J is for Jack (C. S. Lewis) (A to Z on Tolkien and the Inklings)

J is for Jack (C. S. Lewis).

I'm trying to think of how best to describe him to those who might not know him at all. Fellow, Tutor, and Professor, at Oxford and Cambridge; veteran of World War I; Christian apologist and author; author of The Chronicles of Narnia; author of a space travel trilogy; nucleus of the Inklings.

I think the best thing is to be brief. For my part, I love the atmosphere of talk and friendship and books revealed in this episode, related in Humphrey Carpenter's biography:

[On a time], "Tolkien and [Lewis] decided to spend an evening reading aloud the libretto of Wagner's Die Walkure [in German]. They began after tea, broke off for supper at the Eastgate -- 'where we had fried fish and a savoury omelette, with beer' -- and then returned to [Lewis's] rooms in Magdalen 'and finished our play (and incidentally the best part of a decanter of very inferior whiskey),' recorded Warnie [Jack's brother, in his diary]. 'Arising from the perplexities of Wotan we had a long and interesting discussion on religion which lasted until about half past eleven.'"

Here are two excerpts from Tolkien's letters:

 Tolkien, Lewis, and dragons...

Tolkien describing an evening Inklings session

What were you talking of the last time you stayed up late with a group of friends?

Comments

They did have some interesting conversations.
I don't think the last gathering of friends of mine led to anything but goofiness.
Hi Deniz - certainly my depth of discussion would only ripple the surface - though some conversations start and I wish we could carry on and I could listen - probably more as a fly on the wall - though I do question a lot - so I suspect the fly might have to join in occasionally.

It's great there's the letters and Warnie's reminiscences of his brother's discussion subjects - they were so well read then ... fascinating post - thanks ..cheers Hilary
Deniz Bevan said…
Thanks Alex, and Hilary! That's a thought -- I wonder, if Tolkien and Lewis ever got goofy, what they talked about when they did...

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