Lot Content

Global notice COVID-19 Important notice
This lot will be subject to VAT at the rate of 17.… Read more
TOLKIEN, John Ronald Reuel (1892-1973). Autograph letter signed ('Ronald Tolkien') to George Sayer, Headington, Oxford, 28 November 1963, 6 pages, 4°. Provenance: George Sayer (b.1914).

Details
TOLKIEN, John Ronald Reuel (1892-1973). Autograph letter signed ('Ronald Tolkien') to George Sayer, Headington, Oxford, 28 November 1963, 6 pages, 4°. Provenance: George Sayer (b.1914).

AN EXTRAORDINARY TRIBUTE TO C.S. LEWIS

Tolkien writes after the funeral of C.S. ('Jack') Lewis. Lewis's death is 'the blow dolorous'; Tolkien had been invited years before to write the obituary (he recalls Lewis announcing this fact to Tolkien's wife in a crowded railway carriage), and he now wishes he had. His refusal, he relates, was on religious grounds--'A Catholic could not possibly say anything sincere about Jack's books without giving widespread offence'--and consideration of this leads Tolkien into a disastrous sidetrack: Lewis's English Literature in the Sixteenth Century, 'in spite of its style, skill, humorousness, and sane clarity ... seemed to be, as far as "religion" went, the most magisterial and monumental missing of the point. That the trouble was basically about Lutheran faith and works ... makes nonsense. The case was hatred of the Blessed Sacrament ... And it still goes on. In my time a public preacher in the streets of Edinburgh used publicly to desecrate the host ... One may detest the French government and all its operations at the time [of the St Bartholemew's Day Massacre] ... but you cannot understand the terrors, unless you realize that the Huguenots desecrated the Blessed Sacrament ... and boasted of it'; Tolkien imagines Lewis's reconcilation with the Virgin Mary, and notes 'According to my fashion and in a remote way this is an ingredient in the meeting of Gimli and Galadriel'. The letter ends with an affectionate tribute to Lewis's 'attention, praise, warm delight and much criticism', and wryly notes that Lewis's Screwtape Letters, which had been dedicated to Tolkien without permission, have been described as a work 'Lewis himself was never (sic) very fond of'.

Although C.S. Lewis and Tolkien, both Oxford academics, had been close friends and collaborators in the 'Inklings' group, they had been distanced from each other for some ten years before Lewis's death. George Sayer was a pupil, and later biographer, of C.S. Lewis; his involvement in the genesis of the Lord of the Rings is chronicled in the succeeding lot.
Special Notice

This lot will be subject to VAT at the rate of 17.5% on the buyer's premium.
;

More from 20TH-CENTURY BOOKS AND MANUSCRIPTS

View All
View All