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Tolkien's Catholic Imagination
Inside Catholic ^ | July 1, 2010 | Jason Boffetti

Posted on 07/02/2010 10:30:13 AM PDT by NYer

Even among fantasy devotees who recognize Tolkien as the father of the modern genre, few realize that Tolkien insisted that The Lord of the Rings is "a fundamentally religious and Catholic work." This probably comes as a surprise to most Catholics as well.
 
Readers of The Lord of the Rings are unlikely to find a "Catholic Middle-earth" by looking for overt references to the Christian gospel or hidden Catholic symbolism -- Tolkien rejected this type of analysis -- however they will find it by looking at Tolkien's motivations as a writer.
 
 
Hobbies of an Oxford Don
 
To the outside world, Tolkien was the picture of the obscure Oxford don: bright, jovial, a bit on the chubby side, a fastidious dresser who alternated between sweaters and waistcoats beneath his Oxford tweed jackets. Although he was personable enough, students and other trespassers claimed they could barely understand a word he spoke because he mumbled everything through his omnipresent pipe. In many ways, he was the very picture of the hobbits he wrote about, who preferred the comfort of home to grand adventures.
 
Like many Oxford dons, he preferred a quiet academic life enriched by a peculiar hobby. Since his boyhood, Tolkien loved inventing imaginary languages and stories to go along with them. His penchant for language and myth drew Tolkien into an academic career. He became a professor of English literature at the University of Leeds and later at Oxford. But even as a full professor, he always found time to work on his "Elfin tongues."
 
The history of Middle-earth emerged from his fertile imagination as he created these fictitious languages. Throughout his life, Tolkien wrote, rewrote, and refined pivotal episodes of that history but was never fully satisfied with them. The distractions of life and the magnitude of the work kept him from completing his vision. These scattered writings -- posthumously published by his son, Christopher, as The Silmarillion -- form the narrative background of Middle-earth. Among the subplots is the saga of the One Ring -- a ring that gives its possessor power to command Middle-earth's darkest minions. The story of its creation and eventual destruction forms the basis for what are now regarded as his greatest works: The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.
 
When the first two volumes of The Lord of the Rings were released in 1954, 17 years after the great success of The Hobbit, Tolkien had been a professor at Oxford for 30 years and was just four years away from retirement. The renown that had previously eluded him hit like a firestorm in the 1960s, when his books were widely regarded as masterpieces, inspiring a new genre of literature: fantasy fiction. But popular success and the recognition of his peers were not the driving forces of his work. The driving force was always his Catholic faith.
 
 
A Mother's Faith
 
Humphrey Carpenter, Tolkien's authorized biographer, characterizes Tolkien's devotion to the Catholic faith as "total." Friends knew him as a committed Catholic who was both openly apostolic (he was instrumental in the conversion of C. S. Lewis to Christianity) and privately pious.
 
Throughout his life, Tolkien found the Eucharist an incomparable solace during the bouts of melancholy and despair he sometimes suffered. The special consolations he received at communion were especially important in the disorienting period when Vatican II was first implemented. He frequently went to confession, though sometimes his troubled self-reflection seemed to approach scrupulosity. When he could not bring himself to confess his sins, he would be racked by spiritual anxiety -- devastated because he could not receive the Eucharist.
 
No one was more influential in the development of both his faith and intellect than his mother, Mabel. Tolkien maintained that everything he knew, he learned from his Catholic faith, and that he owed this faith to his mother, who, according to Tolkien, "clung to her conversion and died young, largely through the hardships of poverty resulting from it."
 
Mabel literally worked herself to death providing for her family after her husband died in South Africa from rheumatic fever when Tolkien was just four. She raised her two sons alone in a suburb of Birmingham, England. During these hardscrabble years, Mabel made two decisions that would shape the rest of the young Tolkien's life: She raised her sons in the Catholic faith and made sure they had enough education to pursue university careers.
 
