Marlowe's Shade

Sunday, October 10, 2004

The Light of Men

I'm reading Splintered Light by Verlyn Flieger, a study on Tolkien's use of language. I was advised by a local sage to read Silmarillion first and I'm glad I did. As a philologist, he understood the words he wrote very intimately, but these comments from two of his colleagues give us an idea of how deep his studies went:

"C.S. Lewis's comment that Tolkien `had been inside language' was thus no figure of speech, but the literal truth. He had been inside the word, had experienced its power and seen with its perception. Others who knew Tolkien came to much the same conclusion. Simonne d'Ardenne, one of Tolkien's Oxford students and herself a philologist, found another way to put it...Mlle. d'Ardenne recalled saying to him once, apropos his work: `You broke the veil, didn't you, and passed through?' and she adds that he `readily admitted' having done so."
papijoe 8:55 PM