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Fw: Help with Auden and Eliot

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  • Edith.Crowe@sjsu.edu
    Sorry for not editing--sore arm. Help if you can... Edith L. Crowe | (408) 808-2037 | edith.crowe@sjsu.edu Interim Head of Collection Development Art &
    Message 1 of 13 , May 14, 2007
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      Sorry for not editing--sore arm. Help if you can...

      Edith L. Crowe | (408) 808-2037 | edith.crowe@...
      Interim Head of Collection Development
      Art & Humanities Librarian & Coordinator of Graduate Instruction
      San Jose State University Library (http://www.sjlibrary.org)

      Corresponding Secretary of the Mythopoeic Society (http://www.mythsoc.org)
      ----- Forwarded by Edith Crowe/SJSU on 05/14/2007 10:26 AM -----

      janet alvarez <humbuckinhoney@...>
      05/13/2007 10:42 AM

      To
      edith crowe <edith.crowe@...>
      cc

      Subject
      Fwd: Help with Auden and Eliot






      Hi, Edith! Forwarding another Tolkien Society enquiry to you scholars!

      best,

      jan

      Lynn Forest-Hill <lynnevda@...> wrote:
      Sorry to bother you so soon after the last query, but this has arrived and
      the researcher has found all sorts of information, but the Auden opinion
      and the Eliot connection are still eluding her. She asks:

      "Is it also true that W. H. Auden once said if a reader didn\'t like
      Tolkien, he would never trust his literary judgment again? I have found
      the Times Auden review of the Fellowship and of the Return of the King,
      but I didn\'t find the above statement in either place. Am I confusing
      Auden with someone else?

      I am also looking for interactions between Tolkien and T. S. Eliot. I
      know Williams and Lewis interacted with Eliot, and I see two references to
      Eliot in Tolkien\'s letters (but no evidence of anything more than a
      knowledge of Eliot and his poetry. Douglas Anderson has e-mailed me, and
      he tells me he's the one who passed on the Auden radio blurb to Humphrey
      Carpenter, but when he looked for the article again later, he couldn't
      find it. He also seemed to remember it being a blurb rather than the whole
      transcript, but he isn't sure if it might be elsewhere. He told me to
      check the Listener or Radio Times--which I may do. The BBC and Sound
      Library tell me they don't have records of this broadcast, and they think
      it is probably lost. Edmund Wilson claims in his review of Tolkien's work
      that Auden doesn't like Tolkien's poetry--but I can't find any references
      to him disliking it. I can only find positive claims from Auden. Some have
      posited that perhaps Wilson talked with Auden personally.
      The Eliot question still interests me. One contact has replied in the
      negative--saying Eliot never met Tolkien. This may very well be true.
      There
      are the two references to Eliot in the letters, but they don't say, "I met

      Eliot." Tolkien did win his science fiction/fantasy award at the
      Criterion--according to the letters, but I need to find out why it was
      held
      there--and if it's actually Eliot's journal at all."

      Any help will be most welcome.
      Many thanks,
      Lynn




      "I made my song a coat
      Covered with embroideries
      Out of old mythologies
      From heel to throat..."

      Yeats



      "...here is a rule to remember in future, when anything tempts you to feel
      bitter: not, 'This is a misfortune,' but 'To bear this worthily is a good
      fortune.'"

      ".... the soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts."
      Marcus Aurelius

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • David Bratman
      ... It s in Humphrey Carpenter s _W.H. Auden: A Biography_ (Houghton Mifflin, 1981), p. 379, and this is the quote which Doug Anderson told you he could not
      Message 2 of 13 , May 14, 2007
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        >"Is it also true that W. H. Auden once said if a reader didn\'t like
        >Tolkien, he would never trust his literary judgment again? I have found
        >the Times Auden review of the Fellowship and of the Return of the King,
        >but I didn\'t find the above statement in either place. Am I confusing
        >Auden with someone else?