The first task was accomplished with the help of the priests at the Birmingham Oratory. Founded by John Henry Newman in 1859, the oratory had made the traditionally Presbyterian city of Birmingham into a center of Catholic resurgence in late 19th-century England. Mabel had grown up as a Unitarian and spent several years in the Anglican Church. After years of searching for the truth, she was received into the Catholic Church along with her boys at St. Anne's Church in 1900.
 
Without a father's income, however, the task of educating her sons would take some doing because the best schools charged tuition. Also, her decision to become Catholic estranged her from most of her family, who withdrew their financial support. So Mabel did what any resourceful woman with a fine middle-class education would do: She home-schooled her sons until they could pass the entrance exams and receive scholarships at a good private school.
 
Under Mabel's instruction, Tolkien was reading by the age of four and learning Latin, French, and German by the age of seven. He took to languages with such precocious zeal that he was eventually accepted at one of the best private schools in England on scholarship. In 1909, Tolkien's academic career was secured when he was accepted to Exeter College at Oxford.
 
Unfortunately, Mabel did not live to see the fruits of her labor. In 1904, when Tolkien was just twelve, she died from diabetes, a disease that was then untreatable. Before she died, however, she ensured that her sons would continue to be raised Catholic by asking an Oratorian friend, Rev. Francis Morgan, to become their legal guardian -- and by making her Protestant relatives promise they would not attempt to convert the boys.
 
Tolkien's faith alone would have to sustain him in her absence. Until the two boys reached their majority, Father Morgan provided for them materially out of his personal resources. These were lean and hungry years for the brothers, but they always held a deep affection for the stern but sensitive Father Morgan. While they were in his care, they never lacked for spiritual or intellectual support.
 
Father Morgan kept close tabs on his charges, who lived in a boarding house not far from the oratory. Each morning the boys assisted him at Mass and ate breakfast with him in the refectory.
 
Tolkien fell in love with a close friend, Edith Bratt, when he was just 16. Father Morgan discovered their clandestine love affair when he noticed Tolkien's grades were slipping. Edith was three years older than Tolkien and a Protestant, so Father Morgan discouraged the relationship; eight years later, he would preside at their marriage.
 
Because of their different religious backgrounds, the marriage might have been a tragic disappointment, but the Tolkiens turned it into an occasion for grace. Although Edith had agreed to convert to Catholicism as a condition for marriage, she did so grudgingly. Over the years her resentment at having to go to confession grew steadily stronger -- until finally she stopped attending Mass altogether and expressed disapproval when Tolkien took their children with him to church.
 
Since their religious differences proved irreconcilable, the Tolkiens agreed that Edith should begin attending Anglican services again. As a result, her hostility toward the faith of her children and husband disappeared. Despite their difficulties, their mutual devotion to family held their marriage together for 55 years, and they were both delighted when their first son, John, became a Catholic priest.
 
 
Eucatastrophe and Mythopoeics
 
Of all his relationships, Tolkien's friendship with C. S. Lewis was the most significant to his intellectual growth. These two men sharpened each other's keen intellects during long walks in the English countryside. The fruits of this lifelong friendship are impossible to measure. Through convivial conversation, Tolkien discovered how he could integrate his Catholic faith with his literary vocation.
 
When Tolkien and Lewis first met as fresh young dons at Oxford in 1926, they were brought together by a shared love of Norse mythology. They gathered friends around the fire to read epic Norse poetry at their Coalbiter's Club and later started an ad hoc literary society called the Inklings. The meetings of this small group of friends would inspire both Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia and Tolkien's Hobbit and Lord of the Rings.
 
It was their discussions about the relationship between literature and religion, however, that cemented Tolkien's friendship with Lewis, a friendship that was at the center of Lewis's conversion from agnosticism. Tolkien brought Lewis around to philosophical theism through patient persistence. His subsequent conversion to Christianity hinged on an argument Tolkien advanced that had special appeal to the myth-minded Lewis. That argument also reveals something important about Tolkien's understanding of his vocation as an artist.
 
