Saturday, March 24, 2012


Parochialism of Time

J.R.R. Tolkien, draft of a letter to Hugh Brogan (September 1955):
I am sorry to find you affected by the extraordinary 20th. C. delusion that its usages per se and simply as 'contemporary' — irrespective of whether they are terser, more vivid (or even nobler!) — have some peculiar validity above those of all other times, so that not to use them (even when quite unsuitable in tone) is a solecism, a gaffe, a thing at which one's friends shudder or feel hot in the collar. Shake yourself out of this parochialism of time! Also (not to be too donnish about it) learn to distinguish between the bogus and the genuine antique — as you would if you hoped not to be cheated by a dealer!

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