C.S. Lewis’ Prescient 1937 Review of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien: It “May Well Prove a Classic”

hobbit-cover-largeIn 1937, C.S. Lewis (who would lat­er write The Chron­i­cles of Nar­nia – find it in a free audio for­mat here) pub­lished in the Times Lit­er­ary Sup­ple­ment a review of The Hob­bit by J.R.R. Tolkien. Lewis and Tolkien were no strangers to one anoth­er. They had met back in 1926 at Oxford Uni­ver­si­ty, where they both served on the Eng­lish fac­ul­ty. In the years to come, they formed a close friend­ship and joined the Inklings, an Oxford lit­er­ary group ded­i­cat­ed to fic­tion and fan­ta­sy.

Lewis’ review of The Hob­bit was short, a mere three para­graphs. And it’s hard to say now whether Lewis was giv­ing a kind review to a friend, or mak­ing some pre­scient lit­er­ary obser­va­tions. Or, per­haps, some com­bi­na­tion of the two. The clos­ing lines go like this:

The Hob­bit … will be fun­nier to its youngest read­ers, and only years lat­er, at a tenth or a twen­ti­eth read­ing, will they begin to realise what deft schol­ar­ship and pro­found reflec­tion have gone to make every­thing in it so ripe, so friend­ly, and in its own way so true. Pre­dic­tion is dan­ger­ous: but The Hob­bit may well prove a clas­sic.

The com­plete review has now been repub­lished, and you can read it over at The Paris Review.

via Fla­vor­wire

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Down­load Eight Free Lec­tures on The Hob­bit by “The Tolkien Pro­fes­sor,” Corey Olsen

Lis­ten to J.R.R. Tolkien Read a Lengthy Excerpt from The Hob­bit (1952)

Dis­cov­er J.R.R. Tolkien’s Per­son­al Book Cov­er Designs for The Lord of the Rings Tril­o­gy

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