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Auden and Tolkien

I assume kalimac has already seen this, but others might be interested in Erin Overbey's article in The New Yorker, "Auden and Elvish", about W.H. Auden's friendship with J.R.R. Tolkien, his defense of The Lord of the Rings, and his appearance at a gathering of the Tolkien Society in 1966.

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( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
kalimac
Dec. 26th, 2012 06:30 pm (UTC)
I think you missed the actual link.

Yes, I've seen it, and of course I read the original 1966 article long ago. That article actually caused some friction between Tolkien and Auden, because Tolkien was rather offended at learning that Auden thought his house looked "hideous" - it was an ordinary suburban English bungalow, so wtf? - and took to asking visitors if they thought the house looked all right. But he and Auden did make up later.
randy_byers
Dec. 26th, 2012 06:33 pm (UTC)
Thanks. I inserted the href tag without the URL, but it's fixed now.

Great story about the WTF rift!
kalimac
Dec. 26th, 2012 06:40 pm (UTC)
I should have added, more seriously, that Tolkien quibbled with Auden's description of north as "a sacred direction" for him. Tolkien was inspired by Northern European myth and legend (though he was also more inspired by Mediterranean stuff than was long recognized), yes, but the direction north, no. As Tolkien pointed out, in the Silmarillion, the stronghold of evil is in the frozen north.

But a few quotes the NYer hardly does credit to Auden's deep appreciation, and understanding, of Tolkien. His NYT reviews and an academic journal article on the quest theme are worth reading. The article is most easily found in the anthology Tolkien and the Critics; one of the reviews is linked from the NYer online piece.
randy_byers
Dec. 26th, 2012 06:43 pm (UTC)
I've read the NYT reviews before, but I'll have to look for that article. I'm pretty sure the Magus has a copy of that anthology.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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