Tolkien's use of the phrase 'my "world"'?

Flammifer

Well-Known Member
Corey thought this phrase (even with "world" in quotes) curious, and a-typical for JRRT (when it came up in 'The Nature of Middle-earth'), and so do I.

Do we have the original letter from Patricia Finney? I wonder if his use of this phrase (with the quotes around world) wasn't just a response to her using the phrase in her original letter? I would think this more likely than JRRT coming up with this phrase by himself, after a lifetime of avoiding it.
 

Ilana Mushin

Active Member
Corey thought this phrase (even with "world" in quotes) curious, and a-typical for JRRT (when it came up in 'The Nature of Middle-earth'), and so do I.

Do we have the original letter from Patricia Finney? I wonder if his use of this phrase (with the quotes around world) wasn't just a response to her using the phrase in her original letter? I would think this more likely than JRRT coming up with this phrase by himself, after a lifetime of avoiding it.
That’s a good point. The use of the quotes would suggest that perhaps PF used it in her own letter. In his younger days, Tolkien talked about his ‘nonsense’ languages and of course gave a lecture about language invention ‘A Secret Vice’ that showed how he thought about that process, but from memory he didn’t talk about world building in A Secret Vice, just languages.
 

Flammifer

Well-Known Member
That’s a good point. The use of the quotes would suggest that perhaps PF used it in her own letter. In his younger days, Tolkien talked about his ‘nonsense’ languages and of course gave a lecture about language invention ‘A Secret Vice’ that showed how he thought about that process, but from memory he didn’t talk about world building in A Secret Vice, just languages.
I also think it is interesting that JRRT chose to put the quotes around "world", and not around "my". He seems happy to claim "it" as "his", but less happy with using the word "world". I guess he might have been happier with "my history".

I speculate that Patricia Finney might have asked a question such as, "how do beards work in your world? Who has beards?"

JRRT answers the question (at great length) but objects to the implication that his is a 'different world' rather than our own (in my speculation). I wonder if Patricia Finney's letter still exists, to test this surmise?
 
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