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

By |2020-09-26T13:43:25-05:00September 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 them 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, [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 Mixed Legacy of Christopher Tolkien

By |2020-03-07T11:20:36-06:00March 7th, 2020|Categories: Fiction, Imagination, J.R.R. Tolkien, Joseph Pearce, Literature, Senior Contributors|

Only the works published during J.R.R. Tolkien’s lifetime should be considered canonical, whereas the unfinished works collected, collated, and edited by Christopher Tolkien should be considered extra-canonical. I would even venture to suggest that Christopher Tolkien’s work should be considered as footnotes to his father’s corpus and not an extension of it. In the [...]

Now Residing in the Blessed Realm: Christopher Tolkien

By |2020-02-11T16:45:42-06:00February 11th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Fiction, Imagination, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Senior Contributors, Western Civilization|

After his father’s death, Christopher Tolkien became the literary heir of all things Middle-earth. He quit his prestigious academic professorship at Oxford and dedicated himself fully to his father’s legacy. We are a better people and a better civilization as a result. On Wednesday, January 15, 2020, the holy host of the Valar (all [...]

Vale, Christopher Tolkien: Middle-Earth Is Indebted to You

By |2020-01-29T16:37:58-06:00January 29th, 2020|Categories: Character, Fiction, Imagination, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature|

If J.R.R. Tolkien was a Titan, Christopher was Atlas, with the weight of a cosmology on his back. On January 16, in France, and at the age of 95, Christopher John Reuel Tolkien quietly passed away. The headlines of many obituaries and tributes refer to him as the son of J.R.R. Tolkien, which indeed [...]

Gollum and the Spirit of Christmas

By |2019-12-09T17:50:09-06:00December 14th, 2019|Categories: Books, Christianity, Christmas, Imagination, J.R.R. Tolkien, Joseph Pearce, Literature, Senior Contributors|

When we think of writers associated with Christmas, Dickens would no doubt come to mind, as, perhaps, would Chesterton. It is unlikely, however, that the name of Tolkien would spring to mind. In Tolkien’s works, such as The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion, set in Middle-earth, there is no place [...]

Tolkien & Anglo-Saxon England: Protectors of Christendom

By |2020-02-01T12:32:53-06:00November 10th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Christendom, Christian Humanism, England, History, J.R.R. Tolkien, Myth, Senior Contributors, StAR, Timeless Essays|

J.R.R. Tolkien believed that the Anglo-Saxon world might offer us strength to redeem Christendom. The hero of “The Lord of the Rings,” after all, is an Anglo-Saxon farmer turned citizen-warrior. Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords our readers the opportunity to join Bradley J. Birzer, as he discusses J.R.R. Tolkien’s christological interpretation [...]

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