Through The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, he defined modern fantasy and created a standard with such power that nearly all subsequent additions to the genre orbit it at some point. A bestselling fantasy author will invariably be compared to Tolkien. And he did this while working as a professor at Oxford University. The man was brilliant, and he has inspired countless people afterwards, myself included, to become readers and writers .
A friend sent this to me a few days ago, and I had to share. It’s a link to the very cool website Letters of Note, where copies of historical letters are shared with the world. I’ll let you read it for yourself, but in a nutshell:
The year is 1938. The Hobbit has been published, and is being looked at for publication in Germany. At some point a letter is sent to JRR Tolkien by the German publishing house asking him for proof of his “Aryan descent.” The letter posted out by Letters of Note is apparently one of two responses drafted. One was more delicate than the other, and although we apparently do not know which was actually sent, we can all hope that it was the letter posted here.
What I really like is the way Tolkien 1) a showed a pride in both his English heritage and his German name, and 2) admonished such an outrageous question without sinking to a similar level of ugliness.
Okay, that’s enough. You should read it for yourself here.