J.R.R. Tolkien

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 [...]

Pride and the Fall in Tolkien’s Second Age

By |2019-04-16T16:26:36-05:00August 15th, 2018|Categories: Books, Bradley J. Birzer, C.S. Lewis, Christianity, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature|

J.R.R. Tolkien's story of Númenor is the story of Athens, Rome, Great Britain, the United States, and every power that began with the best of intentions and saw itself decline because of envy and pride. It is the story of the Fall in Eden. It is grim, timeless, and true... Unquestionably, Tolkien's mythology was massive [...]

W.H. Auden’s Tolkien

By |2018-08-02T22:25:03-05:00August 2nd, 2018|Categories: Books, Fiction, J.R.R. Tolkien, Poetry|

W.H. Auden realized that J.R.R. Tolkien’s greatness was not simply the result of a capacity for the fantastic, but rather that it relied just as much on his scholarly acumen as on his imagination… W.H. Auden was a great admirer of the fantasy writer J.R.R. Tolkien. Having heard Tolkien’s lectures while an undergraduate at [...]

Tolkien at Exeter College

By |2019-04-18T12:41:41-05:00July 2nd, 2018|Categories: Books, Bradley J. Birzer, Catholicism, Christian Humanism, Education, J.R.R. Tolkien, World War I|

Though J.R.R. Tolkien arrived at Exeter College as a Classics (Great Books) scholar, he found his real passion resided in Germanic and Northern language and myth… Tolkien at Exeter College: How An Oxford Undergraduate Created Middle-earth by John Garth (66 pages, Exeter College, 2015) Never judge a book by its size. This little book is [...]

In Defense of Those Who Protect Us

By |2019-05-21T14:43:13-05:00May 27th, 2018|Categories: Conservatism, J.R.R. Tolkien, Louis Markos, Memorial Day, Military, Timeless Essays, Veterans Day, Virtue, War|

Yes, we must hold our police and our military accountable, but we must also respect the difficulty and danger of their jobs and stop willfully blinding ourselves to the unpleasant realities around us… Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords our readers the opportunity to join Louis Markos as he uses The Lord of [...]

Grace in the Unredeemed Land of Middle-Earth

By |2018-12-21T14:42:16-05:00May 17th, 2018|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Catholicism, Christianity, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature|

In almost every way, J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Passage of the Marshes” presents a deeply frightening and suffocating experience for the reader, as the two Hobbits and the decrepit Gollum move across a landscape that has become devoid of grace… While nearly every decent human being under the age of sixty-five loves and appreciates J.R.R. [...]