Saturday 23 July 2011

Animistic thinking about Ireland among Inklings - Tolkien and 'Warnie' Lewis


Once [Tolkien] spoke to me of Ireland after he had spent part of a summer vacation working there as an examiner:

'It is as if the earth there is cursed. It exudes an evil that is held in check only by Christian practice and the power of prayer.'

[For Tolkien,] Even the soil, the earth, played a part in the cosmic struggle between forces of good and evil.

George Sayer - from Recollections of JRR Tolkien, in Tolkien: a celebration (ed Joseph Pearce), 1999.


Wednesday 11th June 1947:

...I am off on my Irish adventure...

Monday 30th June 1947:

I have been in very deep waters since [June 12th].

It all began with the feng shui of the cottage, which was more and more immediately wrong than that of almost any place I have ever struck in these latitudes, and though I told myself it was all nonsense, great waves of depression began to overwhelm me from the very first: added to which the practical difficulties were almost insuperable - an inefficient oil stove, and water had to be fetched from a farm well over a mile away.

But it was the eerie greyness that killed me, or rather drove me to the drink that did in fact very nearly [kill] me: for the artless Irishman spins out his exiguous supply of gin by mixing it with methylated spirit, and it was to this I turned unwittingly for consolation.

Brothers and Friends: the diaries of Major Warren Hamilton Lewis [C.S Lewis's elder brother, 1982


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