        It's in Humphrey Carpenter's _W.H. Auden: A Biography_ (Houghton Mifflin,
        1981), p. 379, and this is the quote which Doug Anderson told you he could
        not find again in the listed source there (Times Literary Supplement, 8
        Dec. 1955).

        >Tolkien did win his science fiction/fantasy award at the
        >Criterion--according to the letters, but I need to find out why it was
        >held
        >there--and if it's actually Eliot's journal at all."

        Good lord. The Criterion at which Tolkien was presented with the
        International Fantasy Award in 1957 was a London hotel at which the banquet
        happened to be held. It had nothing to do with T.S. Eliot's already
        long-defunct literary journal.

        - David Bratman
      • Merlin DeTardo
        ... Tolkien, he would never trust his literary judgment again? I have found the Times Auden review of the Fellowship and of the Return of the King, but I
        Message 3 of 13 , May 14, 2007
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          >---Edith.Crowe@... wrote:
          >>----janet alvarez <humbuckinhoney@...> wrote:
          >>>-----Lynn Forest-Hill <lynnevda@...> wrote:

          >>>Is it also true that W. H. Auden once said if a reader didn't like
          Tolkien, he would never trust his literary judgment again? I have
          found the Times Auden review of the Fellowship and of the Return of
          the King, but I didn't find the above statement in either place. Am
          I confusing Auden with someone else?

          This comes from Auden's "The Quest Hero" (1962?), I think.


          >>>Douglas Anderson... tells me he's the one who passed on the Auden
          radio blurb to Humphrey Carpenter, but when he looked for the article
          again later, he couldn't find it. He also seemed to remember it being
          a blurb rather than the whole transcript, but he isn't sure if it
          might be elsewhere.

          >>>Edmund Wilson claims in his review of Tolkien's work that Auden
          doesn't like Tolkien's poetry--but I can't find any references to him
          disliking it. I can only find positive claims from Auden. Some have
          posited that perhaps Wilson talked with Auden personally.

          Funny timing: I asked the same question on Friday following a paper
          at the Kalamazoo conference ("Authorial Insecurity: Tolkien's Modern
          Medievalized Style", by Sharin Schroeder). No one there knew where
          Auden's supposed dislike of Tolkien's poetry was mentioned; Doug
          Anderson was among those present at that session (I think Verlyn
          Flieger and Marjorie Burns were also there). Someone suggested that
          Auden could have made the remark in a BBC talk, but Anderson wondered
          how Wilson would have heard it (at second-hand, perhaps).

          For reference, this is the relevant passage from Edmund Wilson's "Oo!
          Those Awful Orcs":

          "The most distinguished of Tolkien's admirers and the most
          conspicuous of his defenders has been Mr. W.H. Auden. That Auden is
          a master of English verse and a well-equipped critic of verse, no
          one, as they say, will dispute. It is significant, then, that he
          comments on the badness of Tolkien's verseâ€"there is a great deal of
          poetry in _The Lord of the Rings_. Mr. Auden is apparently quite
          insensitive--through lack of interest in the other department--to the
          fact that Tolkien's prose is just as bad. Prose and verse are on the
          same level of professorial amateurishness."

          I look forward to learning here if Auden's comment can be tracked
          down.

          -Merlin
        • Merlin DeTardo
          ... Tolkien, he would never trust his literary judgment again? ... is the quote which Doug Anderson told you he could not find again in the listed source there
          Message 4 of 13 , May 14, 2007
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            >>---"Merlin DeTardo" <emptyD@...> wrote:
            >>>Is it also true that W. H. Auden once said if a reader didn't like
            Tolkien, he would never trust his literary judgment again?
            >>This comes from Auden's "The Quest Hero" (1962?), I think.

            >---David Bratman <dbratman@...> wrote:
            >It's in Humphrey Carpenter's _W.H. Auden: A Biography_... and this
            is the quote which Doug Anderson told you he could not find again in
            the listed source there (Times Literary Supplement, 8 Dec. 1955).


