J. R. R. Tolkien

1892 (Bloemfontein, Orange Free State, now South Africa) – 1973 (Bournemouth, England)

Lewis was Tolkien’s closest and longest-lasting friend, though for complex reasons the friendship cooled in later years. Auden was an early supporter of Tolkien’s writing, a regular correspondent and good friend. Avedon, who’d never met Tolkien, knocked on his door to give him a birthday cake. When Clarke invited Lewis to meet in an Oxford pub to explore their opposing standpoints on life and technology, Lewis took Tolkien along as his ‘second’ (as Cleaver was for Clarke). It seems hard to imagine people more poles apart; they duly failed to appreciate each other’s view of the world, and decided to get drunk instead.

J. R. R. Tolkien knew…