February 10, 2009


Category: Literature :: Permalink

In his brief review of J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, published in The Times Literary Supplement (Oct. 2, 1937), C. S. Lewis writes:

To define the world of The Hobbit is, of course, impossible, because it is new.  You cannot anticipate it before you go there, as you cannot forget it once you have gone.  The author’s admirable illustrations and maps of Mirkwood and Goblingate and Esgaroth give one an inkling — and so do the names of the dwarf and dragon that catch our eyes as we first ruffle the pages.  —  C. S. Lewis, “The Hobbit,” Of This and Other Worlds, p. 110.

One word jumped out at me in those sentences.  Given that Lewis and Tolkien were both members of The Inklings, where Tolkien also read aloud from his writings, is it possible that Lewis deliberately included the word “inkling” in his review as a sort of inside joke, an allusion to the group, a wink in their direction?

Posted by John Barach @ 4:23 pm | Discuss (0)

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