Did you know that C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien were good friends for a time?
They first met in 1926 at a Merton College English Faculty meeting. Lewis recorded his initial apprehension in his diary - he called him a “smooth, pale, fluent little chap” and that there was “no harm in him: only needs a smack or so.”
Did you know that Tolkien was instrumental in Lewis becoming a Christian?
I alluded to this in a previous post. On 19 September 1931, Jack and "Tollers" (Tolkien's closest friends called him this) together with their friend Hugo Dyson, were taking their usual after-dinner stroll on the grounds of Magdalen College. This was what Lewis was referring to here:
Now what Dyson and Tolkien showed me was this: that if I met the idea of sacrifice in a Pagan story I didn’t mind it at all: … if I met the idea of a god sacrificing himself to himself … I liked it very much and was mysteriously moved by it: … that the idea of the dying and reviving god (Balder, Adonis, Bacchus) similarly moved me provided I met it anywhere except in the Gospels. The reason was that in Pagan stories I was prepared to feel the myth as profound and suggestive of meanings beyond my grasp even tho’ I could not say in cold prose ‘what it meant’." (Letters 976)
The three friends talked until after three o'clock in the morning and a few days later Lewis wrote to his old friend Arthur Greeves, saying: "I have just passed on from believing in God to definitely believing in Christ, in Christianity.... My long night talk with Dyson and Tolkien had a great deal to do with it", and that he would explain it at some other time.
Did you know that Lewis was instrumental in pushing Tolkien to publish the Lord of the Rings?
Lewis commented, “If they won’t write the kinds of books we want to read, we shall have to write them ourselves.” Lewis encouraged Tolkien, to continue the work he had started in The Hobbit.
Tolkien also agreed to try “time-travel” and Lewis “space-travel,” which led to the Ransom Trilogy. And of course Lewis wrote the Narnia books as well.
Did you know that Lewis was on the cover of Time Magazine in 1947?
If you want to learn more about C. S. Lewis, you could start by reading his autobiography of sorts, Surprised by Joy: The Shape of my Early Life. There are also a number of biographies out there, and of course some are better than others.
His step-son, Douglas Gresham wrote Lenten Lands, My Childhood With C.S. Lewis and Joy Davidman
One of the best biographies I have ever read on him was George Sayer's: Jack: C.S. Lewis and His Times
A couple of other important ones would be:
- Walter Hooper and Roger Lancelyn Green's, C.S. Lewis: A Biography
- Walter Hooper's, C.S Lewis: A Companion and Guide
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Feel free to comment with your own thoughts and questions!
Index of Posts (Highlights):
Day 2. C. S. Lewis on Longing (In "The Weight of Glory")
Day 3. C. S. Lewis on Sehnsucht (Longing and Desire in The Weight of Glory)
Day 6: C. S. Lewis: The Intolerable Compliment (The Problem of Pain)
Day 7: C. S. Lewis: What is "The Weight of Glory"?
Day 8: C. S. Lewis: The Great Divorce and The Weight of Glory
Day 9: C. S. Lewis: A Grief Observed
Day 12: C. S. Lewis and Postmodernism (Part 3 - Conclusion)
Day 13: C. S. Lewis: The Grand Miracle (Myth and Allusions)
Day 14: C. S. Lewis: Is Theology Poetry? (Part 1: More on Myth)
Day 15: C. S. Lewis: Is Theology Poetry? (Part 2: Metaphors, Symbols, and Science)
Day 16: C. S. Lewis and The Trilemma Argument in Mere Christianity
Day 18: C. S. Lewis: Brief Biography (Part 1)