What's striking about this list is that three of them succumb to some form of despair and die. Lobelia does the same, so I feel like Tolkien's portrayal of elderly mortal women is that they can often be wise or foresighted (include Ioreth or not as you choose), but they are (almost) always struck by melancholy or grief. Andreth has that in spades - and, of course, so do Galadriel and Melian, by the end of their tales. (And Arwen...)

And that's because he makes them *lose everyone*. Andreth, Morwen, Aerin, Gilraen, Lobelia, Melian, and Arwen are all shown after they lose the most important people in their lives (Andreth and Gilraen by giving them up to a different fate). Tolkien kind of writes like "grief at losing your family" is a specific affliction of elderly women - in men, it seems to often come up as anger instead (looking at you, Turin and Hurin and Maeglin), while other times it's brushed off (does Theodred even get a *mention* from Theoden? Do Frodo, Eomer, or Tuor really notice their parents being dead?). Occasionally you get a Denethor going mad, but it's a very different grief to Morwen, or Gilraen.

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Old 12-10-2023, 08:25 PM   #23
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I fear that I cannot add much to this discussion.

But it seems wrong to treat the lack of prominent older female characters in Tolkien's work as some sort of grievous insult to women.

Tolkien wrote about what he knew and understood (language and myth, being things he knew very well, and as such they are enormous elements in his works).

He can hardly be blamed for not writing all manner and variety of female characters when he was a man himself, and therefore not well-versed in the feminine.
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Old 12-11-2023, 10:01 AM   #24
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But it seems wrong to treat the lack of prominent older female characters in Tolkien's work as some sort of grievous insult to women.
This. I wrote a whole rant about how much I disagree with people somehow thinking it's an author's obligation to promote this value or that and get offended when the story is about something else, when the author's only obligation is to write a good story. Then I erased it, as it is quite beside the point. The portrayal of women in LOTR is only offensive if you want to be offended by something. It's not like "I'm offended!" has become the ridiculing catchphrase of our time.

But in regards to the article, the discussion here has prompted me to read it, though I am not going to read the Letters collection. I find the author's vehement feminism and fight against decrying of menopause quite amusing:

Quote:
Originally Posted by article
But wait – it gets worse. Tolkien then explains to his son, quite authoritatively, that menopause (or perhaps specifically the change in their “physical economy” forced upon them) “makes them nervously unstable; and often hardly accountable for their sudden feelings” (pg. 60).
But... did you not know that labile mood, irritability, and depression are very common symptoms of menopause? How is this not true? The author seems to insinuate that half the problems of an irritable older woman of Tolkien's time were the men in her life who were either in a war or suffering from war-related mental illness themselves, but then please explain to me why modern women with no sons or husbands in the military still suffer from the cognitive effects of menopause? Then the author discounts those effects as being comparable to being on a period. Yeah, imagine being on a period every single day for several years - do you really think you're gonna be bright and cheerful and not let a single mood swing get the better of you? And what's wrong with JRRT passing down what knowledge and understanding he has of menopause to his son? Because it seems like the only wrong thing the author found is that the expresses view does not align with their own. But what then, should a father not educate his children to the best of his ability? Is sex-ed not part of a good upbringing, just because the parent isn't a gynecologist from 2023? Do you not think that men ought to know that women of a certain age undergo a change with multiple physical, psychological, and cognitive effects?

I see a lot of desire to be offended and propagate the offendedness as far as it would go in this article, twisting both facts of life and legendarium (Miriel???) to serve the cause. There was one quoted line that irked me, the one about women lacking introspection. That I cannot agree with or justify, and if that was Tolkien's experience of women in his life - then I feel bad for him. But equally, I don't see a trend of self-blind Scarlett O'Haras running through the legendarium. This one I would find interesting to pick through. In fact, does Tolkien have any character lacking in introspection? Feanor perhaps? But I digress again. Besides this point, I find the rest to be blown out of proportion to find fault with something where I see no fault.
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Old 12-11-2023, 06:22 PM   #25
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It's honestly fascinating to me how whenever someone points out that Tolkien may have said, done or written something that jars with progressive values (or even, as in this case, the lived experience of many readers) people either go up in flames or casually shrug it off. Why not discuss his shortcomings as well as his merits?
Certainly we can. But so furiously? What strikes me is the high dudgeon, the wrath that comes through the text to the point you can hear the violent hammering on the keys.

