Diana Wynne Jones
In 1953, Jones started studying English at St Anne's College in Oxford, and attended lectures by both C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien before graduating in 1956. Concerning the difference between Lewis and Tolkien, she has described the former as "booming to crowded halls and Tolkien mumbling to me and three others". Jones has remembered going to a "course of lectures" Tolkien gave on the subject of plots and stories, but that "Tolkien was all but inaudible". She has also given a more full account of Tolkien's lectures:
When I was a student I imagine I caused Tolkien much grief by turning up to hear him lecture week after week, while he was trying to wrap his series up after a fortnight and get on with The Lord of the Rings (you could do that in those days, if you lacked an audience, and still get paid). I sat there obdurately despite all his mumbling and talking with his face pressed up to the blackboard, forcing him to go on expounding every week how you could start with a simple quest narrative and, by gradually twitching elements as it went along, arrive at the complex and entirely different story of Chaucer's "Pardoner's tale" — a story that still contains the excitement of the quest narrative that seeded it. What little I heard of all this was wholly fascinating.
Tom Shippey has commented that Jones' 1983 article "The Shape of the Narrative in The Lord of the Rings" (which he describes as analysis of that work as "a series of movements, each with its own coda") says more about the narrative of The Lord of the Rings "than, I suspect, Tolkien could".
- 2012: Reflections: On the Magic of Writing
- Diana Wynne Jones, "Something About the Author", in Reflections: On the Magic of Writing, p. 290
- Diana Wynne Jones, "The Shape of the Narrative in The Lord of the Rings", in Reflections: On the Magic of Writing, p. 6
- Diana Wynne Jones, "Answers to Some Questions", in Reflections: On the Magic of Writing, p. 127
- Tom Shippey, "The magic of Diana Wynne Jones" dated 29 August 2012, The Times Literary Supplement (accessed 1 October 2012)