Storm's Journal

Lewis and tolkien on myths

Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, and a friend were discussing the nature of myth
while on a walk in 1931...  

Lewis explained to the other two his belief that though they have 
a certain power, myths are 'lies and therefore worthless, even though 
breathed through silver.' 

'No,' said Tolkien. 'They are not lies.' 

At that moment, Lewis later recalled, there was 'a rush of wind 
which came so suddenly on the still, warm evening and sent so 
many leaves pattering down that we thought it was raining. 
We held our breath.' 

...We have come from God, Tolkien argued, and inevitably the myths
woven by us, though they contain error, reflect a splintered fragment
of the true light, the eternal truth that is with God.

And this is how Tolkien understood his own Middle Earth, 
as 'a splintered fragment of the true light.' 

(Daniel Kennelly, 'Tolkien: Man and Myth' book review) 


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SUBMIT AN ARTICLE posted: March 25, 2004