Tolkien noticed that it was common to all mankind throughout history to create mythologies in order to convey its most central beliefs. It is only reasonable to assume, he argued, that if there was a God, he would convey his revelation in the form of a myth, albeit a myth that was true. Christianity was the most likely candidate for the "perfect myth," since it shared all the great common elements of the best mythologies.
 
The gospel account was the "eucatastrophe," as Tolkien and Lewis came to call it, the happiest of all tragedies, because it satisfies the human heart's deepest yearnings, including the desire for an epic mythology. But this myth had the added advantage of being historical fact, interpreted through a literary text and poetic tradition.
This insight unfolded for both Tolkien and Lewis an entire literary philosophy of mythopoeics (mythmaking), inspiring them to create new mythologies for our time. They would spend the rest of their lives arguing privately about how such an understanding of myth, religion, and literature could be applied to the art of writing.
 
For these two frustrated poets earning a living as Oxford dons, there was one obvious consequence of their theory of mythopoeics: They had to start writing popular fiction. If God used narrative to communicate his revelation to man, and man is called to bear God's image on earth, then one of the most noble vocations is to create new "secondary worlds" in narrative.
 
 
A Mythology for England
 
Although The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia represent the flowering of that agreement about mythopoeics, Tolkien and Lewis disagreed about their religious purposes, which explains why the literary styles they used to create Narnia and Middle-earth are so different.
 
Lewis, the evangelical Anglican, hoped his stories would bring the reader closer to the truth of the Christian gospel. As a result, The Chronicles of Narnia bristles with obvious Christian symbolism, allegory, and moments of overt moral and religious instruction. In short, Lewis wanted his writing to be evangelistic.
 
For the Catholic Tolkien, however, it was more important that Middle-earth was successful as "sub-creation." Using his vast literary, linguistic, and historical talents, Tolkien created Middle-earth as an act of divine praise. The more convincing Middle-earth was as a real place, the purer that praise would be, because it would more closely approach God's own act of creation.
 
Unlike Lewis, Tolkien was unwilling to direct his fictive world according to any overt pedagogical design. He believed that the moment readers are made aware of any connections between our world and the "secondary world" of fiction, the literary spell is broken; readers reemerge from the imaginary world and realize that it is "just a story." Tolkien wanted them to believe that Middle-earth really exists and is not merely a tool for evangelism.
 
Few readers of The Lord of the Rings know that Tolkien hoped Middle-earth would become England's native mythology. He thought that the Arthurian legends were weak compared with the Homeric epics and Norse legends. Middle-earth, with its inspirational heroics and warnings about the hazards of the will to power, was created to preserve a uniquely English cultural heritage from modernity's infectious errors.
 
With this in mind, we can understand why Middle-earth seems to embrace magic and soft paganism. The historical framework for Tolkien's imagination was England's pre-Christian past -- the scattered and disconnected Norse and Anglo-Saxon legends, with their tales of heroic valor and pagan mysticism. Tolkien purposely set Middle-earth before the advent of Christianity because he feared that it might otherwise lapse into a kind of enervated allegory.
 
 
Mining the Moral Geology
 
Despite this aversion to overt religiosity in his stories, Tolkien always affirmed that his work taught good morals and encouraged his readers to turn to the Catholic faith. He simply refused to acknowledge that this should be the primary purpose of a mythmaker. Instead, Tolkien insisted that all successful "sub-creation" necessarily conveys moral truth, because the only good stories are those that accurately reflect the metaphysical world we live in and the moral choices we face.
 
So while Tolkien did not intend to preach Catholic moral theology, the moral tectonics of Middle-earth are distinctly Catholic. The evidence for Tolkien's astonishing theological consistency and thoughtfulness can be found simply by reading at random from his published letters. There Tolkien admits that in creating Middle-earth he carefully constructed a world with the same moral contours as our world, a world created by a god with the same nature as our Creator.
 
