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"Tolkien's friend"!

The man. The myth.

"Tolkien's friend"!

Postby Áthas » 20 Sep 2005, 20:45

This is something that just annoyed me and I'm wondering whether that happens more often...
A few days ago I bought a German magazine called "Space View" and they had an article on the Narnia-movie and the books. The headline of that article was something like "Narnia - by Tolkien's friend" and I thought it was really annoying. C. S. Lewis was a good author, good enough on his own, he doesn't need to be referred to as "Tolkien's friend", does he?
It's maybe splitting hairs, but it just annoyed me and I hope that isn't like everyone refers to him! He certainly was more than "Tolkien's friend"!
To thine own self be true!!! (Shakespeare)
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Postby A#minor » 21 Sep 2005, 00:12

Actually, it would be more appropriate to call Tolkien "Lewis's friend." Especially when they were alive, b/c Lewis wrote and published so much more than Tolkien did, and he acquired his fame and recognition as an author long before Tolkien did. Even when Tolkien did put his mark on the world of fiction, he was still looked upon by many of his colleagues as a writer of children's stories, not a contributor to the intellectual essays of their time. He hadn't written any big intellectual theological papers like Lewis had, which contributed to his slight jealousy of Lewis.

I suppose the people who wrote that were trying to cash in on the recent LOTR movie craze. They have to realize that Lewis can stand on his own two feet! CON is a wonderful story in it's own right, and it doesn't need to be associated with LOTR to get publicity! :angry: I agree with you, Athas. That makes me mad.
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Re: "Tolkien's friend"!

Postby Marcus_P_Hagen » 18 Jan 2006, 00:00

Áthas wrote:He certainly was more than "Tolkien's friend"!


But I daresay that Lewis might have thought that title far more important than many others, given the premium he placed on friendship.

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Postby Adam Linton » 18 Jan 2006, 02:15

A#minor wrote:Even when Tolkien did put his mark on the world of fiction, he was still looked upon by many of his colleagues as a writer of children's stories, not a contributor to the intellectual essays of their time. He hadn't written any big intellectual theological papers like Lewis had, which contributed to his slight jealousy of Lewis.


If I might be permitted to "fine tune" this just a bit -- while Tolkien was, indeed, nowhere near as prolific a writer as Lewis (which, as you say, probably did contribute to some jealousy on Tolkien's part), Tolkien, as an academic writer, did make some important contributions to his field. The work which comes to mind more than anything else is "Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics," given first as the Gollancz Memorial Lecture to the British Academy in 1936, then published in Vol XXII of the Academy Proceedings. This essay changed the whole course of Beowulf studies. This, along with a number of Tolkien's other academic pieces, is now re-published in The Monsters and the Critics and Other Essays, a volume not easy to obtain in the US but readily available in the UK.

All the best.

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re: "Tolkien's friend"!

Postby A#minor » 18 Jan 2006, 03:07

Thanks, Adam! You're so right. I had forgotten about Tolkien's Beowulf studies.
I don't think Tolkien's essays on Old English poetry were as widely published or read as Lewis' theological essays, radio talks, and books. I suppose that in the general public's eye Tolkien was known mostly for Hobbit and LOTR?
However, you are right that we can't forget Tolkien's work that influenced the academic world.
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Re: "Tolkien's friend"!

Postby Basilides » 18 Jan 2006, 04:35

Marcus_P_Hagen wrote:But I daresay that Lewis might have thought that title far more important than many others, given the premium he placed on friendship.

Marcus


I agree. Lewis would have loved the title.
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Re: "Tolkien's friend"!

Postby Karen » 18 Jan 2006, 12:08

Áthas wrote:C. S. Lewis was a good author, good enough on his own, he doesn't need to be referred to as "Tolkien's friend", does he?


It's just marketing. By now *everyone* has heard of Tolkien because of the LOTR movies, while the same can't (yet) be said about Lewis. They're trying to get as many people to buy the magazine as they can. :p
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re: "Tolkien's friend"!

