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Re: [mythsoc] Past Watchful Dragons

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  • John D Rateliff
    Yes, this conversation actually took place around 1936, and it didn t involve children s books, honor, chivalry, or personal responsibility, so far as we know.
    Message 1 of 4 , Nov 10, 2005
      Yes, this conversation actually took place around 1936, and it didn't involve children's books, honor, chivalry, or personal responsibility, so far as we know. The immediate inspirations were Lewis's discovery of David Lindsay's A VOYAGE TO ARCTURUS and Charles Williams' THE PLACE OF THE LION, which convinced him that popular genres such as science fiction and mystery-thrillers could serve as a vehicle for presenting a sophisticated philosophy (in these two examples, Gnosticism and Platonic Ideals, respectively). Tolkien and Lewis decided to each write a thriller, either space-travel or time-travel. Tolkien's was the time-travel story THE LOST ROAD (HME V), ideas from which were later recast into THE NOTION CLUB PAPERS (HME, IX). Lewis's was the space-travel story OUT OF THE SILENT PLANET and its three sequels: PERELANDRA (which let him play with ideas out of PARADISE LOST), THAT HIDEOUS STRENGTH (which among other things fictionalized ideas from THE ABOLITION OF MAN), and THE DARK TOWER (his version of the time-travel tale from the original bargain). Tolkien had already written THE HOBBIT (1930-32) by this point, so the bargain with Lewis had no influence on that. Lewis's idea that he could do the same thing--"smuggle theology"--into an E.Nesbit-style children's book seems to have been his own idea, c.1945-46, in which Tolkien played no part.
      So, it's a nice thought but has no basis in reality. Did Gresham actually say this, is did the journalist confuse the issue?
      --JDR

      -----Original Message-----
      I had trouble with this part of Doug Gresham's speech, which was as reported
      at the website here:

      http://www.christianactivities.com/articles/story.asp?ID=5103

      'In the late 1940's, Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien were talking about children's
      books, commenting upon the lack of honor, chivalry and personal
      responsibility in modern tales. "They decided if no one else was doing it,
      they better do it themselves," Gresham noted. '

      It is my belief that this conversation did take place, but in connection
      with =adult= fiction, not children's books. In fact, the SPACE TRILOGY was
      the immediate result of their agreement, at least where Lewis was concerned.
    • Stolzi
      ... From: John D Rateliff ... Yes, he did. I was there. He got to it via an amusing intro, that he was given his values (honor,
      Message 2 of 4 , Nov 10, 2005
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "John D Rateliff" <sacnoth@...>
        > 'In the late 1940's, Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien were talking about
        > children's
        > books, commenting upon the lack of honor, chivalry and personal
        > responsibility in modern tales. "They decided if no one else was doing it,
        > they better do it themselves," Gresham noted.

        > So, it's a nice thought but has no basis in reality. Did Gresham
        > actually say this, is did the journalist confuse the issue?

        Yes, he did. I was there.

        He got to it via an amusing intro, that he was given his values (honor,
        chivalry and the rest) by CSL,
        Warnie, and an old gentleman who was part of the household which took him in
        after CSL's death. I think he meant the household of a woman journalist who
        had been a good friend of Joy's (this is in Gresham's book LENTEN LANDS
        somewhere); he went there rather than staying on with Warnie. All of these
        men, he said, were formed in the 19th century - "so here I am, having lived
        three hundred years, and naturally out of tune with the present age." Or
        words to that effect.

        Diamond Proudbrook
      • Mike Foster
        I recall Douglas Gresham saying that line, too. Mike
        Message 3 of 4 , Nov 13, 2005
          I recall Douglas Gresham saying that line, too.

          Mike

          John D Rateliff wrote:

          > Yes, this conversation actually took place around 1936, and it didn't involve children's books, honor, chivalry, or personal responsibility, so far as we know. The immediate inspirations were Lewis's discovery of David Lindsay's A VOYAGE TO ARCTURUS and Charles Williams' THE PLACE OF THE LION, which convinced him that popular genres such as science fiction and mystery-thrillers could serve as a vehicle for presenting a sophisticated philosophy (in these two examples, Gnosticism and Platonic Ideals, respectively). Tolkien and Lewis decided to each write a thriller, either space-travel or time-travel. Tolkien's was the time-travel story THE LOST ROAD (HME V), ideas from which were later recast into THE NOTION CLUB PAPERS (HME, IX). Lewis's was the space-travel story OUT OF THE SILENT PLANET and its three sequels: PERELANDRA (which let him play with ideas out of PARADISE LOST), THAT HIDEOUS STRENGTH (which among other things fictionalized ideas from THE ABOLITION OF MAN), and THE DAR
          > So, it's a nice thought but has no basis in reality. Did Gresham actually say this, is did the journalist confuse the issue?
          >--JDR
          >
          >-----Original Message-----
          >I had trouble with this part of Doug Gresham's speech, which was as reported
          >at the website here:
          >
          >http://www.christianactivities.com/articles/story.asp?ID=5103
          >
          > 'In the late 1940's, Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien were talking about children's
          >books, commenting upon the lack of honor, chivalry and personal
          >responsibility in modern tales. "They decided if no one else was doing it,
          >they better do it themselves," Gresham noted. '
          >
          >It is my belief that this conversation did take place, but in connection
          >with =adult= fiction, not children's books. In fact, the SPACE TRILOGY was
          >the immediate result of their agreement, at least where Lewis was concerned.
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
          >Yahoo! Groups Links
          >
          >
          >
          >
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          >
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