Note to Andrew Lazo:
I do not have your essay on the Coalbiters to hand, but what I mostly meant by "little jumps to the Island of Conclusions" (a reference to Norton Juster's _The Phantom Tollbooth_, by the way) was your affixing of definite dates to events that cannot, on the evidence at hand, be firmly dated.
For instance, when Lewis writes on Dec. 3, 1929, that "One week I was up till 2.30 on Monday" talking to Tolkien, it's impossible on the basis of the letter to fix the date, or even do more than guess that it was probably sometime in November. "One week" does not mean "last week," and only a suggestion two sentences before that he's talking about the later part of the term implies that it wasn't earlier still.
But that's just one example. Like most fallible humans, the Inklings did not date-stamp their memories, even in contemporary documents, and if they give only approximate information we have to settle for that. We also need to remember that a lot of the Inklings' activity is completely unrecorded, and that's especially true of the early years and of the relationship between the Inklings (as a group) and the Coalbiters.
Nevertheless I liked your essay on the Coalbiters for its understanding of the aesthetics of the group and how it compares to that of the Inklings.
--- Original Message ---
From: "Andrew" <andrewlazo@...
Date: Tue, 11 Dec 2007 02:10:45 -0000
Subject: Re: Tolkien the Medievalist
> Lol...I hope to improve on the research and to beat a more direct path
> to the Islands of Conclusions in a book about the subject...thanks,
> David, for offering me a mirror, however squirmy!
> I'm also off to Wheaton to work on Changed Lives: CSL as Spiritual
> Mentor, forthcoming on Baker.
> Hi group...just found you so I joined immediately. And thanks to
> Janet for allowing me to rave on about Diana's and David's work...
> > Well, since I don't have any sticky notes stuck in the Faraci or Lazo
> > essays, and only one in the notes for the Sinex essay (and that to a
> > reference to someone else's article), they mustn't have made much
> > impression on me, either... And perhaps it was my unfamiliarity with
> > medieval literature which made the Donovan essay such a stand-out to me
> > -- those who already know a lot about the valkyrie image would probably
> > find it kind of obvious. But I still like it.
> > Janet
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: David Bratman [mailto:dbratman@...]
> > Sent: Wednesday, July 07, 2004 2:53 PM
> > To: email@example.com
> > Subject: RE: [mythsoc] Tolkien the Medievalist
> > At 02:05 PM 7/7/2004 -0500, Croft, Janet B. wrote:
> > The essays I didn't like at all were Margaret Sinex, who stumbles over
> > the
> > relationship between Tolkien's story and her designated source, and gets
> > a
> > crucial fact in the Tolkien wrong; and Mary Faraci, which was just total
> > blither. Nor did I care for Andrew Lazo, who seemed to me to have no
> > real
> > feeling for his subject (Tolkien's friendship with C.S. Lewis) whatever.
> > His essay on the Coalbiters in the new book, _Tolkien and the Invention
> > of
> > Myth_, is better as an essay, but his historical data is full of little
> > jumps to the Island of Conclusions.
> > - David Bratman