            Oops. Sorry, I should've checked before posting.

            -Merlin
          • John D Rateliff
            ... ... There s no evidence that JRRT ever met TSE, nor that he ever wanted to. In any case, the kind of modernism Eliot s career embodied was anathema
            Message 5 of 13 , May 14, 2007
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              > I am also looking for interactions between Tolkien and T. S. Eliot. I
              > know Williams and Lewis interacted with Eliot, and I see two
              > references to
              > Eliot in Tolkien\'s letters (but no evidence of anything more than a
              > knowledge of Eliot and his poetry.
              <snip>
              > The Eliot question still interests me. One contact has replied
              > in the
              > negative--saying Eliot never met Tolkien. This may very well be true.
              > There are the two references to Eliot in the letters, but they
              > don't say, "I met
              > Eliot."

              There's no evidence that JRRT ever met TSE, nor that he ever wanted
              to. In any case, the kind of modernism Eliot's career embodied was
              anathema to Tolkien's poetic sensibilities.
              However, Charles Williams knew Eliot fairly well, as fellow
              editors at London publishers and fellow poets. Barfield corresponded
              with him a little; I believe Eliot was the publisher of some of his
              latter books (e.g. WORLDS APART and UNANCESTRAL VOICE). C. S. Lewis
              worked with Eliot on a revise-the-Bible committee near the end of
              both men's lives in the late 1950s; until then, he had more or less
              considered TSE the antichrist of modern English poetry for his role
              in abolishing archaic poetic diction. That did not, however, prevent
              his asking Eliot to contribute a piece on Williams as a dramatist to
              ESSAYS PRESENTED TO CHARLES WILLIAMS; unfortunately, the press of
              other work prevented Eliot from completing his piece and he
              eventually withdrew from the memorial festschrift.
              Hope this helps.
              --JDR


              "O Rocky Voice,
              Shall we in that great night rejoice?
              What do we know but that we face
              One another in that place? . . . "
              --Yeats
            • mailbox@hughes.net
              As long as we are in this Eliotian corner of JRRT scholaship, did JRRT ever read David Jones IN PARENTHESIS, as far as anyone can tell? It is a WW I poem by
              Message 6 of 13 , May 14, 2007
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                As long as we are in this Eliotian corner of JRRT scholaship, did JRRT ever read David Jones IN PARENTHESIS, as far as anyone can tell? It is a WW I poem by Welshman Jones with Arthurian and other subcurrents. Eliot wrote a preface to it. It seems to've been an attempt to place WWI trench warfare in the context of myth: free verse. Adam Schwartz writes well of it in his book THE THIRD SPRING.

                Mike

                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • William Cloud Hicklin
                ... near the end of ... he had more or less ... poetry for his role ... not, however, prevent ... Williams as a dramatist to ... The project was not to revise
                Message 7 of 13 , May 15, 2007
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                  --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, John D Rateliff
                  <sacnoth@...> wrote:

                  > C. S. Lewis
                  > worked with Eliot on a revise-the-Bible committee
                  near the end of
                  > both men's lives in the late 1950s; until then,
                  he had more or less
                  > considered TSE the antichrist of modern English
                  poetry for his role
                  > in abolishing archaic poetic diction. That did
                  not, however, prevent
                  > his asking Eliot to contribute a piece on
                  Williams as a dramatist to
                  > ESSAYS PRESENTED TO CHARLES WILLIAMS;

                  The project was not to revise the Bible, but the
                  Anglican Hymnal; and Lewis was pleasantly surprised
                  to find that in this matter Eliot was nearly as
                  conservative as he, generally inclining to keep the
                  old and reject the new.
                • William Cloud Hicklin
                  According to the headnote to Letter No. 177, Auden made this comment in a BBC radio talk broadcast on 16 November 1955. Unfortunately, back then the Beeb
                  Message 8 of 13 , May 15, 2007
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                    According to the headnote to Letter No. 177, Auden
                    made this comment in a BBC radio talk broadcast on
                    16 November 1955.