For example, Tolkien carefully avoids painting the struggle between the Free Peoples of Middle-earth and the minions of the arch-villain Sauron as strictly a battle of "good versus evil." Tolkien's approach is thoroughly Augustinian: The characters of Middle-earth are distinguished above all by what they love, not where they live. In the fortress-cities of the Free Peoples, Minas Tirith and Edoras, one finds both the noble and the corrupt. Every character can be ruined by pride, and even the most wicked have the capacity for redemption.
 
Tolkien describes this tension most acutely in the character of Gollum, an obsequious and malevolent seeker of the One Ring, who is torn between a lust to possess the ring and his loyalty to the hobbits. Tolkien carefully portrays Gollum as both a treacherous murderer and a sympathetic victim of his own savagely bent will. Even Sauron, Middle-earth's Satan, was once a powerful angel-guardian before being corrupted by his evil desires.
 
Tolkien's heroes have their faults as well, and we witness their moral tests. The wizard Gandalf and the great Southern prince, Boromir, are sorely tempted by the promise of glory through the power of the One Ring. And the hobbits must struggle with their desire to lay aside suffering and return to the comforts of their homeland, the Shire, rather than deliver the ring to its destruction in the Crack of Mount Doom.
 
In line with St. Thomas Aquinas's teaching in his Summa Contra Gentiles, Tolkien never falls into the trap of describing a character or object as inherently good or evil. Evil, after all, is an absence -- the absence of good -- and therefore cannot be embodied by a person or thing.
 
Even the One Ring, forged by the magical art of Sauron, is never actually characterized as evil in itself. Rather, its power to command the Ringwraiths and the invisibility it confers are regarded as temptations that make the ring too dangerous for it to be used appropriately. The hobbits resist its strongest temptation to mortal sin only because they seem to lack any capacity for vainglory, but they are eventually worn down, physically and spiritually, by the venial sins it inspires.
 
Throughout the novels, Middle-earth's ethics and metaphysics are consistent with the moral world we know: Corruption of the will, not magical power or fate, lies at the heart of evil acts. Magical objects -- like technology in our own world -- are good insofar as they are used for good ends. A willingness to share in suffering is a necessary part of taking up our moral duties.
 
But does the appearance of Catholic morality make Middle-earth Catholic or merely moralistic? For the distinctly Catholic components, we have to look slightly deeper.
 
 
Catholic 'Accidents'
 
Tolkien rejected attempts to find Catholic symbolism in his work because he detested "allegory in all its manifestations." Indeed, he frequently chided Lewis for trying to dress Christ up in the lion-suit of Aslan in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. For Tolkien, to look for such correspondences is to miss the point of Middle-earth, which is meant to be a real place and not just some amalgam of historical and religious debris.
 
Still, Tolkien acknowledged that his Catholic sensibilities unconsciously inspired characters and objects in his imaginative world. In a 1952 letter to Rev. Robert Murray (grandson of the founder of the Oxford English Dictionary and a family friend), he readily admitted that the Virgin Mary forms the basis for all of his "small perception of beauty both in majesty and simplicity." It is not surprising, he admits, that the character of Galadriel -- a created being endowed with radiant beauty, impeccable virtue, and powers of healing -- resonates with the character of our Blessed Mother.
 
Nor could Tolkien deny that the Holy Eucharist appears in The Lord of the Rings as the waybread (lembas), given by the elves to the hobbits to eat on their journey. The lembas reinforces the hobbits' wills and provides them with physical sustenance in the dark and barren lands on the way to Mount Doom. As the Church teaches, while the Eucharist still tastes and looks like bread and wine, our sensations shroud a deeper mystery: The Eucharist is truly Christ's body and blood. So in The Lord of the Rings the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Eucharist appear shrouded in the mysterious elements of Middle-earth. The best way to understand this is to see such examples of Catholic symbolism as literary "accidents." To leave them out would have diminished the story; they are parts of Tolkien's effort to make his world complete, true for all times and places.
 
