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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Main:
So, why exactly did J.R.R. Tolkien not like C.S Lewis's The lion the witch and the wardrobe?

RachellovesLOTR
Rivendell

Jun 18 2013, 11:38pm

Post #1 of 21 (494 views)
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So, why exactly did J.R.R. Tolkien not like C.S Lewis's The lion the witch and the wardrobe? Can't Post

Lately I've been reading from a lot of sources that while C.S Lewis was a fan of The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien didn't like The lion the witch and the wardrobe that C.S Lewis wrote. I'm a fan of both The Lord of the rings and The Chronicles of Narnia, and personally I believe thst both writers had potential. My question is what Tolkien saw in The lion the witch and the Wardrobe that made him give it a negative review. Does anyone know? I don't think it was because it was a children's book, because he had written The Hobbit, which is also a children's book. Thanks for those of you who can tell me. I really think it's cool that these two authors were friends. They definitely pull me into their worlds of Middle Earth and Narnia.


(This post was edited by RachellovesLOTR on Jun 18 2013, 11:39pm)


geordie
Tol Eressea

Jun 19 2013, 12:54am

Post #2 of 21 (311 views)
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I think it was largely a matter of taste - [In reply to] Can't Post

- that is, Lewis' book just didn't appeal to Tolkien. And there were probably other reasons, which Humphrey Carpenter goes into in his book 'The Inklings'. Tolkien had said, after listening to Lewis read out the opening chapters to his friends at the Eagle and Child, that he had 'disliked it intensely'. And later he said to a mutual friend, 'I hear you've been reading Jack's children's story. It really won't do, you know.' Carpenter goes on: '[Tolkien] disliked works of the imagination that were written hastily, were inconsistent in their details, and were not always totally convincing in their evocation of a 'secondary world'.... Moreover, the story borrowed so indiscriminately from other mythologies and narratives (fauns, nymphs, Father Christmas...) that for Tolkien the suspension of disbelief, the entering into a secondary world, was impossible'..

Tolkien and Lewis were great friends, but Tolkien didn't see that as a reason for liking everything his friend wrote.

.


RosieLass
Valinor


Jun 19 2013, 6:51am

Post #3 of 21 (295 views)
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The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is very much an allegory. [In reply to] Can't Post

A literary type that Tolkien didn't admire very much. That's my impression of why he didn't care for the book.

"BOTH [political] extremes are dangerous. But more dangerous are team fanboys who think all the extremists are on the OTHER side." (CNN reader comment)

It is always those with the fewest sensible things to say who make the loudest noise in saying them. --Precious Ramotswe (Alexander McCall Smith)


RachellovesLOTR
Rivendell

Jun 19 2013, 7:23am

Post #4 of 21 (265 views)
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Ok [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for your answers guys


Elizabeth
Valinor


Jun 19 2013, 7:38am

Post #5 of 21 (277 views)
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An allegory... [In reply to] Can't Post

...in the sense that you can rack up characters and events that directly match to Bible stories. Aslan = Jesus, etc.

This (plus the fairly indiscriminate mixing of elements from Greek and other mythologies) were in strong contrast to Tolkien's meticulously-constructed Secondary World with its own history, mythology, languages, etc.

In Tolkien's view, a direct allegory limits the reader's imagination. It's not only boring, it becomes like homework (this character = what symbol/Biblical character/concept ... ).

When I was in high school long ago, we read Conrad's Heart of Darkness. The teacher made it clear that every character, every plot element, etc., was a symbol, and it was our job to identify them all. I have hated Conrad ever since.








(This post was edited by Elizabeth on Jun 19 2013, 7:42am)


BoromirOfWinterfell
Rohan


Jun 19 2013, 9:18am

Post #6 of 21 (258 views)
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I've experienced the same problem with The Lord of the Flies [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
When I was in high school long ago, we read Conrad's Heart of Darkness. The teacher made it clear that every character, every plot element, etc., was a symbol, and it was our job to identify them all. I have hated Conrad ever since.

I enjoyed reading the book at a younger age, but as soon as we started with in-depth analysis and "this symbolises..." it has put me off the book. Apparently the way a character sits down alludes to his moral state.

"Eala Earendel engla beorhtast
ofer middangeard monnum sended."

"Who put the tribbles in the quadrotriticale!?"


wildespace
The Shire

Jun 19 2013, 9:26am

Post #7 of 21 (263 views)
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Tolkien didn't like it [In reply to] Can't Post

because it was a blatant Christian allegory. Tolkien liked his Christian meaning to be more subtle and kinda "behind the scenes". Tolkien also simply disliked allegory, in all its forms.

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CuriousG
Valinor


Jun 19 2013, 12:38pm

Post #8 of 21 (253 views)
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They also had a falling out [In reply to] Can't Post

It sounds from the other replies that Tolkien disliked the Narnia books while they were still friends, but that friendship ended, and I wonder if he became more vocal in his dislike afterwards?


Lusitano
Tol Eressea


Jun 19 2013, 1:29pm

Post #9 of 21 (240 views)
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"People dont seem to understand the difference between an allegory and a repetition" [In reply to] Can't Post

Wink

Vous commencez à m'ennuyer avec le port!!!


RachellovesLOTR
Rivendell

Jun 19 2013, 1:39pm

Post #10 of 21 (236 views)
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Okay [In reply to] Can't Post

Can an admin or mod please lock this topic? Since I found the answer, there's no reason to keep it open anymore. Thanks.


