C.S. Lewis Poem Discovered Thanking Friends for Hospitality

Rare C.S. Lewis poem discovered, shedding light on his friendship with Tolkien's associates and his deep knowledge of Old English literature.

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Bijay Laxmi
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C.S. Lewis Poem Discovered Thanking Friends for Hospitality

C.S. Lewis Poem Discovered Thanking Friends for Hospitality

A previously unknown poem by C.S. Lewis has been discovered, shedding light on his friendship with J.R.R. Tolkien's associates Dr. Ida Lilian Gordon and Eric Valentine Gordon in 1935. The 12-line alliterative poem, titled 'Mód Þrýþe Ne Wæg' and written under the playful pen name 'Nat Whilk', features Old English allusions to Beowulf and appears to be a thank-you note to the Gordons for their hospitality.

The poem was written on notepaper from Magdalen College Oxford, where Lewis taught, and reflects his passionate interest in Old English and the Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf. It includes references to Beowulf's evil queen Þrýþ and showcases Lewis's deep knowledge and command of the Old English language and style.

Dr. Ida Lilian Gordon and her husband Eric Valentine Gordon were medieval scholars and good friends with J.R.R. Tolkien. The poem was kept by the Gordons and their daughter until it was acquired by the University of Leeds, where it remained unnoticed until recently discovered by Dr. Andoni Cossio.

Why this matters: The discovery of this previously unknown work by C.S. Lewis is a rare find, as new literary works by the renowned author are difficult to uncover. It provides insight into Lewis's literary circle, his engagement with Old English poetry, and the connections between the fantasy writers and medievalists of the time.

The poem offers a glimpse into the friendships between C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the Gordons. Dr. Cossio described the discovery as a "hidden treasure" that sheds light on these connections and Lewis's literary interests. The use of an adapted Old English meter and allusions to Beowulf highlight Lewis's command of the language and style, further emphasizing his passion for Old English literature.

Key Takeaways

  • Previously unknown C.S. Lewis poem discovered, titled 'Mód Þrýþe Ne Wæg'.
  • Poem written in Old English, references Beowulf, reflects Lewis's interest in Anglo-Saxon.
  • Poem was a thank-you note to medieval scholars Ida and Eric Valentine Gordon.
  • Poem provides insight into Lewis's literary circle and connections with Tolkien.
  • Rare discovery of new literary work by renowned author C.S. Lewis.