Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Recommending the Imaginative: J.R.R. Tolkien

John Ronald Tolkien was undoubtedly one of the greatest literary geniuses of the 20th Century. His most famous works include The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King. These works have forever left their mark on the world of fantasy literature, Christian literature, and English literature (a three-fold impact not often attained by men).

What makes these works so amazing is not only their outstanding stories and characters, which Tolkien, as an Oxford English professor crafted beautifully, but it is their epic stature and mythical legacy. The world of Middle Earth is one of the only 20th Century myths to actually withstand the tests of time. The depths to which the author went in giving us back story, and context. The Philology work in Elvish language that Tolkien demonstrates, and the geographich mapping and descriptions are marks of a myth that is unparalleled in almost all English literature, and at least since its publication.

What makes Tolkien's work so significant for this discussion is that Tolkien was a devout Roman Catholic, and played a crucial role in the conversion of his colleague C.S. Lewis from Athiesm to Christianity. His journals are full of religious sentiments, and praises to God, and yet for all his religious devotion Tolkien was a man of art as well. The fact that a man can be both an artist, an imaginator (if you will allow), and a man of God should not go unnoticed. His essays on English Literaure, on Poetry, and on Fiction are some of the most amazing pieces that he wrote outside of the context of the Lord of the Rings. So to you, friends, I recommend J.R.R. Tolkien's works.

The Hobbit
The Fellowship of the Ring
The Two Towers
The Return of the King
The Silmarillion
The Father Christmas Letters
Farmer Giles of Ham
The Children of Hurin
The Adventures of Tom Bombadil
On Fairy Stories
The Letters of J.R.R Tolkien
Poems and Songs of Middle Earth

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