The malaise of intellectual anonymity

Tolkien writes in an hitherto unpublished 1914 letter to close friend and fellow TCBS member Christopher Wiseman: “It is the tragedy of modern life that no one knows upon what the universe is built to the mind of the man next to him in the tram: it is this that makes it [modern life?] so tiring, so distracting; that produces its bewilderment, lack of beauty and design; its ugliness; its atmosphere antagonistic to supreme excellence” (cited in Garth, Tolkien and the Great War, 256).

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