Poets are commonly spoken of as psychologically unreliable; and generally there is a vague association between wreathing laurels in your hair and sticking straws in it. Facts and history utterly contradict this view. Most of the very great poets have been not only sane, but extremely business-like; and if Shakespeare ever really held horses, it was because he was much the safest man to hold them. Imagination does not breed insanity. Exactly what does breed insanity is reason. Poets do not go mad; but chess-players do.
—Chesterton, The Maniac (1908).
Admittedly, as this is one of Chesterton’s more famous quotes, I am not treading any new ground here. Nevertheless, it stands as one of my favorites. Tesla went mad, and Nietzche, and Bobby Fischer. C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien did not. Not that they weren’t great intellectuals in their own right – just artistic ones, Tolkien even more so than Lewis. That’s why, despite some utterly brilliant philosophy found in some of his letters, Tolkien has no non-fiction books to his credit, unlike Lewis. It is worth noting, however, that no matter how great and intelligent Lewis’s fiction was it still doesn’t hold a candle to Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings”.