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That time JRR Tolkien told the Third Reich to eat a bag of dicks

"Dear Hitler: Suck my English balls…"

In 1937, JRR Tolkien published The Hobbit, around the same time Hitler’s Third Reich was beginning to consolidate power. At the time, Tolkien was a little known professor from Oxford, and when a German company tried to get the rights to publish The Hobbit in German, Tolkien was asked first if he was of Aryan descent. 

Well… this pissed off Tolkien to no end, not because he was Jewish or that he was offended that someone might assume he was, but it’s just a fucked up question to be asked as part of a business transaction. 

He told his own publisher that if it were up to him he would flat out refuse to be published under any system that made a point of using or declaring his or anyone’s non-Jewish status as a part of the vetting process. “I do not regard the (probable) absence of all Jewish blood as necessarily honourable; and I have many Jewish friends, and should regret giving any colour to the notion that I subscribed to the wholly pernicious and unscientific race-doctrine.”

However, he understood that it was his publisher’s livelihood that was primarily concerned, not his, and so left the decision of whether to dump the deal outright with Stanley Unwin of George Allen and Unwin. However, he did provide two letters of response for Unwin to send in place of the Bestätigung that would have confirmed the lack of Jewish blood in his descent. One sidestepped the question entirely, while the other lashed out a the entire idea that it should be necessary in the first place, as only a master linguist can:

Dear Sirs,

Thank you for your letter. I regret that I am not clear as to what you intend by arisch. I am not of Aryan extraction: that is Indo-Iranian; as far as I am aware none of my ancestors spoke Hindustani, Persian, Gypsy, or any related dialects. 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. My great-great-grandfather came to England in the eighteenth century from Germany: the main part of my descent is therefore purely English, and I am an English subject — which should be sufficient. I have been accustomed, nonetheless, to regard my German name with pride, and continued to do so throughout the period of the late regrettable war, in which I served in the English army. 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.

Your enquiry is doubtless made in order to comply with the laws of your own country, but that this should be held to apply to the subjects of another state would be improper, even if it had (as it has not) any bearing whatsoever on the merits of my work or its sustainability for publication, of which you appear to have satisfied yourselves without reference to my Abstammung.


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  13. starks-and-direwolves reblogged this from iheartchaos and added:
    The BAMF right there. ^
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  24. kissmewhereithurts reblogged this from iheartchaos and added:
    Go Tolkien, go!
  25. bookofpants reblogged this from iheartchaos and added:
    Yes, you can admit it. He is awesome
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  31. holyfuckitstimfuckingjones reblogged this from iheartchaos and added:
    Gentleman Badass

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