Postby wolverine888 » 18 Jan 2006, 20:56

well, they were certainly friends... but i see why you're annoyed. you just have to remember that, due to the cinema industry, everyone now knows who tolkien is... and is just now learning who lewis is... annoying, but true.
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Re: "Tolkien's friend"!

Postby wood-maid » 19 Jan 2006, 18:39

Basilides wrote:I agree. Lewis would have loved the title.

Even after his friendship with Tolkien had cooled, do you think?
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Re: "Tolkien's friend"!

Postby A#minor » 19 Jan 2006, 22:37

wood-maid wrote:
Basilides wrote:I agree. Lewis would have loved the title.

Even after his friendship with Tolkien had cooled, do you think?

I think that even after their "friendship had cooled", they were still good friends and still cared about each other deeply, although they may not have met as often to talk, etc...

When Lewis died, Tolkien wrote to his daughter, Priscilla : "So far I have felt the normal feelings of a man of my age - like an old tree that is losing all its leaves one by one: this feels like an axe-blow near the roots."

And Humphrey Carpenter says that he then spent many hours pouring over Lewis' last book, Letters to Malcolm:Chiefly on Prayer.
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Re: "Tolkien's friend"!

Postby Monica » 20 Jan 2006, 00:47

A#minor wrote:When Lewis died, Tolkien wrote to his daughter, Priscilla : "So far I have felt the normal feelings of a man of my age - like an old tree that is losing all its leaves one by one: this feels like an axe-blow near the roots."


I'd like to take those as Tolkien's last and truest words on Lewis. Tolkien's earlier words are a little disturbing: "I just received a copy of C.S.L.'s latest: Studies in Words . Alas. His ponderous silliness is becoming a fixed manner. "

Ponderous silliness? Lewis?
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re: "Tolkien's friend"!

Postby Adam Linton » 20 Jan 2006, 03:09

By this time, Monica, and this is 1961 if my memory serves, there was a lot of water under the bridge between the two friends; Charles Williams, then Joy, among a number of other challenges. I think that Lewis and Tolkien always would have affirmed that they shared a remarkable, important bond, but the friendship at this point wasn't what it once was.
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re: "Tolkien's friend"!

Postby CKinna » 20 Jan 2006, 03:15

I always turn the statement around and have Tolkien as a friend of Lewis and thus gain more by being his friend, in my eyes. Though I'm sure they were fine chaps on their own as well.
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Re: "Tolkien's friend"!

Postby wood-maid » 20 Jan 2006, 04:28

A#minor wrote:When Lewis died, Tolkien wrote to his daughter, Priscilla : "So far I have felt the normal feelings of a man of my age - like an old tree that is losing all its leaves one by one: this feels like an axe-blow near the roots."

I've read that, I think, and it does show how Tolkien valued their friendship. Still, I can't help but think that he could've made a little more effort to show some of that value while Lewis was still alive; I always thought it was sad that almost none of Lewis' friends supported him by attending his wife's funeral.
I don't know as much about Tolkien as Lewis, but sometimes he strikes me as a bit...eccentric? Maybe narrow-minded is too strong, but...having a hard time letting people be different? (Don't want to sound too harsh here... :) )
"Jill," said Tirian, "you are the bravest and most wood-wise of all my subjects, but also the most malapert and disobedient."
"By the Mane!" he whispered to Eustace. "This girl is a wondrous wood-maid. If she had Dryad's blood in her she could scarce do it better." - The Last Battle
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Re: "Tolkien's friend"!

Postby Leslie » 20 Jan 2006, 15:48

A#minor wrote:
And Humphrey Carpenter says that he then spent many hours pouring over Lewis' last book, Letters to Malcolm:Chiefly on Prayer.

Incidentally, Tolkien was not at all pleased by this book. He wrote to David Kolb in 1964:

I personally found Letters to Malcolm a distressing and in parts a horrifying work. I began a commentary on it, but if finished it would not be publishable.
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