Maciliel
Tol Eressea


Jun 19 2013, 2:00pm

Post #11 of 21 (214 views)
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there may be [In reply to] Can't Post

 
you've started an interesting discussion, rachel. : ) thanks for the great question. : )

as long as there's polite and engaging discussion, i suggest it would be of benefit to leave the discussion open. i know i'm thoroughly enjoying it, and there are still some neat things being uncovered and explored.


cheers : )


.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel telpemairo


entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jun 19 2013, 2:00pm

Post #12 of 21 (223 views)
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We generally don't lock topics [In reply to] Can't Post

unless the conversation violates our Terms of Service. We have a worldwide community with people are checking in at all times of the day, and we like to give everyone the opportunity to participate.

Since you have the answer to your question, you can skip the remaining responses.


RachellovesLOTR
Rivendell

Jun 19 2013, 2:13pm

Post #13 of 21 (211 views)
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Oh, ok [In reply to] Can't Post

 


Brethil
Half-elven


Jun 19 2013, 2:53pm

Post #14 of 21 (207 views)
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Posting is like the Road, Rachel! [In reply to] Can't Post

You never know where it might get swept off to! But that's the fun in it!

I see your upthread point Elizabeth - reading something constantly analyzing for intended allegory is more like a homework exercise. It would really remove you from reading and feeling deeper meanings and just sort of cut and pastes other meanings into the text. I like that JRRT's 'meanings' are more complex and buried more with character rather than once-removed symbolisms.

Manwe, when asked a simple "Yes" or "No" question, contemplated, and responded "the middle one."


elaen32
Gondor


Jun 19 2013, 9:32pm

Post #15 of 21 (166 views)
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There certainly are a lot of allegories in Narnia [In reply to] Can't Post

I have a longstanding affection for The Lion the Witch & the Wardrobe, dating back to childhood, aged six, I remember our teacher reading it to us as the end of the day story (half the class in tears when the Witch "kills" Aslan). But the Christian resurrection allegory is obviously strong. I am not so keen on some parts of the other books, where the allegory comes over as a bit "preachy" eg in Dawn Treader, when they meet The Lamb at the edge of the World and certainly in the Last Battle, which is an allegory of the Book of Revelations. I disliked the fact that Susan was left out, just because she had grown up and preferred going out to parties to talking about Narnia (mind you, I disliked the whole "let's kill off all the Pevensey family in a train crash" part of this). I can fully understand Tolkien feeling that some of this was just a bit much and a bit too obvious. Likewise, the mixture of mythologies is a bit strange, although, mostly it doesn't worry me too much- except in Prince Caspian with the whole Bacchanalian procession section, which is just... bizarre imo!

Having said all of this, however, I do like the series as a whole, although I'm not sure how much is nostalgia or not.Wink

Incidentally, Lewis, too, had his magic rings in Narnia, in the Magician's Nephew, which helped transport the wearer to the Wood Between the Worlds- a sort of spiritual portal to another world. I guess the Inklings probably discussed the various Rring mythologies around and this found its way into several people's work- I'll have to look into this one.

"Beneath the roof of sleeping leaves the dreams of trees unfold"


Maciliel
Tol Eressea


Jun 19 2013, 10:16pm

Post #16 of 21 (156 views)
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so +that's+ [In reply to] Can't Post

 
so +that's+ where some of those lost rings of power went. nice when something one has given up for lost turns up. perhaps we should look around for some palantir in the lone islands.


i loved the narnia series, but a couple of points drew me a little out... the lamb in the dawn treader, and much of the last battle.


cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel telpemairo


dreamflower
Lorien

Jun 20 2013, 12:43am

Post #17 of 21 (183 views)
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Actually their friendship did not end [In reply to] Can't Post

It did cool off a lot. Tolkien disapproved of Lewis's marriage to Joy Davidson, a divorcee. But though they did not get together as much after that event, they still cared a lot about one another, and Lewis' death devastated Tolkien.

They had always had their differences even during the days of their closest friendship. Tolkien did not like Lewis' writing or style nearly as much as Lewis liked Tolkien's. And they also had differences over religion, since Tolkien was a devout Roman Catholic, while CSL was Anglican. These were things they always knew about one another. So the idea that they had "falling out" that ended their friendship is very much overstated.

They always had a deep regard for one another, even in spite of differences. Colin Diurez' book The Gift of Friendship, a double bio of the two, is very enlightening.


(This post was edited by dreamflower on Jun 20 2013, 12:46am)


Eruonen
Tol Eressea


Jun 20 2013, 3:19am

Post #18 of 21 (145 views)
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Thanks for bringing up a book I was not familiar with, I have added it to my [In reply to] Can't Post

order list!

In regard to the topic, the previous replies have answered regarding JRRT 's dislike of allegory.


noWizardme
Grey Havens


Jun 20 2013, 11:23am

Post #19 of 21 (134 views)
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“He that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom.” [In reply to] Can't Post

It's a real shame - someone else insisting you understand a work their way (e.g. reduce a story to an exercise in analysis) can be such a permanent put-off.

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"nowimë I am in the West, Furincurunir to the Dwarves (or at least, to their best friend) and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "
Or "Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!"


BoromirOfWinterfell
Rohan


Jun 20 2013, 6:12pm

Post #20 of 21 (112 views)
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That's the problem I have with school education. [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
“He that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom.”

Excellent quote. It prevents you from using your own reasoning. A poem may be filled with beauty to you because of its mystery.

"Eala Earendel engla beorhtast
ofer middangeard monnum sended."

"Who put the tribbles in the quadrotriticale!?"


noWizardme
Grey Havens


Jun 20 2013, 7:22pm

Post #21 of 21 (117 views)
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Y'know, I might be one of those people… [In reply to] Can't Post

The difference between allegory & repetition: sounds interesting, could you post more, please?

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"nowimë I am in the West, Furincurunir to the Dwarves (or at least, to their best friend) and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "
Or "Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!"

 
 

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