As an author, Tolkien believed that his stories did in a limited and literary way what a priest does at the consecration: They present us with Christ and the entire story of creation and redemption through common elements of the world -- in this case, Middle-earth -- which is shot through with the Truth of all Truths.


TOPICS: Catholic; Religion & Culture
KEYWORDS: lotr; tolkien

1 posted on 07/02/2010 10:30:17 AM PDT by NYer
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To: netmilsmom; thefrankbaum; markomalley; Tax-chick; GregB; saradippity; Berlin_Freeper; Litany; ...

Enjoy!


2 posted on 07/02/2010 10:31:01 AM PDT by NYer ("God dwells in our midst, in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar." St. Maximilian Kolbe)
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To: NYer

bookmarked


3 posted on 07/02/2010 10:35:45 AM PDT by floozy22 (Did you ever stop to think... and forget to start again?)
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To: NYer

When you read the LOTR “back stories” Tolkien’s faith based writing becomes even more clear.


4 posted on 07/02/2010 10:37:18 AM PDT by Shark24
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To: NYer

That article was almost as long as “The Hobbit.”

Hehehehehehe


5 posted on 07/02/2010 10:37:33 AM PDT by Tolkien (Grace is the Essence of the Gospel; Gratitude is the Essence of Ethics.)
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To: NYer

Awesome! Thanks!


6 posted on 07/02/2010 10:47:02 AM PDT by MiddleEarth (With hope or without hope we'll follow the trail of our enemies. Woe to them, if we prove the faster)
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To: NYer; monkapotamus

Precioussss ring list

SO who is Golem represented that dude was ugly LOL!


7 posted on 07/02/2010 11:03:25 AM PDT by SevenofNine ("We are Freepers, all your media belong to us ,resistance is futile")
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To: Tolkien

Speaking of the Hobbit I THINK They finally see that book come to movie soon Peter Jackson has been reject as movie director they try get somebody else and they ease out the movie script right now

What I hear on Hollywood reporter they try get film in 2011 which be seen in Christmas 2012


8 posted on 07/02/2010 11:05:04 AM PDT by SevenofNine ("We are Freepers, all your media belong to us ,resistance is futile")
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To: Tolkien

Speaking of the Hobbit I THINK They finally see that book come to movie soon Peter Jackson has been reject as movie director they try get somebody else and they ease out the movie script right now

What I hear on Hollywood reporter they try get film in 2011 which be seen in Christmas 2012


9 posted on 07/02/2010 11:05:15 AM PDT by SevenofNine ("We are Freepers, all your media belong to us ,resistance is futile")
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To: NYer
Faith and Fantasy: Tolkien the Catholic, The Lord of the Rings, and Peter Jackson’s Film Trilogy ... Stephen Graydanus
10 posted on 07/02/2010 11:10:02 AM PDT by Servant of the Cross (the Truth will set you free)
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To: Steve0113

ping


11 posted on 07/02/2010 11:22:04 AM PDT by nina0113
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To: NYer

Good post.


12 posted on 07/02/2010 12:08:08 PM PDT by marron
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To: NYer

Thanks for the post


13 posted on 07/02/2010 12:19:10 PM PDT by Gothmog (I fight for Xev)
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To: NYer

Thanks for posting that. It’s great to read about the backgrounds of great artists and writers.


14 posted on 07/02/2010 12:24:04 PM PDT by Richard Kimball (We're all criminals. They just haven't figured out what some of us have done yet.)
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To: NYer

I’ve read everything Lewis wrote, some several times. Thoroughly enjoyed being in touch with another real mind when reading him.

Could never abide Tolkien. It was like being in touch with something rotting.

Hank


15 posted on 07/02/2010 12:25:30 PM PDT by Hank Kerchief
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To: NYer

I am more a realist..I dislike his work and can only tolerate some of lewis’s. Maybe I am too dumb to make the connections they think are obvious


16 posted on 07/02/2010 12:37:53 PM PDT by RnMomof7
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To: SevenofNine
SO who is Golem represented that dude was ugly LOL!

