Tuesday, August 18, 2020

J.R.R. Tolkien wins against Nazi publishers

J.R.R. Tolkien

I know that I try to avoid all real-world matters here on Stars Uncounted, but this just too good because, in a nutshell, it shows just how high class John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was. As in known, Tolkien fought in the trenches of the World War I on the Western Front, most notably in the Battle of the Somme, yet he would much later pull off a much cleaner victory against a German Nazi publishing house. To cut a full history lesson to a more reasonable length, in 1933 Hitler's chief propagandist, Joseph Goebbels, established a team of of regulators to monitor the works of Jewish artists in film, theater, music, fine arts, literature, broadcasting, and the press for the purpose of eliminating Jewish people from engaging in mainstream German culture by requiring them to have a license in order to do so. This attempt by the Nazis to purge Germany of any culture that wasn’t (their incorrect definition) of Aryan in origin led to the questioning of artists from outside Germany.

One of these artists was the English J.R.R. Tolkien, whose publisher had a mind to get The Hobbit published in Germany. His publisher, not Tolkien himself – who loathed Nazi ideology, had many Jewish friends, and was considering abandoning the notion of a German translation of The Hobbit entirely. But his publisher convinced him to try and, predictably, the German publishers sent Tolkien a letter asking for proof of his Aryan descent. Tolkien's letter in reply is that clean victory I mentioned above, both correcting and slamming Nazi propaganda with sheer and utter class. Here is the link to the letter.

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