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The Map of Wilderland

| Filed under: Forthcoming, Literature & Literary Criticism, Tolkien, Lewis, and Inkling Studies
Lehning Cover

A study of myth suggests that the stories we human beings tell ourselves about who we are make us who we are. Amber Lehning extends such discussion into the ecocritical realm, arguing that the stories we tell ourselves about our relationship to the natural world are at least as powerful as science or government policy as drivers of our behavior toward our planet. The destructive modern myths underlying today’s environmental crises create a kind of intellectual separation between humanity and its environment that can end up justifying the worst of environmental excesses—and perhaps, she argues, the only way to counter these negative humans-versus-nature stories is to shift some of the deep belief they command into new, positive, restorative stories.

 


Tolkien, Enchantment, and Loss

| Filed under: Literature & Literary Criticism, Recent Releases, Tolkien, Lewis, and Inkling Studies
Tolkien, Enchantment, and Loss cover. John Rosegrant

Focusing on the themes of enchantment and loss in the fiction of J. R. R. Tolkien, this unique study incorporates elements of developmental psychology to explore both Tolkien’s life and art, deepening our understanding of the interrelationship between his biography and writing.

 


A Sense of Tales Untold

| Filed under: Literature & Literary Criticism, Recent Releases, Tolkien, Lewis, and Inkling Studies
A Sense of Tales Untold by Peter Grybauskas. Cover.

A Sense of Tales Untold examines the margins of J. R. R. Tolkien’s work: the frames, edges, allusions, and borders between story and un-story and the spaces between vast ages and miniscule time periods. The untold tales that are simply implied or referenced in the text are essential to Tolkien’s achievement in world-building, Peter Grybauskas argues, and counter the common but largely spurious image of Tolkien as a writer of bloated prose.

 


The Shared Witness of C. S. Lewis and Austin Farrer

| Filed under: Forthcoming, Literature & Literary Criticism, Tolkien, Lewis, and Inkling Studies
The Shared Witness of C. S. Lewis and Austin Farrer cover

The Shared Witness of C. S. Lewis and Austin Farrer explores a number of areas that demonstrate the ways in which Lewis and Farrer both intersected and influenced each other’s thought. Both insisted that myth prepared the heart for a sense of divine glory and even had a place in the Christian scriptures.

 


Tolkien’s Cosmology

| Filed under: Recent Releases, Tolkien, Lewis, and Inkling Studies
Tolkien's Cosmology by Sam McBride. Kent State University Press.

An in-depth examination of the role of divine beings in Tolkien’s work, Tolkien’s Cosmology: Divine Beings and Middle-earth brings together Tolkien’s many references to such beings and analyzes their involvement within his created world. Unlike many other commentators, Sam McBride asserts that a careful reading of the whole of the author’s corpus shows a coherent, if sometimes contradictory, divine presence in the world.

 


The Lion in the Waste Land

| Filed under: Literature & Literary Criticism, Recent Releases, Tolkien, Lewis, and Inkling Studies
Lion in the Wasteland by Janice Brown. Kent State University Press.

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: Literature & Literary Criticism, Recent Releases, Tolkien, Lewis, and Inkling Studies
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.

 


“The Sweet and the Bitter”

| Filed under: Literature & Literary Criticism, Tolkien, Lewis, and Inkling Studies
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: Literature & Literary Criticism, Tolkien, Lewis, and Inkling Studies
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: Literature & Literary Criticism, Tolkien, Lewis, and Inkling Studies
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.

 


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