You and me when addicted to sin!

17 posted on 07/02/2010 12:57:11 PM PDT by Petrosius
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To: Petrosius

OH OKAY

Poor Golem he is like George W Bush of Lords of the ring he get blame for everything LOL!


18 posted on 07/02/2010 1:10:52 PM PDT by SevenofNine ("We are Freepers, all your media belong to us ,resistance is futile")
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To: NYer
The Hobbit and LOTR was a story about good and evil. A story about the sacrifice of those who are noble and good in order to vanquish evil. A story about how the smallest among us can become the greatest in the eyes of God. They were good books.

Had I not read them originally as a teenager in the early 70's, I might not find them as enjoyable and nostalgic though.

19 posted on 07/02/2010 1:21:23 PM PDT by MarineBrat (Better dead than red!)
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To: SevenofNine
Poor Golem he is like George W Bush of Lords of the ring he get blame for everything LOL!

You must be a Republican. If you were a Democrat you would have identified George Bush with Sauron.    : )

20 posted on 07/02/2010 1:28:46 PM PDT by Petrosius
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To: NYer

The crystal vial with the Light of Galadriel which was to be light to show the way, when all other lights go out - reminds me of God’s voice in the heart, which often most people finally turn to when in despair, loneliness or confusion.

That Light never goes out.

I love LOTR. Read it many times as a teenager.


21 posted on 07/02/2010 3:59:28 PM PDT by little jeremiah
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To: Hank Kerchief

I’ve read some of Lewis and Tolkien. Quite frankly - when it comes to fiction - Tolkien was a much better author.


22 posted on 07/02/2010 5:00:40 PM PDT by vladimir998 (Part of the Vast Catholic Conspiracy (hat tip to Kells))
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To: NYer; Alex Murphy
Even the One Ring, forged by the magical art of Sauron, is never actually characterized as evil in itself. Rather, its power to command the Ringwraiths and the invisibility it confers are regarded as temptations that make the ring too dangerous for it to be used appropriately.

For one who loves the Lord of the Ring trilogy and have read the books, this is simply not true. As Gandalf the Grey stated, "The Ring is altogether evil." It is the reason the Fellowship cannot use the Ring and must be casted into the fires of Mt. Doom.

http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/The_Fellowship_of_the_Ring

I am baffled that Catholics seem to want to do away with the concept of "evil".

23 posted on 07/02/2010 5:20:52 PM PDT by HarleyD
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To: vladimir998

“Quite frankly - when it comes to fiction - Tolkien was a much better author.”

Could be. I read little fiction, except the classics, and am selective about them too. I’ve read most of Dostoevsky, all of Hugo, for example. Liked some of Hemingway’s early fiction, but not so much his later novels. I just do not like Tolkien. There is something “dark” about his writing, while I find Lewis always refreshing, with perhaps the exception of “That Hideous Strength,” and, “The Screwtape Letters.”

On what do you base your opinion that Tolkien is the better author. Is it objective, or just a personal opinion? Just curious.

Hank


24 posted on 07/02/2010 5:31:19 PM PDT by Hank Kerchief
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To: Hank Kerchief

You wrote:

“There is something “dark” about his writing, while I find Lewis always refreshing, with perhaps the exception of “That Hideous Strength,” and, “The Screwtape Letters.””

I agree that That Hideous Strength is dark, but I always found The Screwtape Letters rather “light” - even though it is about demons and temptation.

“On what do you base your opinion that Tolkien is the better author. Is it objective, or just a personal opinion? Just curious.”

I think - when it came to fiction - Tolkien was a more able, more sophisticated author. Lewis was effective, but I don’t think he was evocative or able to build a complex story like Tolkien. Lewis went, generally, for obvious allegorical fairy tales while Tolkien built an entire other world.

