Was Tolkien a libertarian?

An essay in the Intercollegiate Review explores J. R. R. Tolkien’s political views.  He said in a letter that his “political opinions lean more and more to Anarchy (philosophically understood, meaning abolition of control not whiskered men with bombs).” Also, “The most improper job of any man, even saints, is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity.”  This becomes a theme, for example, in the Hobbits, who, as he says, have “hardly any government.” [Read more...]

The Hobbit movie as “tedious havoc”

I was greatly disappointed in the third part of Peter Jackson’s makeshift trilogy based on The Hobbit.  The Battle of the Five Armies was mostly, to use Milton’s words, tedious havoc.  It was two-and-a-half hours of killing orcs, with little story beyond that.

But here is what artists who aspire to the genre of fantasy need to realize:  a good fantasy evokes a sense of wonder, of the numinous.  Jackson’s version of The Lord of the Rings had that; his version of the Hobbit did not.  Tolkien’s novels have that on virtually every page. [Read more...]

So how is “The Hobbit”?

The final movie of the Hobbit trilogy has already made $350 million world-wide, though the reviews have been somewhat mixed.  I haven’t gotten around to seeing it yet, but it figures in our holiday plans.  So, to those of you who have seen it, how is The Hobbit:  Battle of the Five Armies?

The world’s eucatastrophe

Thanks to Rev. Sam Schuldheisz who posted passages from J. R. R. Tolkien on “eucatastrophe,” a word he coined for “the sudden happy turn in a story which pierces you with a joy that brings tears.”  Tolkien then developed the idea that the eucatastrophe of history is the Birth of Christ, and the eucatastrophe of the Incarnation is His resurrection. [Read more...]

JRR Tolkien’s Beowulf is coming!

J. R. R. Tolkien made a translation of Beowulf, which is going to be published May 22!

Tolkien, whose academic specialty at Oxford was Old English literature, wrote the best discussion of Beowulf–one that opened up the epic as a glorious work of literature and not just as a historical relic–with his essay “Beowulf:  The Monster and the Critics” (available in this collection).  So I cannot wait to read his translation.  After the jump, a preview from The Guardian. [Read more...]

The Annunciation and “Lord of the Rings”

More belated Annunciation thoughts.  From Isaac Augustine Morales, The Annunciation and the One Ring | Dominicana Blog:

In a seemingly insignificant detail in one of the appendices of his masterpiece, The Lord of the Rings, J. R. R. Tolkien notes that the destruction of the One Ring and the defeat of Sauron took place on March 25. What might have led Tolkien to date the destruction of the ring with such precision? Being a devout Catholic, Tolkien most likely was subtly weaving into his work an ancient Christian tradition regarding the Solemnity of the Annunciation, the feast the Church celebrates today. [Read more...]


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