Wednesday, November 15, 2023

"He loved anything that Lewis wrote"

I've read several books by Thomas Howard, Chance or the Dance?, Splendor in the Ordinary, Christ the Tiger, and some of the essays collected in The Night is Far Spent. Today I found an interview with the editor of another collection of Howard essays, Pondering the Permanent Things: Reflections on Faith, Art, and Culture. From that interview:
Tom Howard was in the South. He was enlisted (in the military). He was a chaplain’s assistant. He stayed back in the office while the chaplain was out in the field. Tom would just clean up the office, empty trash cans, and kind of keep the chapel clean. He said he was usually done by about 11 o’clock. The rest of the day he would read books that people had sent him. At some point, someone sent him a copy of The Lord of the Rings—and he loved The Lord of the Rings, and he didn’t know why! For some reason—he doesn’t remember why he did it—he wrote a fan letter to C.S. Lewis and Lewis wrote back. ....

In the essay, he doesn’t remember why [he wrote Lewis rather than Tolkien]. Maybe it was because they were in the same circle or he was associating them because they drank together in the same pub or something like that, but a couple of years later he wound up in Oxford, and he had a friend there who arranged for him to meet with Lewis.

So he followed Lewis’ directions and took a bus and met him at Lewis’ home at the Kilns. They had a nice visit. He didn’t see any of the other people that you associate with C.S. Lewis—his brother Warren or anybody like that. It was just Tom and C.S. Lewis. He said Lewis smoked cigarette after cigarette. He was just like you hear him described. He was a very avuncular, cheerful man. He told stories. Tom Howard didn’t want to press his luck. So he stayed for about 45 minutes and then left, but he had a wonderful visit with Lewis.

He loved the Narnia stories. He loved anything that Lewis wrote. Some people, in fact, compared (them). He’s thought of as an extension of C.S. Lewis. Tom Howard wrote elegantly and insightfully and picked up on a lot of Lewis’ thoughts. He went through great pains to read what C.S. Lewis wrote—whether it was unpublished letters or published letters, any little bit of ephemera, anything he could get his hands on. He adored Lewis.

Again, he loved Tolkien. He felt that a great Christian cosmology was wrapped up in The Lord of the Rings—and, particularly, a Catholic cosmology. He loved the writing, the story, and the vastness of it. It was a big story that pulled you in. It was wholesome, too. He appreciated that. He also tried to find everything he could that Tolkien wrote. He relished it. ....

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are moderated. I will gladly approve any comment that responds directly and politely to what has been posted.