Surely this is the sort of thing to be discussed dispassionately? What I am hearing here, as so often these days, is an echo of the Pharisee in Luke, "God, I thank thee, that I am not as this publican;" there seems to be a great deal of dopamine released when loudly hanging scarlet letters.
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Old 12-24-2023, 06:25 AM   #26
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In his Letter 131 (late 1951) addressed to Milton Waldman, Tolkien once again identified the beginning of the First Age with the Awakening of the Elves. There's the quote: "The History of the Eldar (Englished as ‘Elves’, but the pre-Shakespearian sense is intended), or Silmarillion proper. Nexus of legends, and stories in chronological order, into which some major tales are woven. Contains the ‘history’ of the First Age, from the coming of the Eldar to its end with overthrow of Morgoth-melkor, the first Dark Lord. Called The Silmarillion, because most of the history and tales are grouped about or refer to the Three Great Jewels of Fëanor (the Silmarils), their making, theft, the war for their recovery, and their final loss." Now that's finally well established that the First Age began with the Awakening, not the first sunrise.

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Old 12-25-2023, 03:35 AM   #27
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Well this menopausal woman has just got the expanded letters for Christmas. Since I am home alone with the cats and am not obliged to do unspeakable things to poultry, I shall spend the day reading them.
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Old 01-10-2024, 05:46 AM   #28
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I also got the NuLetters for Christmas, and wanted to take a look at the letter mentioned in the article Bethberry linked. I don't think the article gives the number, but it's 38a.

What seems to have happened is that Michael Tolkien's regiment had moved, and Michael had written to his girlfriend "A." (not his future wife, who he would meet the next year) to tell her of the move. She had passed the news on to her family, who (living near the Tolkiens) had mentioned it to them - before they heard it from Michael. Edith then wrote to Michael; JRRT wasn't privy to what she said, but Michael's reply a) was clearly a grovelling apology, and b) mentioned that Edith had been very negative about his relationship with A. It seems Michael also felt his father disapproved of A., though this may be from previous contact between them. So JRRT is writing to smooth things over and try to restore what he thinks should be proper family relations.

The review is right that JRRT doesn't come over that well in 38a. His comments on why his son might feel a bit peeved at him range between self-righteous and the classic "oh haha I was only joking":

Quote:
I am so glad you wrote to me out of your heart: you (and J and C) don't open out to me enough. You would probably usually get a spot of comfort, if you did. I daresay with my jesting I am a bit forbidding and give the impression of being critical and apt to think things ridiculous; but it is not so really. [...]

As for your gratitude to me, and your sense of unworthiness: God bless you. You do (from your point of view) owe me a lot. [...] Every good father deserves the fraternal friendship of his sons when they grow up.
His non-apologies for what seem to be his own previous words paint a rather grim picture:

Quote:
I was neither angry nor grieved with you [...]. Let us get this straight: I do not and never have felt your love for A. ridiculous. [...] You shall certainly never be forbidden by me to write to A., and to see her.
(The latter may not be a reference to something he had threatened; it would surprise me, given JRRT's own agonies over being kept away from Edith.)

His advice on romance is probably fine, though I doubt "either of you might change so don't count on it lasting" sank in. And then we come to his comments on Edith, which are indeed pretty bad. The general commentary on mothers is eeeesh:

Quote:
As for your dear mother: you have to realise that you are now up against a fundamental difficulty of life, which needs care and tact. Women are often far less introspective than men, and apt to understand their own motives very little. Sons are peculiarly dear to mothers, although it often takes the transformed shape of being critical and censorious. Also when another woman comes on the scene, they feel a certain jealousy (the jealousy of age for youth and of one woman for another competitor for the love of lover or son) which few of them are aware of, and only the most saintly are able to control.
Jeepers flying Cripes, professor! Oh wait, maybe he's only "jesting"?

