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Don't Eat With Your Mouth Full

Where can we live but days?

steepholm steepholm
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A Key to All Mythologies
"A myth points, for each reader, to the realm he lives in most. It is a master key; use it on what door you like." (C. S. Lewis)

I buried this quotation deep in the notes of Four British Fantasists, but coming across it again now I was struck again by its lapidary wisdom. One of my favourite sayings of Lewis, and not well known.

Which work was that in?

It's in his 1955 (I think!) review of LOTR, published in Time and Tide.

Even more useful is the context: he's using it to explain why The Lord of the Rings is not an allegory. The fallacy he's addressing is one of putting the key in a lock of your choice and then declaring that the key was specifically made to fit that one lock and that only. This fallacy lives robustly in Tolkien criticism.

Not just Tolkien criticism! But yes, that's the context.