22623Re: [mythsoc] Re: Tolkien as lecturer
- Aug 15, 2011Assuming for the moment that the memory reported in the letter is mostly true but filtered, I suspect that Tolkien lectured on the production of the Alfredian corpus of Old English prose literature, or more particularly the Preface to Alfred's Pastoral Care. In that context, the Alfred Jewel universally arises since something that looks and sounds like the jewel is mentioned as being sent out to the bishops of Alfred's kingdom with copies of the book, and the most common understanding of the jewel's purpose was that a rod was attached and that it was used as a pointer for reading the manuscript. I suspect that if this lecture were given, that the mention of the jewel and its purpose were a very small part of a larger more literary and philological lecture.--Larry Swain
On Mon, 15 Aug 2011 07:01 -0700, "David Bratman" <dbratman@...> wrote:
I agree with Ernie: there would be little point in pursuing this in the TLS, unless, perhaps, if one were absolutely certain the statement was wrong, and I'm only very skeptical that something is wrong about this story. But that something might be the date.
In this forum, though, I can also mention being skeptical that Tolkien would have lectured on the Alfred Jewel. Tolkien was a philologist, not an archaeologist nor an art historian, and while he might have had something to say about the Jewel's inscription, it strikes me as out-of-place that he would have been giving a formal lecture on its utilitarian purpose.
The point the letter-writer was making, though, was that Tolkien was a good, not a bad, lecturer. On that question, opinions differ. Some tell the most horrid stories of his detachment and unintelligibility. Others, who are definitely talking about him, say he was riveting. I've seen similar spreads about other Inklings, about their lecturing, their tutoring, and so on. One student hated CSL as a tutor so much he dropped out and sniped about it. Another thrived and wrote a worshipful memoir.
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