Category: Literature

A distant, glorious echo: Tolkien and typology

In his foreword to the second edition of The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien boldy declares his dislike of allegory and notes that, whatever critics and readers have suggested, the novel is most certainly not an allegory. Nonetheless, Christian readers...

/ February 21, 2013

Romance in Pride and Prejudice: Sometimes, We Settle

It is axiomatic that an artist’s work will be admired and disdained for a single set of qualities. Some admire the breadth and passion of Beethoven while others find his stamina and pathos tedious. Some admire the precision and pacing...

/ February 18, 2013

Jackson and Tolkien: Hollywood’s Infatuation With Angst

Matt’s piece on The Lord of the Rings a few weeks ago nicely summed up one of the major ways in which Peter Jackson’s view of the world diverges from Tolkien’s: its profoundly different moral vision. But Jackson’s storytelling sense...

/ February 14, 2013

Ruminations on Joy

A few weeks ago I read Zadie Smith’s essay, “Joy,” in the New York Review of Books. If you haven’t read it already, I highly recommend doing so. It’s a beautifully written, decidedly contemporary reflection on joy with a tone...

/ February 4, 2013

Law and Les Miserables, Revisited

Ed. note:  I’m thrilled to publish this reflection by on Les Mis. by Dr. Jason Hood, a friend of mine and author of an important upcoming book on imitation that you should really preorder right now.  In its opening weeks...

/ January 8, 2013

What’s Wrong with the Hobbits? Jackson’s Malformed Moral Universe

Jeffrey Weiss thinks that Peter Jackson doesn’t understand the moral universe of J.R.R. Tolkien.  That’s a thesis that I wholeheartedly endorse.  But not quite in the same way that Weiss does, or at least not with the same bit of...

/ January 7, 2013

Of Women and the Freedom to be Holy

There is a story told in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein about a young French man and an Arabian woman who fall in love. As Frankenstein’s monster is telling his creator about how he came to understand language, sorrow, love, and human...

/ December 13, 2012

Ray Bradbury, J.R. R. Tolkien, and the Benefits of Nostalgia

In an excellent piece on Ray Bradbury’s nostalgia, Andy Rau tosses off this fascinating but undeveloped parenthetical: “Of the various Christian fantasists of the 20th century, I think only J.R.R. Tolkien matches Bradbury’s sad but determined nostalgia for what we’ve...

/ July 6, 2012

Adults in the Body of Children: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and Midsummer Night’s Dream

Alan Jacobs passed along this fascinating little bit on Lewis’s story: My real criticism of this novel relates to a different matter. It is that it ends just when it is getting interesting. The Pevensie kids become the kings and...

/ December 20, 2011

Waking in the Dark Wood

Midway this way of life we’re bound upon, I woke to find myself in a dark wood, Where the right way was wholly lost and gone. Canto 1:1-3, Inferno Now, this is an interesting way to start a story. From...

/ August 11, 2011