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25365Re: [mythsoc] The Late Scholar

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  • John Rateliff
    Jun 22, 2014
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      Dear Joe

      I haven't read the latest Jill Paton Walsh, or indeed known there as to be a fourth in the series (I shd have thought the ending of the previous book wd have been a good stopping place). Do have to say, though, that the portrait of Tolkien you describe is far from reality. Tolkien was well-known in Oxford for being a strong supporter of women's higher education. So this is one of those cases where a fictional portrayal of a real person is completely at odds with the actual person as he or she really was.  Too bad Walsh chose to distort the facts and to thus blacken Tolkien's reputation.

      --JDR


      On Jun 22, 2014, at 1:09 PM, 'CHRISTOPHER, DR. JOE R.' jchristopher@... [mythsoc] wrote:
      Something I just posted to the Virtual C.S. Lewis Society:
      I received my copy of the American edition of Jill Paton Walsh’s The Late Scholar yesterday (21 June 2014) (and finished reading it at one this morning).  This is the fourth novel in her continuation of Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey-Harriet Vane series.  (Lord Peter is now Duke of Denver.)  This installment is mainly laid in Oxford, in a fictional St. Severin’s College, with many allusions to Sayers’ Gaudy Night.  From p. 155, I think the action is dated to 1953.  (Perhaps I missed an absolute dating.)  References to C. S. Lewis appear on pp. 99, 173, 306, and 351; to Tolkien, on pp. 134, 173, and 351.  The main Lewis reference is the de riguer going into the Bird and “Babe” (99, 306).  The main Tolkien reference is not so usual: “Well, do you know that the Merton Professor of English here will not take women students for tutorials? With one exception, that is—he will tute girls sent to him by Miss [M. Elaine] Griffiths [of St. Anne’s College]” (134).  The Merton Professor is identified as Tolkien, including a reference to The Hobbit, in subsequent conversation, but the point goes back to Walsh’s “Acknowledgements”: “Elaine Griffiths was a real person, who taught me to read and admire Alfred the Great: I salute her memory” ([v]).

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