J.R.R. Tolkien

Tolkien’s “The Children of Húrin”

By |2019-08-23T11:55:02-05:00August 22nd, 2019|Categories: Books, Bradley J. Birzer, Fiction, Imagination, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Senior Contributors, Tolkien Series|

How does one account for J.R.R. Tolkien’s seeming ability to live inside of mythology? He read it, he translated it, and he absorbed it. After all these grand things, he rewrote it. Yet, no matter how deeply he delved into the profound and pervasive paganisms of pre-Christian cultures, he never lost his ability to [...]

J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Beren and Lúthien”

By |2019-08-02T23:19:30-05:00August 2nd, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Imagination, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Senior Contributors, Tolkien Series|

J.R.R. Tolkien's story of Beren and Lúthien remains one of the most beautiful parts of Tolkien’s entire mythology. It matters profoundly in "The Lord of the Rings" and indeed also mattered profoundly in Tolkien’s own life. “The chief of the stories of The Silmarillion, and the one most fully treated is the Story of Beren [...]

The Batman and Tolkien’s Batman

By |2019-08-01T23:45:27-05:00August 1st, 2019|Categories: Christian Humanism, Dwight Longenecker, Fiction, Heroism, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Senior Contributors, Superheroes|

While we continue to marvel at the steady stream of superheroes being pumped out in comics and movies, I am more interested in ordinary heroes. The ordinary hero is the man or woman behind the scenes. They are the ones who play the steady, supporting role. Natural second fiddles, they are the loyal retainers [...]

Was Owen Barfield an Inkling?

By |2019-07-25T22:12:31-05:00July 25th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, C.S. Lewis, Christian Humanism, Friendship, Inklings, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Senior Contributors|

Any right-thinking individual, then or now, would want to have Owen Barfield as a vital and central member of the Inklings. Yet placing Barfield within the Inklings is incredibly difficult, given that he attended fewer than ten percent of the total meetings, and could not name the beginning or the end of the group. [...]

World War I and the Inklings

By |2019-07-18T21:38:17-05:00July 18th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, C.S. Lewis, Christian Humanism, Inklings, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Senior Contributors, War, World War I|

The Great War destroyed much the Inklings had held true, personally and culturally. Each lost friends, and each felt the guilt that any survivor of a war feels. Many of them refused to talk about their own experiences, for good or ill. J.R.R. Tolkien, perhaps, provides the best example. Though not the best-known Inkling, [...]

Friendship Among the Inklings

By |2019-07-05T19:02:56-05:00July 5th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, C.S. Lewis, Christian Humanism, Friendship, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Senior Contributors|

J.R.R. Tolkien not only held onto friendship for dear life, but he also incorporated it into every aspect of his literary mythology. And for the Inklings, friendship had a mystical element. “Is any pleasure on earth as great as a circle of Christian friends by a fire?” C.S. Lewis once famously asked. Surely not, [...]

The Immortal Four: Tolkien and the Barrovian Society

By |2019-05-28T13:45:43-05:00May 27th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, History, J.R.R. Tolkien, Senior Contributors, Tolkien Series|

During summers away from school, J.R.R. Tolkien led a debating society called the TCBS, or “Tea Club, Barrovian Society.” When the horrors of the First World War began, Tolkien considered the mission of the group a holy, prophetic, and, perhaps, even messianic one. He was sure that their fellowship—”The Immortal Four”—would survive even the [...]

Living With Tolkien

By |2019-05-23T22:08:33-05:00May 23rd, 2019|Categories: Books, Bradley J. Birzer, Character, Imagination, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Senior Contributors, Tolkien Series|

J.R.R. Tolkien connected me to a world beyond anything I had yet experienced in rather idyllic Kansas. I so desperately wanted to escape into his mountain scene, explore every nook and cranny of that invented world, and meet a God who sang the universe into existence. Though I have read The Hobbit, The Lord [...]

How I Was Wrong About the Movie “Tolkien”

By |2019-05-18T22:09:39-05:00May 18th, 2019|Categories: Culture, Film, J.R.R. Tolkien, Joseph Pearce, Literature|

There is no doubt that “Tolkien” is a good film with an adroitly crafted storyline, bereft, thankfully, of the poisonous wormtongued agenda that I feared it would have. I have a confession to make. Indeed, I need to make an apology. A few weeks ago, I wrote an essay entitled “Wormtongue’s Revenge”, in which [...]

Imagination and Conservatism

By |2019-07-03T14:24:21-05:00August 26th, 2018|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, Education, Great Books, Imagination, J.R.R. Tolkien, The Imaginative Conservative|

Our world drowns in information, facts, bites, noise, opinions, and other particulars. Yet, even the best of our students have the most difficult time connecting one thing to another. It is myth that allows us to transcend the immediate and the ephemeral... About ten years ago, I proposed a course of study for first-year college [...]