                    Unfortunately, back then the Beeb routinely wiped
                    their tapes and re-used them, so it's unlikely
                    Auden's talk has survived; however, Tolkien's
                    response is published here ("[I] deplored his
                    making the book 'a test of literary taste.")



                    --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "Merlin
                    DeTardo" <emptyD@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > >---Edith.Crowe@ wrote:
                    > >>----janet alvarez <humbuckinhoney@> wrote:
                    > >>>-----Lynn Forest-Hill <lynnevda@> wrote:
                    >
                    > >>>Is it also true that W. H. Auden once said if
                    a reader didn't like
                    > Tolkien, he would never trust his literary
                    judgment again? I have
                    > found the Times Auden review of the Fellowship
                    and of the Return of
                    > the King, but I didn't find the above statement
                    in either place. Am
                    > I confusing Auden with someone else?
                    >
                    > This comes from Auden's "The Quest Hero" (1962?),
                    I think.
                    >
                    >
                    > >>>Douglas Anderson... tells me he's the one who
                    passed on the Auden
                    > radio blurb to Humphrey Carpenter, but when he
                    looked for the article
                    > again later, he couldn't find it. He also seemed
                    to remember it being
                    > a blurb rather than the whole transcript, but he
                    isn't sure if it
                    > might be elsewhere.
                    >
                    > >>>Edmund Wilson claims in his review of
                    Tolkien's work that Auden
                    > doesn't like Tolkien's poetry--but I can't find
                    any references to him
                    > disliking it. I can only find positive claims
                    from Auden. Some have
                    > posited that perhaps Wilson talked with Auden
                    personally.
                    >
                    > Funny timing: I asked the same question on Friday
                    following a paper
                    > at the Kalamazoo conference ("Authorial
                    Insecurity: Tolkien's Modern
                    > Medievalized Style", by Sharin Schroeder). No
                    one there knew where
                    > Auden's supposed dislike of Tolkien's poetry was
                    mentioned; Doug
                    > Anderson was among those present at that session
                    (I think Verlyn
                    > Flieger and Marjorie Burns were also there).
                    Someone suggested that
                    > Auden could have made the remark in a BBC talk,
                    but Anderson wondered
                    > how Wilson would have heard it (at second-hand,
                    perhaps).
                    >
                    > For reference, this is the relevant passage from
                    Edmund Wilson's "Oo!
                    > Those Awful Orcs":
                    >
                    > "The most distinguished of Tolkien's admirers and
                    the most
                    > conspicuous of his defenders has been Mr. W.H.
                    Auden. That Auden is
                    > a master of English verse and a well-equipped
                    critic of verse, no
                    > one, as they say, will dispute. It is
                    significant, then, that he
                    > comments on the badness of Tolkien's
                    verseâ€"there is a great deal of
                    > poetry in _The Lord of the Rings_. Mr. Auden is
                    apparently quite
                    > insensitive--through lack of interest in the
                    other department--to the
                    > fact that Tolkien's prose is just as bad. Prose
                    and verse are on the
                    > same level of professorial amateurishness."
                    >
                    > I look forward to learning here if Auden's
                    comment can be tracked
                    > down.
                    >
                    > -Merlin
                    >
                  • Oberhelman, D
                    Eliot had become much more conservative both in matters of faith (a High Anglican) and literary technique by then. The Eliot of the Four Quartets and Murder
                    Message 9 of 13 , May 15, 2007
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                      Eliot had become much more conservative both in matters of faith (a High
                      Anglican) and literary technique by then. The Eliot of the Four
                      Quartets and Murder in the Cathedral was quite different from the Eliot
                      of Prufrock and the Waste Land several decades earlier.



                      I did enjoy the comment in Diana Glyer's book that even Eliot found
                      Charles Williams difficult!