Then we come to the passage that formed the centre of the article, and... basically... it's fine?

Quote:
In her case there are several other considerations. First of all her not practicing her religion which in her heart of hearts (now rather hidden under the sad years) sets up a discord which makes her not really happy, and so irritable. Then for a long time she has been going through the process known as the "change of life" - it is sometimes slow and difficult as in her case, sometimes quicker and easier - when a woman ceases physically to be fit for childbearing, and her whole physical economy has to be readjusted. It makes them nervously unstable; and often hardly accountable for their sudden feelings. And now just when this was settling down, she has been attacked by neuritis. All her nerves are on a tingle, and she is both in pain often, and physically irritable. It has been worse again for the last week. Try and forgive and forget all the past. Pray for her.
It seems pretty clear that Tolkien is repeating what he's been told here, probably by the family physician the article admits to for the "neuritis" section. "Fit" is of course a perfectly standard word for indicating whether one can physically do something (I am not fit to drive a train, because I'm colourblind; that's not a value judgement). In context, "physical economy" seems to mean "biological systems" - ie, Edith's hormonal balances are shifting. I don't know to what extent it is "replete with common misconceptions", but the symptoms JRRT mentions - nervous instability and mood swings - are some of those cited by Wikipedia (with three citations!) as common symptoms.

Does it still come across a bit condescending? In light of the previous passage about women's lack of introspection, yes. But all the parts about how Michael needs to forgive and forget are not Edith being "blatantly objectified, and perhaps even infantilised" - they're JRRT trying to keep his son from holding a grudge after Edith bit his head off. And it's not all negative:

Quote:
You three boys all seem to have a decent share of courage and guts. You owe that to your mother.
The letter also includes some of Tolkien's thoughts on WWII, and on his own service as a soldier in WWI; and the tidbit that Edith had a really rough birth with John, while JRRT wasn't even able to be there. But that's out of scope for the article we're looking at, so I think I'll stop here.

Quote:
God bless you. There is nothing you can do, except be frank, and keep a supply of stamps on you!
hS
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Old 01-10-2024, 11:27 AM   #29
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Iiiinteresting. Thank you for posting, Hui.

My first impression is indeed that the first part of the letter sounds worse than the second, as you say. And still to me the main (or perhaps only?) problematic assertion is with regards to introspection. This conclusion stuck to me as so odd, I did a little experiment. I asked several people in my acquaintance whether they thought men or women were more introspective. And interestingly, if I could persuade people to come out of the non-committal "it's equal, gender doesn't matter, etc" zone and share their actual thoughts... Males usually thought men are more inteospective, while females thought women were. What a conundrum. A case of better-than-average effect?
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Old 01-17-2024, 11:40 PM   #30
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Boots

I've been waiting to reply until I receive the "Nuletters" (a Christmas gift ordered that apparently has not yet been delivered) so I thank Huinesoron for responding after reading the letter.

I will respond more fully once I receive the book but for now let me correct a slight error.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Huinesoron View Post
I also got the NuLetters for Christmas, and wanted to take a look at the letter mentioned in the article Bethberry linked. I don't think the article gives the number, but it's 38a.
In fact, Larsen does give the number of the letter she is discussing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Menelrond
... what caught my eye was a previously unpublished letter to Michael, designate 38a, also largely on the topic of women and relationships with them.
She also identifies the page number as 59.

'tis late tonight but perhaps I can return tomorrow to address some other points in the posts here before I see the letter myself. I posted the link because I thought it might encourage discussion. Good to see that it has!
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Old 01-24-2024, 06:17 PM   #31
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Well, I'm back. And have the NuLetters in hand. (I like that spelling very much, thanks hS

In rereading the comments here, I find it striking that the initial and possibly major points made relate not to the topic of the blog post but to the tone of the author. She is allegedly some sort of shrew who has an axe to grind against cis men of another time, almost a feminazi. My initial response of "really?" still holds up. It's like attacking the messenger rather than the message, or, in the old rhetorical nomenclature, ad hominem attack, although in this case it isn't against the man.