Both were great writers. Lewis was especially good at turning a phrase. Mind you, Lewis - when it comes to turning a phrase - is a distant second to GK Chesteron!

Hank


25 posted on 07/02/2010 5:55:45 PM PDT by vladimir998 (Part of the Vast Catholic Conspiracy (hat tip to Kells))
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To: vladimir998

Yes, “The Scrwtape Letters,” were “light” fare, but I only mentioned them as perhaps less “uplifting” then other works by Lewis.

Don’t think I know Chesterton well enough to compare him with Lewis, or vice-versa. Do enjoy Chesterton though.

You may be right about Tolkien’s ability with plots. I frankly do not know.

Getting a little hard to concentrate here, lots of fireworks. Hope you enjoy your Fourth.

Hank


26 posted on 07/02/2010 6:21:38 PM PDT by Hank Kerchief
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To: Hank Kerchief

Thanks , I hope you enjoy yours.


27 posted on 07/02/2010 6:50:28 PM PDT by vladimir998 (Part of the Vast Catholic Conspiracy (hat tip to Kells))
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To: NYer

Love it! (says Melian, a Maia and mother of the grey elves, who dwells in Lorien and tends her garden; beautiful and wise, nightingales sing wherever she goes.)

One of my favorite LOTR quotes: “I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.” LOL!


28 posted on 07/02/2010 10:05:41 PM PDT by Melian ( God is even kinder than you think. ~St. Teresa)
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To: MarineBrat

Samwise tells us all we need to know about being a hero.


29 posted on 07/02/2010 10:07:53 PM PDT by Melian ( God is even kinder than you think. ~St. Teresa)
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To: Melian

oh wow!

By sheer coinkydink - my 9 yr. old son was watching Return of the King today and we had a long discussion about Samwise - his loyalty, bravery, and perseverence even when he’s wrongly accused and rejected.

LOVE Samwise!


30 posted on 07/02/2010 10:11:31 PM PDT by Scotswife
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To: Scotswife

I try to read the books once a year and I always cry over Sam’s dedication and selflessness. Theoden and Eomer really touch my heart too. They are more manly and realistic versions of Sam. It wrings my heart when they decide to ride to their deaths for the sake of friendship and honor.

Love these books! If your son likes them, he’s on the right track. I laugh out loud every time I read Gandalf saying he doesn’t “like the smell of the left way.”


31 posted on 07/02/2010 10:24:53 PM PDT by Melian ( God is even kinder than you think. ~St. Teresa)
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To: HarleyD
I am baffled that Catholics seem to want to do away with the concept of "evil".

Only liberal Catholics who have latched onto the 'conscience as king' attitudes, with their desires taking the place of an informed conscience.

32 posted on 07/03/2010 9:25:46 AM PDT by SuziQ
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To: Hank Kerchief

Could you elaborate on that?


33 posted on 07/03/2010 1:51:32 PM PDT by NucSubs ( Cognitive dissonance: Conflict or anxiety resulting from inconsistency between beliefs and actions)
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To: NucSubs

“Could you elaborate on that?”

I would if I could, but it’s just an impression. The best I can do is to put it another way. I find Lewis to be light, as in uplifting and inspiring, but I find Tolkien dark, and depressing.

It’s not a criticism of Tolkien, because obvious many people enjoy him. Perhaps its more of a confession about myself.

Hank


34 posted on 07/03/2010 2:22:49 PM PDT by Hank Kerchief
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To: NYer
Without a father's income, however, the task of educating her sons would take some doing because the best schools charged tuition. Also, her decision to become Catholic estranged her from most of her family, who withdrew their financial support. So Mabel did what any resourceful woman with a fine middle-class education would do: She home-schooled her sons until they could pass the entrance exams and receive scholarships at a good private school.

Now, of course, that would probably be against the law.

35 posted on 07/04/2010 4:42:23 PM PDT by the invisib1e hand (I don't speak starbucks.)
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