Jun 5 2013, 11:24pm
Tolkien sympathized greatly with his female students, and female students in general at Oxford. He would often invite them over to his home and tutor them. (He felt the other professors neglected females in classrooms and that females had a harder time of it in college.) This activity was something Edith could join in on, and it helped Edith out of her shell and into academic society. (Ms. Renault was a student of Tolkien in the 1920s.)
According to Mary Renault...
Ms. Renault also said Tolkien encouraged and supported women students who aspired to become writers, critiquing their manuscripts and writing them reference letters to publishers and agents.
Ms. Renault and Tolkien did have a dispute over the publication of her first novel, "Purposes of Love". It was very racy for its time, and had hints of male and female homosexuality. Anyway, Ms. Renault wanted to use a male pseudonym, but Tolkien strongly objected, urging her to publish under her own name, or at least a female pseudonym. Indeed, she says that Tolkien strongly encouraged all the young aspiring female writers he came into contact with to reject the trend of the time for females to write under male pseudonyms and instead use their own names.
(Ironically, in the fifties many critics were convinced that Renault was a male writer writing under a female pseudonym!)
Finally, from Letter 294:
"There are exceptions. I have read all that E. R. Eddison wrote, in spite of his peculiarly bad nomenclature and personal philosophy. I was greatly taken by the book that was (I believe) the runner-up when The L. R. was given the Fantasy Award, 'Death of Grass'. I enjoy the S.F. of Isaac Azimov. Above these, I was recently deeply engaged in the books of Mary Renault; especially the two about Theseus, The King Must Die, and The Bull from the Sea. A few days ago I actually received a card of appreciation from her; perhaps the piece of ‘Fan-mail’ that gives me most pleasure."
Note that like most of Renault’s novels, The King Must Die and The Bull From the Sea dealt sympathetically with male and female homosexual characters.
Ms. Renault died in 1983, renowned as one of the 20th century's greatest authors of gay literature.
Brother will fight brother and both be his slayer,
Brother and sister will violate all bonds of kinship;
Hard it will be in the world, there will be much failure of honor,
An age of axes, an age of swords, where shields are shattered,
An age of winds, an age of wolves, where the world comes crashing down;
No man will spare another.
-From the Völuspá, 13th Century
(This post was edited by dernwyn on Jun 6 2013, 12:12am)