A Prescient Understatement

Friend and fellow member of “Tea Club and Barrovian Society” (or “TCBS”), G.B. Smith, writing to Tolkien in 1915: “It struck me last night that you might write a fearfully good romantic drama, with as much of the ‘supernatural’ as you cared to introduce. Have you ever thought of it?” (quoted in John Garth, Tolkien and the Great War, 105)

Some influences in Tolkien’s earlier years

*** Bru, Jose Manuel Ferrandez. “ ‘Wingless fluttering’: Some Personal Connections in Tolkien’s Formative Years.” Tolkien Studies 8 (2011). A brief examination of some influences, both individual and institutional, and all Catholic, on the young Tolkien, arguing that of all the relevant cultural tensions at play in Tolkien’s day, it was religion which “became the strongest component of his ideological positioning.” Contradicts the disparagement of Carpenter and others of Tolkien’s guardian Fr. Francis Morgan’s intellectual abilities, giving a short intellectual biography of the latter’s family. Perhaps of greatest value is Bru’s indication of Tolkien’s sympathies for the reforms of Pope Pius X, developed at greater length in A.R. Bossert’s Mythlore article, “ ‘Surely You Don’t Disbelieve’: Tolkien and Pius X: Anti-Modernism in Middle-earth” (vol. 25, no. 1/2: 53-76). Overall, provides a few new pertinent but perhaps not hugely significant biographical details into some of Tolkien’s formative influences.