Wednesday, September 23, 2009

At the Wade

So great a mountain of treasure/manuscripts to consult. So small a hobbit/researcher. Like Bilbo, upon arrival you soon realize that it might take you a hundred years to read it all.

Today marked my second day at the Wade, which means that this research trip is now halfway over. And I'm far from halfway done.

Yesterday I spent closely scrutinizing the manuscript of THE DARK TOWER (that is, the photocopy of the sole manuscript, the original being in the Bodleian, where I consulted it in 1992).

Today I skimmed through Warnie Lewis's diaries for 1962-1966, taking copious notes of interesting bits left out of the excellent Kilby-Mead edition of them, BROTHERS & FRIENDS.

If I'm to finish my work on THE DARK TOWER, I'll have to devote both of the remaining days to it. And if I'm to finish the final years of The Major's diaries, that'll take most of the remaining time too.

Decisions, decisions, and no bad choices . . .

Otherwise, today I was delighted to get to see my friends Doug Anderson, who drove over from Michigan, and Richard West, who came down from Madison.* I hadn't known that Charles Huttar, who edited the first book an essay of mine was published in (THE RHETORIC OF VISION, to which my contribution was a piece on Charles Williams' only prose play) was also visiting the Wade today. I hadn't seen him in years, and don't think we've ever had an extended conversation before, so it was nice to have a chance to visit with him a bit (the four of us heading over to the student union together for lunch).

Yesterday's HOBBIT DAY celebration was delightful. I turned out to be the guest of honor, and did a little presentation based on identifying who Tolkien gave his twelve author's copies of THE HOBBIT to back in September 1937. Others read out favorite passages from Tolkien's works, and Laura the organizer played a wide variety of Tolkien-inspired music (mostly performances of Tolkien's hobbit-poems). One of those enjoyable gatherings of like-minded people where A Good Time Was Had By All.

And tomorrow morning, at 8.30 am, I'm to be interviewed on the local campus radio, WETN.**

After which it's on to the Wade for another day's research.

--John R.

*We even got to visit the Theosophical Society's wonderful library, which I'd known about but not seen before.



David Bratman said...

If you're looking for Warnie's unpublished comments on the Inklings, I have them transcribed here.

John D. Rateliff said...

Hi David
I found the entry for Friday July 22nd, 1966 an interesting addition to the published material.
--John R.

David Bratman said...

Yes it is, and it fits in well with a number of other entries on the same topics.