Lewis on Tolkien in 1922

Into Merton for the "English tea" at 4.  Here there was hardly any talk of the strike.  Discussion turned on Fletcher's proposal to co-ordinate the lecture list with the ordinary course of tutorial work.  Everyone agreed, tho' Gordon spoke of the danger of making the thing too much of  "an easily running engine that can give no pleasure to anyone except the engineer".  Miss Lee talked a lot of nonsense about the need for lessons in pronunciation and beginners' "outlines of literature".

Tolkien managed to get the discussion round to the proposed English Prelim.  I had a talk with him afterwards.  He is a smooth, pale, fluent little chap - can't read Spenser because of the forms - thinks the language is the real thing in the school - thinks all literature is written for the amusement of men between thirty and forty - we ought to vote ourselves out of existence if we were honest - still the sound-changes and the gobbets are great fun for the dons.  No harm in him: only needs a smack or so.  His pet abomination is the idea of "liberal" studies. Technical hobbies are more in his line.

C.S. Lewis
All My Road Before Me
Harcourt Brace (1991)

No comments: