With The Hobbit in theaters now, we thought it apropos to begin a short series of glances into what Lewis says of Tolkien, his good friend and fellow scholar. Here’s one from a letter to critic Charles A. Brady on October 29, 1944, talking about how an author and his work are revealing and also not ever the complete picture.
“Tolkien is most important. The Hobbit is merely an adaption to children of part of a huge private mythology of a most serious kind: the whole cosmic struggle as he sees it but mediated through an imaginary world. The Hobbit‘s successor, which will soon be finished, will reveal this more clearly. Private worlds have hitherto been mainly the work of decadents or, at least, mere aesthetes. This is the private world of a Christian. He is a very good man. His published works (both imaginary & scholarly) ought to fill a shelf by now: but he’s one of those people who is never satisfied with a MS [manuscript]. The mere suggestion of publication provokes the reply ‘Yes, I’ll just look through it and give it a few finishing touches’ – wh. means that he really begins the whole thing over again.” (p. 630, The Collected Letters Volume II, HarperOne)