Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Don't argue English with Tolkien

Apparently Tolkien was so in love with archaic spellings that he spelled "climbed" as "clomb." This was regularly edited out of his published works, so most people don't know about it, but he did manage to keep less obvious variations such as "dwarves." One time a woman informed Tolkien that his spelling was wrong, as the OED said "dwarfs."

"Madam," said Tolkien, "I wrote the Oxford English Dictionary."
An anecdote from Darwin's sister, who is the secretary of the Oxford C.S. Lewis Society. (And you thought your extra-curricular activities were something to write home about...)

3 comments:

Barb, sfo said...

That's because Tolkien was a scholar of medieval English. He was an expert on Beowulf. My Beowulf professor told us that he borrowed themes as well as language from the epic.
And if you look at the original long enough, and know how the language works, it's easy to blend it into your own usage...at least in my experience.

Anonymous said...

I think he liked the way it sounded.....

Jay Anderson said...

The way I heard it was that, when informed that the Oxford English Dictionary had it as "dwarfs", he responded "I have changed my mind since I wrote that."