“I went to [Tolkien’s] public lectures. They were absolutely appalling. In those days a lecturer could be paid for his entire course even if he lost his audience, provided he turned up for the first lecture. I think that Tolkien made quite a cynical effort to get rid of us so he could go home and finish writing Lord of the Rings.”

“He gave his lectures in a very, very small room and didn’t address us, his audience, at all. In fact he looked the other way, with his face almost squashed up against the blackboard. He spoke in a mutter. His mind was on finishing Lord of the Rings, and he was really musing to himself about the nature of narrative. But I found this so fascinating that I came back week after week, as did one other person. I’ve always wondered what became of him, because he was obviously equally fascinated. And because we stuck there, Tolkien couldn’t go away and write Lord of the Rings! He would say the most marvelous things about the way you take a very basic plot and twitch it here and twitch it there—and it becomes a completely different plot.”

—-Diana Wynne Jones

#I don’t know if I find this more enchanting for a really interesting discussion on worldbuilding and narrative #or the fact that DIANA WYNNE JONES PREVENTED JRR FROM WORKING ON LOTR A WHOLE SEMESTER BECAUSE SHE MADE HIM DO HIS JOB OH MY GOOOOOOOD THAT #IS #HILARIOUS #I LOVE HER SO MUCH

(via basileus)


also can you imagine 1) studying at Oxford and 2) studying at Oxford during an era when both JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis were lecturers? 

”And my father died after my first term there. I had to stay at home to see to his funeral, and spent the rest of my time at Oxford in nagging anxiety for my sisters, who were not finding my mother easy to live with. However, C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien were both lecturing then, Lewis booming to crowded halls and Tolkien mumbling to me and three others. Looking back, I see both of them had enormous influence on me, but it is hard to say how, except that they must have been equally influential to others too. I later discovered that almost everyone who went on to write children’s books – Penelope Lively, Jill Paton Walsh, to name only two – was at Oxford at the same time as me, but I barely met them and we never at any time discussed fantasy. Oxford was very scornful of fantasy then. Everyone raised eyebrows at Lewis and Tolkien and said hastily, “But they’re excellent scholars as well.“ (source: her autobiography)

About C.A. Jacobs

Just another crazy person, masquerading as a writer.
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