I was already aware of the passing reference in a 1966 letter [LETTERS ON LITERATURE AND POLITICS, 1912-1972, p.660] where he notes his daughter's fondness for THE HOBBIT ("[she] read it or had it read to her innumerable times")* and concedes it must be a pretty good children's book, though noting he'd never read it himself (apparently he did not see reading aloud to the young daughter as one of his parenting duties).
Today I found a few new ones, all minor and all dating from the 1960s, but one came in such a strange context, and with odd connotations, that it floored me. Musing in old age (1967-68) on how much fuss sex has caused, good and bad, he suddenly veers (as Thorne Smith's Mr. Owen wd put it) into the following remarkable observation/assertion:
"Yet homosexuals don't seem to
have flowered and borne fruit,
don't seem to have fully matured:
Auden with his appetite for Tolkien."
(Edmund Wilson, THE SIXTIES, p. 642)
[posthumously published, 1993]
So, when in his famous Tolkien-bashing review back in 1956, when he concluded that "certain people, in England at least, have a lifelong appetite for juvenile trash", was this code for homosexuals, conceived of like Waugh's Sebastian Flyte carrying his teddy bear around Oxford? I don't like to think it, but that seems to be the implication here.** By that interpretation, he approves of writers who by contrast include plenty of old-fashioned philandering, like JURGEN or (I'm told) many of the characters in MEMOIRS OF HECATE COUNTY, uncensored tales about traditionally male seducers of a long string of all-too-willing maidens, (other people's) wives, &c.
In any case, V. odd.
*this wd be the same little girl who at age 7 loved THE LORD OF THE RINGS.
**in any case, he's quite wrong: LotR has never been a book adopted by and championed by the gay community, so far as I can tell. There have been one or two gay Tolkien scholars over the years, but that's far fewer than we might reasonably expect.