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Fresh Insights into Modern British Literature

The Lion in the Waste Land

| Filed under: Fresh Insights into Modern British Literature, Literature & Literary Criticism, Recent Releases
Lion in the Wasteland cover

As bombs fell on London almost nightly from the autumn of 1940 through the summer of 1941, the lives of ordinary people were altered beyond recognition. A reclusive Oxford lecturer found himself speaking, not about Renaissance literature to a roomful of students but about Christian doctrine into a BBC microphone. A writer of popular fiction found herself exploring not the intricacies of the whodunit but the mysteries of suffering and grace. An erudite poet and literary critic found himself patrolling the dark streets and piecing together images of fire and redemption. C. S. Lewis, Dorothy L. Sayers, and T. S. Eliot became something they had not been before the war: bearers of a terrible, yet triumphant, message that people could not expect to be spared from pain and suffering, but they would be redeemed through pain and suffering.

 


The Faun’s Bookshelf

| Filed under: Fresh Insights into Modern British Literature, Literature & Literary Criticism, Recent Releases
The Faun's Bookshelf by Charlie Starr cover

While visiting with Mr. Tumnus in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Lucy Pevensie notices a bookshelf filled with such titles as Nymphs and Their Ways and Is Man a Myth? Beginning with these imaginary texts, Charlie W. Starr offers a comprehensive study of C. S. Lewis’s theory of myth, including his views on Greek and Norse mythology, the origins of myth, and the implications of myth on thought, art, gender, theology, and literary and linguistic theory. For Lewis, myth represents an ancient mode of thought focused in the imagination—a mode that became the key that ultimately brought Lewis to his belief in Jesus Christ as the myth become fact.

 


Sudden Heaven

| Filed under: Fresh Insights into Modern British Literature, Literature & Literary Criticism, Recent Releases
King cover

Ruth Pitter (1897–1992) may not be widely known, but her credentials as a poet are extensive; in England from the mid-1930s to the mid-1970s she maintained a loyal readership. In total she produced 17 volumes of new and collected verse. Her A Trophy of Arms (1936) won the Hawthornden Prize for Poetry in 1937, and in 1954 she was awarded the William E. Heinemann Award for The Ermine (1953). Most notably, perhaps, she became the first woman to receive the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 1955; this unprecedented event merited a personal audience with the queen.

 


“The Sweet and the Bitter”

| Filed under: Fresh Insights into Modern British Literature, Literature & Literary Criticism, Recent Releases
Amendt-Raduege Cover

In 1956, J. R. R. Tolkien famously stated that the real theme of The Lord of the Rings was “Death and Immortality.” The deaths that underscore so much of the subject matter of Tolkien’s masterpiece have a great deal to teach us. From the heroic to the humble, Tolkien draws on medieval concepts of death and dying to explore the glory and sorrow of human mortality. Three great themes of death link medieval Northern European culture, The Lord of the Rings, and contemporary culture: the way in which we die, the need to remember the dead, and above all the lingering apprehension of what happens after death. Like our medieval ancestors, we still talk about what it means to die as a hero, a traitor, or a coward; we still make decisions about ways to honor and remember the departed; and we continue to seek to appease and contain the dead. These themes suggest a latent resonance between medieval and modern cultures and raise an issue not generally discussed in contemporary Western society: our deeply rooted belief that how one dies in some way matters.

 


“There Would Always Be a Fairy Tale”

| Filed under: Fresh Insights into Modern British Literature, Literature & Literary Criticism, Recent Releases
Flieger Cover

Devoted to Tolkien, the teller of tales and cocreator of the myths they brush against, these essays focus on his lifelong interest in and engagement with fairy stories, the special world that he called faërie, a world they both create and inhabit, and with the elements that make that world the special place it is. They cover a range of subjects, from The Hobbit to The Lord of the Rings and their place within the legendarium he called the Silmarillion to shorter works like “The Story of Kullervo” and “Smith of Wootton Major.”

 


The Great Tower of Elfland

| Filed under: Fresh Insights into Modern British Literature, Literature & Literary Criticism, Recent Releases
Rhone cover

Beginning in the mid-1950s, scholars proposed that the Inklings were a unified group centered on fantasy, imagination, and Christianity. Scholars and a few Inklings themselves supported the premise until 1978, when Humphrey Carpenter wrote the first major biography of the group, disputing a unified worldview. Carpenter dedicated an entire chapter to decry any theological or literary unity in the group, arguing disagreement in areas of Christian belief, literary criticism, views of myth, and writing style. Since Carpenter’s The Inklings, many analyses of the Inklings—and even their predecessors—have continued to show disunity rather than unity in the group.

 


The Inklings Coloring Book

| Filed under: Black Squirrel Books, Fresh Insights into Modern British Literature, Recent Releases, Science Fiction and Fantasy
Owen cover

Renowned fantasy illustrator James A. Owen presents fifteen intricate and imaginative line drawings inspired by the works of Oxford’s famous Inklings and Diana Glyer’s fascinating Bandersnatch.

Printed on heavy stock on one side only, each drawing is suitable for markers, fine-tipped pens, and colored pencils. Color your way through The Eagle and Child pub, along the banks of the Isis, beneath the spires of Magdalene College—and find (and color!) the bandersnatch hidden in each picture.

 


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