You have probably already heard of the „legend” of an explanation of Professor Tolkien’s work that was presumably offered by the Professor himself during a „Hobbit Dinner” in Rotterdam in 1958. The legend says that the Professor might have offered the „real meaning” of his work; but the recording, made on a reel-to-reel tape, had been hidden from the eyes of the media and common reader. Some fragments of this recording seem to be unclear – and in any case, its full-length rendering or transcription is not accessible to the general public (we have not been able to find them anywhere). You can read an article published by Huffington Post on this topic here.
We’re taking note of this rumor and we’re responding as follows. The idea that there may be a „true meaning” of Professor JRR Tolkien’s work that the Professor himself has revealed in a single mysterious speech, from which only blurry or unclear fragments are available, is not an acceptable idea for the careful exegete or reader. This is more likely an idea along the lines of conspiracy theories, or of cheap media sensationalism – which Tolkien himself often condemned.
Furthermore, the entire context of the legend – a mysterious, unclear speech, possibly delivered after two beer pints, etc. – rather reinforces an interpretation along the lines of the conspiracy theories. We have witnessed such interpretations and misinterpretations of the works of other great authors (from Homer to Shakespeare and Thomas Mann). Therefore, the careful exegetes and readers of J.R.R. Tolkien cannot take such an approach seriously – as it is necessary, before anything else is said, to identify the full text and to perform its analysis in the proper and full context. Prior to jumping to any conclusions about a potential „new meaning” – that might even be the „TRUE meaning” of Professor J.R.R. Tolkien’s work.