                      **************************************

                      David D. Oberhelman

                      Associate Professor

                      Humanities-Social Sciences Division

                      Oklahoma State University Library

                      Stillwater, OK 74078

                      [Summer 2007 Phone: (405) 269-8657]

                      Fax: (405) 744-7579

                      Email: d.oberhelman@...

                      ________________________________

                      From: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com [mailto:mythsoc@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
                      Of William Cloud Hicklin
                      Sent: Tuesday, May 15, 2007 10:43 AM
                      To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                      Subject: [mythsoc] Re: re. Help with . . . Eliot



                      --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com <mailto:mythsoc%40yahoogroups.com> , John
                      D Rateliff
                      <sacnoth@...> wrote:

                      > C. S. Lewis
                      > worked with Eliot on a revise-the-Bible committee
                      near the end of
                      > both men's lives in the late 1950s; until then,
                      he had more or less
                      > considered TSE the antichrist of modern English
                      poetry for his role
                      > in abolishing archaic poetic diction. That did
                      not, however, prevent
                      > his asking Eliot to contribute a piece on
                      Williams as a dramatist to
                      > ESSAYS PRESENTED TO CHARLES WILLIAMS;

                      The project was not to revise the Bible, but the
                      Anglican Hymnal; and Lewis was pleasantly surprised
                      to find that in this matter Eliot was nearly as
                      conservative as he, generally inclining to keep the
                      old and reject the new.





                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • John D Rateliff
                      ... Yes, you re right; my memory was confused by references I d seen to this as the Committee to Revise the Psalms ; more properly I believe it was . . . to
                      Message 10 of 13 , May 15, 2007
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                        On May 15, 2007, at 8:43 AM, William Cloud Hicklin wrote:
                        > The project was not to revise the Bible, but the
                        > Anglican Hymnal; and Lewis was pleasantly surprised
                        > to find that in this matter Eliot was nearly as
                        > conservative as he, generally inclining to keep the
                        > old and reject the new.

                        Yes, you're right; my memory was confused by references I'd seen to
                        this as the 'Committee to Revise the Psalms'; more properly I believe
                        it was '. . . to Revise the Psalter'. Thanks for the correction.
                        --JDR
                      • John D Rateliff
                        ... Taum Santoski tried to find out more about the Tolkien/Jones connection, but he was never able to turn up anything. Tolkien is among those thanked in the
                        Message 11 of 13 , May 15, 2007
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                          On May 14, 2007, at 1:26 PM, mailbox@... wrote:
                          > As long as we are in this Eliotian corner of JRRT scholarship, did
                          > JRRT ever read David Jones IN PARENTHESIS, as far as anyone can
                          > tell? It is a WW I poem by Welshman Jones with Arthurian and other
                          > subcurrents. Eliot wrote a preface to it. It seems to've been an
                          > attempt to place WWI trench warfare in the context of myth: free
                          > verse. Adam Schwartz writes well of it in his book THE THIRD SPRING.
                          >
                          > Mike

                          Taum Santoski tried to find out more about the Tolkien/Jones
                          connection, but he was never able to turn up anything. Tolkien is
                          among those thanked in the front matter of one of Jones' major poems
                          (either IN PARENTHESIS or ANATHEMATA--I forget which, and don't have
                          copies of either handy to look it up), but it's unclear whether he
                          actually knew Tolkien, attended a few of his lectures at Oxford (a la
                          Auden), or simply read JRRT's BEOWULF: THE MONSTERS & THE CRITICS,
                          though I suspect the last. If someone has done further research on
                          this, I'd be interested in being pointed at the results.
                          --JDR
                        • David Bratman
                          ... I found a reference in the preface to The Anathemata (1951). Tolkien s name is one of about fifty in a list that Jones specifically identifies as one of
                          Message 12 of 13 , May 17, 2007
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                            At 11:07 PM 5/15/2007 -0700, John D Rateliff wrote:

                            >Taum Santoski tried to find out more about the Tolkien/Jones
                            >connection, but he was never able to turn up anything. Tolkien is
                            >among those thanked in the front matter of one of Jones' major poems
                            >(either IN PARENTHESIS or ANATHEMATA--I forget which, and don't have
                            >copies of either handy to look it up), but it's unclear whether he
                            >actually knew Tolkien, attended a few of his lectures at Oxford (a la
                            >Auden), or simply read JRRT's BEOWULF: THE MONSTERS & THE CRITICS,
                            >though I suspect the last. If someone has done further research on
                            >this, I'd be interested in being pointed at the results.

