Christ Figures in “The Lord of the Rings”

By |2021-02-08T11:02:13-06:00February 8th, 2021|Categories: Catholicism, Christianity, J.R.R. Tolkien, Joseph Pearce, Senior Contributors|

In “The Lord of the Rings,” the One Ring and the One Sin are symbolic similitudes. As the One Ring is “unmade” on Mount Doom, so the One Sin is “unmade” on the hill of Golgotha, the place of the skull. Therefore, if the Ring is synonymous with sin in general and Original Sin in [...]

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 the [...]

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 most [...]

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 ideas [...]

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 Arts [...]

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 the [...]

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, 1937, [...]

Going to Purgatory With J.R.R. Tolkien

By |2020-09-03T15:27:03-05:00September 6th, 2020|Categories: Art, Christian Humanism, Christianity, Fiction, Imagination, J.R.R. Tolkien, Joseph Pearce, Literature, Senior Contributors|

In his short story, “Leaf by Niggle,” J.R.R. Tolkien provides a much more colourful and comforting purgatorial vision than that afforded by Dante. Niggle, a personification of the Artist, recognizes the landscape as the perfect, living form of which his painting was but a shadow or a foreshadowing. J.R.R. Tolkien expressed a dislike for formal [...]

Are We Becoming a Nation of Gollums?

By |2020-08-03T16:26:42-05:00August 3rd, 2020|Categories: Christian Humanism, Christianity, Evil, J.R.R. Tolkien, Joseph Pearce, Modernity, Senior Contributors|

As we watch our culture succumb to the power of Pride, we are witnessing the “gollumizing” of our brothers and sisters, as they shrivel into pathetic wrecks of the people they are meant to be. The only escape from this hell is rooted in heavenly love. This week, I met a good friend of mine [...]

Stand, Men of the West!

By |2020-06-15T15:35:37-05:00June 15th, 2020|Categories: Christianity, Conservatism, J.R.R. Tolkien, Stephen M. Klugewicz, Western Civilization|

Western Civilization is undeniably in decline and indeed its very existence is in doubt. Yet these thoughts ought not to drag conservatives down into a morass of defeatism. Though the hour is late, a remnant must run to the barricades and shield itself and whatever is left of Western Civilization from the barbarians at the [...]

In Defense of Those Who Protect Us

By |2020-06-08T00:31:36-05:00June 8th, 2020|Categories: Conservatism, J.R.R. Tolkien, Louis Markos, Memorial Day, Military, Timeless Essays, Veterans Day, Virtue, War|

We must respect the difficulty and danger of the jobs of those who protect us and stop willfully blinding ourselves to the unpleasant realities around us. Let us defend, support, and celebrate our police and our military; without them, our world would be a far more perilous place. This semester, I am happily exercising one [...]

Tolkien: Entering Faerie

By |2020-04-24T15:23:57-05:00April 20th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Fiction, Imagination, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Myth, Senior Contributors|

What, exactly, is Faerie? While not quite the realm of the supernatural, it is the realm of grace (and its enemies), and it can be, even in its greatest beauty, dangerous in the extreme. It is also, by its very nature, sacramental, tangible, and incarnational. On March 8, 1939, just five months shy of the [...]

Tolkien’s “The Lost Road”: Brilliant But Unfinished

By |2020-04-18T18:37:55-05:00April 18th, 2020|Categories: Books, Bradley J. Birzer, Fiction, Imagination, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Senior Contributors|

An endearing story about fathers and sons—and almost certainly an autobiographical understanding of J.R.R. Tolkien himself and his own, mostly imagined father, as well as Tolkien and his son Christopher—”The Lost Road” begins with a son, Alboin, asking his father, Oswin, about the origin of his name. Though Tolkien had already written and published The [...]

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