[Lewis and Tolkien] met at a faculty meeting on 11 May 1926. Lewis’s first impression of Tolkien was not favorable. In his diary he describes Tolkien as “a smooth, pale, fluent little chap.” Lewis adds, “No harm in him: he only needs a smack or so” (All My Road 393). […]

Tuesday meetings at the Eagle and Child developed a reputation for being quite boisterous, partly as a result of Lewis’s exuberance, partly the equally dynamic presence of men like Dyson, Coghill, and Williams. James Dundas-Grant, one of the lesser-known members of the Inklings, emphasizes the drama and the energy: “We sat in a small back room with a fine coal fire in winter. Back and forth the conversation would flow. Latin tags flying around. Homer quoted in the original to make a point.” Even Professor Tolkien, often pictured as reserved and reflective, joined in the fray by “jumping up and down, declaiming in Anglo-Saxon” (371). Lewis wondered what other people made of it all, suggesting, “The fun is often so fast and furious that the company probably thinks we’re talking bawdy when in fact we’re v. likely talking Theology” (They Stand 501).

Diana Pavlac Gyler, The Company They Keep: C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien as Writers in Community (2008)


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