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Editing Letter 154

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Mitchison was the only commentator, Tolkien said, that had recognized the book not only as "literature" and serious but also as an elaborate game of inventing a country.  Such a game was endless because even a committee of experts could not complete an entire picture.  More than economic issues, Tolkien was aware of sketchiness in archaeology and technical facts (covering clothes, agricultural implements, metal-working, pottery, architecture, music and its apparatus.
 
Mitchison was the only commentator, Tolkien said, that had recognized the book not only as "literature" and serious but also as an elaborate game of inventing a country.  Such a game was endless because even a committee of experts could not complete an entire picture.  More than economic issues, Tolkien was aware of sketchiness in archaeology and technical facts (covering clothes, agricultural implements, metal-working, pottery, architecture, music and its apparatus.
  
Tolkien said that he was not incapable of or unaware of economics, and believed that the economic situation for Men, Hobbit, and Dwarfs<ref group=note>"Dwarfs" instead of dwarves was used in this letter.</ref> could be worked out.  [[Gondor]] had townlands, fiefs, water and road communications, and clear indications of many industries.  [[the Shire|The Shire]]’s geographical position ensured natural fertility and was well-tended.  [[Shire-hobbits]] had little need of metals but the Dwarfs could supply their wants.  The Dwarfs had mines in the eastern [[Blue Mountains|Mountains of Lune]] and trafficked in metals, which explained their frequent crossing of the Shire.
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Tolkien said that he was not incapable of or unaware of economics, and believed that the economic situation for Men, Hobbit, and Dwarfs<ref group="notes">"Dwarfs" instead of dwarves was used in this letter.</ref> could be worked out.  [[Gondor]] had townlands, fiefs, water and road communications, and clear indications of many industries.  [[the Shire|The Shire]]’s geographical position ensured natural fertility and was well-tended.  [[Shire-hobbits]] had little need of metals but the Dwarfs could supply their wants.  The Dwarfs had mines in the eastern [[Blue Mountains|Mountains of Lune]] and trafficked in metals, which explained their frequent crossing of the Shire.
  
 
Some of the modernities among [[Hobbits]] were a mistake, said Tolkien, especially ''umbrellas''.  On the same order were their silly names, tolerable only as deliberate "Anglicization" to contrast them with other peoples.  Tolkien did not think that people can be both peaceable and very brave and tough "at a pinch" – two wars had confirmed him in that view.  Hobbits did differ from other peoples by not being cruel, by not having any blood-sports, and by having a feel for "wild creatures".  However, they are not a Utopian vision or a recommended ideal.  The way they were was an historical accident, impermanent over a long time.  Tolkien declared himself to be neither a reformer (the exercising of power doomed one to Sarumanism) or an "embalmer" (which has its own punishments).
 
Some of the modernities among [[Hobbits]] were a mistake, said Tolkien, especially ''umbrellas''.  On the same order were their silly names, tolerable only as deliberate "Anglicization" to contrast them with other peoples.  Tolkien did not think that people can be both peaceable and very brave and tough "at a pinch" – two wars had confirmed him in that view.  Hobbits did differ from other peoples by not being cruel, by not having any blood-sports, and by having a feel for "wild creatures".  However, they are not a Utopian vision or a recommended ideal.  The way they were was an historical accident, impermanent over a long time.  Tolkien declared himself to be neither a reformer (the exercising of power doomed one to Sarumanism) or an "embalmer" (which has its own punishments).

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