Tolkien Gateway

Letter 217

The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien
Letter 217
RecipientAlina Dadlez,[1] Allen and Unwin
Date11 September 1959
Subject(s)Concerning the Polish translation of The Lord of the Rings

Letter 217 is a letter written by J.R.R. Tolkien and published in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien.

[edit] Summary

Tolkien told Dadlez that it was quite impossible for him to write a lot of notes for Mrs. Skibniewska's use for translating The Lord of the Rings. His preference was for as little translation of any names as possible. She perceived, said Tolkien, that this was an English book and its Englishry should not be eradicated. That Hobbits spoke their own ancient language was a pseudo-historical assertion and that inventing names for everything appearing in English was pointless. Tolkien said all names of people and places should be left as they were. Names that had a meaning in English could be listed at the end with explanations in Polish.


  1. Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond (2006), The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide: I. Chronology, p. 550