The literary world is not insulated from the world outside. Recently, #metoo was used on Sherman Alexie, an author many of us at The Poetics Project are familiar with; in fact, Melanie Nichole Figueroa once met him at a conference when she was attending publishing school. Conversations around #metoo, Alexie, and harassment in general are difficult – especially for women …
Many readers will be familiar with the two authors I am going to talk about in this blog post. C.S. Lewis is beloved author of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe along with other books based in the magical/Christian land of Narnia such as Prince Caspian and The Magicians Nephew. J.R.R. Tolkien penned such classics as The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
But these two authors weren’t just contemporary artists of the 1950’s who wrote in the same era. They were, in fact, colleagues. Both Lewis and Tolkien taught at Oxford college. In 1926 Tolkien founded a reading group called the “Coalbiters,” which Lewis became a part of. Later, they were part of the same writing group called The Inklings. Together, and with other members of their writing group, they would share drafts of their work. Both men had a great interest in literature and a flare for fictional writing.
Tolkien dedicated his book Lord of the Rings to the writing group The Inklings while C.S. Lewis dedicated his book, The Screwtape Letters, directly to Tolkien.
Lewis’s Narnia novels were reflective of his Christian beliefs, but Lewis wasn’t Christian until later in his life. There are some who believe that it was actually Tolkien’s influence which caused Lewis to convert from a nonbeliever into a Christian.
Lewis and Tolkien had a close friendship, so much so that Lewis’s wife was said to be jealous of Tolkien. But not all friendships are smooth and easy going. Lewis’s and Tolkien’s certainly was not.
One conflict the pair had was over Lewis’s book The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.