Reports of Inklings meetings describe powerful minds equaling and countering one another in intellectual confrontation. Tolkien, for example, describes one particular meeting that he calls “a great event.” It took place in November 1944. Williams, Havard, Barfield, and Lewis were there, and “C.S.L. was highly flown, but we were also in good fettle.” Lewis and Barfield had at it, and Tolkien writes, “The result was a most amusing and highly contentious evening, on which (had an outside eavesdropped) he would have thought it a meeting of fell enemies hurling deadly insults before drawing their guns.” Their joy in witty repartee is evident here, too. Tolkien continues, “Warnie was in excellent majoral form. On one occasion when the audience had flatly refused to hear Jack discourse on and define ‘Chance,’ Jack said: Very well, some other time, but if you die tonight you’ll be cut off knowing a great deal less about Chance than you might have.’ Warnie: ‘That only illustrates what I’ve always said: every cloud has a silver lining’” (Letters 103).

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


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