                            I found a reference in the preface to The Anathemata (1951). Tolkien's
                            name is one of about fifty in a list that Jones specifically identifies as
                            one of "living or recently living authors to whom I stand indebted," and he
                            goes on to say more about having consulted or read their books, though he
                            mostly doesn't specify what he read by or got out of each author.
                            Elsewhere in the preface he quotes C.S. Lewis, but Lewis is not in the
                            list, which Jones says is random and arbitrary.

                            Jones is unlikely to have heard Tolkien lecture at Oxford anyway because,
                            unlike Auden, he didn't go to Oxford, or to university at all.
                          • Mike Foster
                            Adam Schwartz writes: J acknowledged T in the preface to the Anathemata, though is never more specific about what he read that was so influential. My guess
                            Message 13 of 13 , May 18, 2007
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                              Adam Schwartz writes:
                              "J acknowledged T in the preface to the Anathemata, though is never more
                              specific about what he read that was so influential. My guess would be
                              "On Fairy Stories," but there is no way of being sure. J read The
                              Hobbitt; in the 1950s, he told Colin Wilcockson that he thought he would
                              like LOTR, but that he could not get past the bit he heard on the
                              wireless (which would be what?). It does not seem that he came back to
                              it later. J and T never met, and it is most unlikely that J would have
                              ever heard T lecture, as J became more and more agoraphobic over time
                              and rarely left his room in private hotels in London. There is no
                              evidence that T read J, though Lewis did refer briefly to The Anathemata
                              in his Cambridge inaugural address."
                              For more on David Jones, see Schwartz' THE THIRD SPRING (2005), a fine
                              study of Jones, G.K. Chesterton, Graham Greene, and Christopher Dawson
                              as convert Catholic writers.
                              Mike


                              -----Original Message-----
                              From: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com [mailto:mythsoc@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
                              Of David Bratman
                              Sent: Thursday, May 17, 2007 10:23 PM
                              To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                              Subject: Re: [mythsoc] JRRT/David Jones

                              At 11:07 PM 5/15/2007 -0700, John D Rateliff wrote:

                              >Taum Santoski tried to find out more about the Tolkien/Jones
                              >connection, but he was never able to turn up anything. Tolkien is
                              >among those thanked in the front matter of one of Jones' major poems
                              >(either IN PARENTHESIS or ANATHEMATA--I forget which, and don't have
                              >copies of either handy to look it up), but it's unclear whether he
                              >actually knew Tolkien, attended a few of his lectures at Oxford (a la
                              >Auden), or simply read JRRT's BEOWULF: THE MONSTERS & THE CRITICS,
                              >though I suspect the last. If someone has done further research on
                              >this, I'd be interested in being pointed at the results.

                              I found a reference in the preface to The Anathemata (1951). Tolkien's
                              name is one of about fifty in a list that Jones specifically identifies
                              as
                              one of "living or recently living authors to whom I stand indebted," and
                              he
                              goes on to say more about having consulted or read their books, though
                              he
                              mostly doesn't specify what he read by or got out of each author.
                              Elsewhere in the preface he quotes C.S. Lewis, but Lewis is not in the
                              list, which Jones says is random and arbitrary.

                              Jones is unlikely to have heard Tolkien lecture at Oxford anyway
                              because,
                              unlike Auden, he didn't go to Oxford, or to university at all.



                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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