The Best Book of 2020

By |2021-01-08T11:29:00-06:00January 8th, 2021|Categories: Books, Bradley J. Birzer, Christianity, Senior Contributors, Thomas More|

We live in a world that desperately needs Thomas More’s wisdom. We need his understanding of God, his understanding of virtue, and his understanding of the complexities of the human person. “The Essential Works of Thomas More” is the best book of 2020 and is the book most needed in 2021. The Essential Works [...]

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas: Belloc & Eliot on Twelfth Night & Epiphany

By |2021-01-05T12:21:37-06:00January 5th, 2021|Categories: Christianity, Christmas, Hilaire Belloc, Joseph Pearce, Literature, Poetry, Senior Contributors, T.S. Eliot|

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas two of my great loves sent to me a couple of great meditations on the mystery of the Nativity. The first and better-known meditation is by T.S. Eliot, whose “Journey of the Magi” places the poet in the entourage of the Three Wise Men as they journey to [...]

Tolkien and Lewis Under the Christmas Tree

By |2020-12-14T10:32:39-06:00December 14th, 2020|Categories: Books, C.S. Lewis, Christian Humanism, Gifts for Imaginative Conservatives, J.R.R. Tolkien, Louis Markos, Senior Contributors|

With a seemingly (and thankfully) endless supply of books about J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis flowing out from every conceivable press, it is easy to overlook some hidden gems. To assist Imaginative Conservative readers with their Christmas book shopping, I have highlighted below some books about Lewis and/or Tolkien that have been published over [...]

A Friend and Faithful Servant of C.S. Lewis: Memories of Walter Hooper

By |2020-12-11T14:28:00-06:00December 14th, 2020|Categories: C.S. Lewis, Catholicism, Christian Humanism, Joseph Pearce, Senior Contributors|

Having passed away recently, Lewis scholar Walter Hooper will be missed, but we can well believe that he is now once more with C.S. Lewis, whom he had served most faithfully for so many years, in a place in which it is never winter but always Christmas. With the passing of Walter Hooper on [...]

Surprised by Jack

By |2020-11-28T21:35:13-06:00November 28th, 2020|Categories: Books, Bradley J. Birzer, C.S. Lewis, Character, Christianity, Literature, Senior Contributors, Timeless Essays|

C.S. Lewis’ writings are endlessly fascinating because the man himself was endlessly fascinating—to himself as well as to others. He saw life as a sort of drama and art, one in which the will shapes what Providence has so generously provided. One can readily and happily delve into C.S. Lewis’s autobiography of 1955, Surprised [...]

Puddleglum, Jeremy Bentham, & the Grand Inquisitor

By |2020-11-28T06:58:11-06:00November 28th, 2020|Categories: C.S. Lewis, Dwight Longenecker, Freedom, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Happiness, Philosophy, Politics, Senior Contributors|

The aim and ambition of Jeremy Bentham was that everyone would be happy. But how is it possible for everyone to be happy? The Grand Inquisitor gives the answer: by yielding their freedom and submitting to their overlords. This is the dysfunctional and distorted psychology behind the entitlement culture and the welfare state. When [...]

C.S. Lewis, Langston Hughes, & the Haunting of America

By |2020-11-23T12:44:43-06:00November 22nd, 2020|Categories: American Republic, C.S. Lewis, Literature, Myth, Poetry|

All nations need reminders that even their best ideals, though worth defending, do not earn them chosen nation status. Reading C.S. Lewis’ “That Hideous Strength” and Langston Hughes’ “Let America Be America Again” in light of each other could rouse those in need of both a restoration of confidence in the goodness of the [...]

Living With C.S. Lewis & His Immense Personality

By |2020-11-09T15:59:32-06:00November 9th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, C.S. Lewis, Christian Humanism, Senior Contributors|

C.S. Lewis possessed an immense personality, the kind of personality that affected not only those around him, but also all those who came after him. Full of charisma and brilliance, he both attracted loyal friends and made bitter enemies wherever he went. Strangely enough, I didn’t come to C.S. Lewis as a person or [...]

The Christian Humanism of J.R.R. Tolkien

By |2020-11-06T21:59:09-06:00November 6th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Christian Humanism, Christianity, J.R.R. Tolkien, Senior Contributors|

For J.R.R. Tolkien, mythology touches the deepest part of our souls, and invites us to explore the beauty of creation and to discover and participate in the sacramental nature of life. The mythology and purpose guiding his works was nothing less than the return to Christendom. J.R.R. Tolkien, I believe, was one of the [...]

Tolkien’s “On Fairy Stories”: The Argument

By |2020-10-30T10:11:20-05:00October 27th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Christian Humanism, Imagination, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Senior Contributors|

J.R.R. Tolkien proclaimed that fairy—like all mythology—is an expression of our deepest longings and fears. Fairy itself, far from being supernatural, is the most natural of worlds, and reminds us of the deepest truths of existence. For J.R.R. Tolkien, Fairy was a world parallel to ours, embodying many of the rules and norms and [...]

Tolkien’s “On Fairy Stories”: The Setting

By |2020-10-23T15:15:52-05:00October 23rd, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Christian Humanism, Imagination, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Senior Contributors|

Coming when it did in J.R.R. Tolkien’s writing career, “On Fairy Stories” reveals more about the mind and soul of the man than any other non-fiction work he produced in his lifetime. Not too long after Tolkien had published The Hobbit—to much critical acclaim—and was just beginning a sequel to it, the Faculty of [...]

Ten Truths of Christian Humanist Theology

By |2020-09-30T15:10:04-05:00October 3rd, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Christian Humanism, Christianity, Senior Contributors, Theology|

1. Theology is often the study of what we do not know. In theology, it is easier to disprove than to prove. Therefore, we begin by studying what we know and what we do not know. Once we have ruled out the incorrect, there is significant room for agreement, disagreement, and exploration within what [...]

Tolkien’s “The Return of the Shadow,” 1937-1939

By |2020-10-02T10:08:43-05:00September 26th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Christian Humanism, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Senior Contributors|

Christopher Tolkien, in “The Return of the Shadow,” breaks down J.R.R. Tolkien’s drafts of the sequel to “The Hobbit” into three phases. In the third phase, the situations around the characters do grow tellingly darker, with drastic implications for the story that could shake the foundations even of the Blessed Realm, the land of [...]

Tolkien Begins the Sequel to “The Hobbit”

By |2020-09-25T12:23:31-05:00September 25th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Christian Humanism, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Senior Contributors|

J.R.R. Tolkien intended the new book, which would later develop into “The Lord of the Rings,” to be a simple sequel to “The Hobbit.” Yet somehow the sequel was growing more adult, and Tolkien admitted it reflected the “darkness of the present days” in the shadow of the Second World War. On September 21, [...]

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