Tolkien Gateway

Letter 261

The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien
Letter 261
RecipientAnne Barrett, Houghton Mifflin Co.
Date30 August 1964
Subject(s)Defending C.S. Lewis's memory

Letter 261 is a letter written by J.R.R. Tolkien and published in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien.

[edit] Summary

Disagreeing with George Bailey,[note 1] Tolkien told Anne Barrett that C.S. Lewis had some oddities and could be irritating (after all, he was an Irishman of Ulster). However, he was not a professional clown but a natural one, when a clown at all. Tolkien called him generous-minded and, except for some too deep-rooted for him to see, free of and on guard against prejudice. His literary opinions had not been driven by envy.

Tolkien wished that after a great man died little men could be forbidden to scribble about him, those with insufficient knowledge to give them any key to the truth. Lewis had not been "cut to the quick" when not elected as the professor of poetry. At the tavern thereafter he was quite at ease, only distressed that his friends looked so glum. He had not "readily accepted" the chair in Cambridge. He had not applied when it was advertised, and Cambridge used a lot of diplomacy to finally get him. It had been a good move that had given him much happiness.

[edit] Note

  1. A former pupil of Lewis, Bailey had written an article about him for The Reporter.