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WW2 Oxford External Exams for POWs: Tolkien and Lewis

a.s.
Valinor


Feb 13 2009, 2:56am


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WW2 Oxford External Exams for POWs: Tolkien and Lewis Can't Post

I was reading a review of Print for Victory: Book publishing in England 1939-1945 in the Times Literary Supplement, and found this reference:


"...When Germany and Britain agreed in 1941 to allow prisoners of war to sit examinations, an international inter-library loan system was organized from the Bodleian Library, using Basil Blackwell’s book-dump in Geneva. Two Oxford dons, C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien, devised – and marked – an English Honours degree for “kriegies” behind the wire."


I didn't remember ever hearing about this before, but sure enough there's a bit of a reference in Scull and Hammond's "Chronology" (page 265), although it would have gone right over my head that the examinations were taken while in prison camp:


"28 January 1944...Tolkien also presents the report signed by all of the examiners, which he has written and typed, of the work of Allied prisoners of war who have been candidates in the Oxford examination for prisoners of war in English Language and Literature..."


I didn't find to much in a rather cursory Google search, but did find this interesting article about external examinations and their use by prisoners of war during WWII, with a reference to Lewis and Tolkien:


"...Another 135 examining institutions also supplied papers. Of the British universities, Oxford held its first exams outside the city by providing its Special Examination for POWs. The Oxford exams were also accessible to men not already enrolled with the University, but were on a small scale: only 17 men passed the English Language and Literature paper set by J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis."


Also, this may have been referred to somewhere in Letters, but if I have read a reference to it there, I missed the context entirely (that the exams were actually taken by prisoners of war in camp). So just in case anyone else is as surprised by this as I am, I thought I'd just post this here.

a.s.

"an seileachan"

The cure for boredom is curiousity. There is no cure for curiousity.

Dorothy Parker



Call Her Emily

Subject User Time
WW2 Oxford External Exams for POWs: Tolkien and Lewis a.s. Send a private message to a.s. Feb 13 2009, 2:56am
    Wow! Dreamdeer Send a private message to Dreamdeer Feb 13 2009, 6:11pm
        Those were more gentlemanly soldiers Beren IV Send a private message to Beren IV Feb 14 2009, 3:58am
            War? What war? Dreamdeer Send a private message to Dreamdeer Feb 14 2009, 7:31pm
                A brief aside (before diving back into Tolkien) Beren IV Send a private message to Beren IV Feb 14 2009, 10:12pm
                    I also mean no disrespect. Dreamdeer Send a private message to Dreamdeer Feb 14 2009, 10:42pm
                        That is an article of faith Beren IV Send a private message to Beren IV Feb 15 2009, 12:58am
                            Or perhaps... Dreamdeer Send a private message to Dreamdeer Feb 15 2009, 1:59am
        If I understand this correctly... squire Send a private message to squire Feb 14 2009, 11:54pm
            Germany was also a signator of the Geneva Convention Beren IV Send a private message to Beren IV Feb 15 2009, 12:50am
                Prisoner Treatment Dreamdeer Send a private message to Dreamdeer Feb 15 2009, 2:15am
                    The more things change.... Darkstone Send a private message to Darkstone Feb 24 2009, 11:01pm
                        Interesting! Dreamdeer Send a private message to Dreamdeer Feb 24 2009, 11:55pm
            Really? Dreamdeer Send a private message to Dreamdeer Feb 15 2009, 2:02am

 
 
 

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