Larsen is sharp, yes, but hardly antagonistic to Tolkien; her point is not to, as she says, pillory him for not being modern or progressive. In fact, as she makes clear in the first paragraph, she is interested in showing how some current views of him as "being ahead of his time" are misplaced; she is more interested in seeing how he relates to his own time, and what those values may or may not be. So she is putting her reading of the nuletter to Michael in the context of critical commentary on Tolkien. If you don't like the word Larsen uses, "cringeworthy", then think embarassing or awkward. Yes, he was a man of his time. Accept him for that.

The nuletter (number 38a) is clearly about family relations and should be read also in the context of the very long letter 43 where Tolkien offers fatherly advice about marriage as companions in a shipwreck. (As an aside, Michael's loves in question in the two letters are different women, A in the first and Joan Griffiths in the second, who he would go on to marry.)

The difficulty appears to have been that Edith wrote a letter to Michael after his girlfriend's parent informed the Tolkiens where Michael, then currently in training for the war, had been reposted. This apparently was an embarrassment, that others had been informed before the parents, and Tolkien is writing to Michael how to handle the situation. Of course we don't have Edith's letter to read, so we don't know what she wrote, and we don't have Michael's letter to Tolkien to see what prompted letter 38a. It is quite difficult, after decades, to try to decipher family relationships. However, it appears that Tolkien is trying to excuse Edith for what she wrote, or provide reasons for her comments. Did Tolkien speak with Edith about this situation? It does not appear so. In any case, what we have are Tolkien's thoughts about his wife in mid life. They are patronising and infantalising. Tolkien spends more time using Edith's lack of attendance to the Catholic faith (which he demanded she convert to despite the fact that the Church herself did not require partners to become Catholic (only to bring up children in the Catholic faith); here Tolkien gives no sign of introspection (I used that word in particular) about how the loss of her own personal faith in the Anglican church may have left Edith lonely and in a strange land--certainly she found confession to a strange man awkward), and then this bit about "women's economy" and menopause. He spends time surmising how women feel about other women who are attractive to their sons, despite saying later in the letter that Edith is quite "reconciled" to the relationship. His thoughts are entirely consistent with common cis men's patronising attitudes towards women at the time; they display very little introspection or sympathy for what Edith might have been feeling and instead offers social/cultural cliches. What Tolkien does not express is any idea how Edith might be very concerned about her son because he is in military service during wartime and whose very life could be at risk. (Michael was in fact injured during a training exercise.) And how it felt to have other people report about him concerning something he had not told his parents.

Larsen provides six--yes, six--references to studies on menopause, so she isn't talking hot air, or merely her opinion, or post modern revisionist complaints about men in earlier times. Larsen is a scientist, and evidence, true evidence and research, are both her bread and butter and her MO in her scientific research and in her articles on Tolkien.

To demonstrate her respect for Tolkien, here is her article on the aurora in the Father Christmas Letters, "Rayed Arcs and the ‘Rory Bory Aylis’: Primary World Aurorae and Tolkien’s 'Father Christmas Letters'": http://https://scholar.valpo.edu/journaloftolkienresearch/vol18/iss1/5/

Suffice to say I think many of the claims made here about her blog are misguided attacks on her rather than on what she shows Tolkien thought about his wife at mid life. Like me, she is a big fan of Tolkien, but that does not mean that either of us engage in idealising a favourite author. Authors are human and have feet of clay.

EDIT: Haven't had time to do a thorough reading of the NuLetters. It is a very handsome hardcover, approximately 50,000 words more than what the original had been reduced to, with 150 new letters and 45 of the original letters newly expanded, a hefty book. When I have time I will do a quick search for letter numbers that have been appended a letter after the original number, as in 38a with the letter in question. Particularly welcome is the new and expanded Index by Wayne G Hammond and Christina Scull (best known for their JRR Tolkien companion and Guide as well as their Reader's Guide to LotR).

Mithadan had asked about reviews of the new edition: an extended one with particular details can be found at Tolkien Collectors' Guide: http://https://www.tolkienguide.com/...forumpost52679
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