Romantic and Imaginative Theology: Inklings of Heaven

Romantic and Imaginative Theology: Inklings of Heaven April 18, 2006
Rainforest in New Zealand (South Island). Photograph by “KraeheMicha” [Pixabay / CC0 public domain]
A romantic theologian does not mean one who is romantic about theology but one who is theological about romance, one who considers the theological implications of those experiences which are called romantic.
— C. S. Lewis —

Christian Fantasy, Folklore, Mythology, Imagination, and Romanticism
[Disclaimer: I emphatically do not endorse any pagan, occultic, Wiccan, New Age or other beliefs hostile to Christianity, which may appear on some of these sites unbeknownst to me. I am interested in mythology only insofar as it is consistent with a Lewis/Tolkien/George MacDonald sort of imaginative Christian Romanticism]

Now as myth transcends thought, Incarnation transcends myth. The heart of Christianity is a myth which is also a fact . . . To be truly Christian we must both assent to the historical fact and also receive the myth (fact though it has become) with the same imaginative embrace which we accord to all myths . . . For this is the marriage of heaven and earth: Perfect Myth and Perfect Fact: claiming not only our love and our obedience, but also our wonder and delight, addressed to the savage, the child, and the poet in each one of us no less than to the moralist, the scholar, and the philosopher.
— C. S. Lewis —
C. S. Lewis: Photograph and Reminiscences Page (Dave Armstrong) [6-16-11, at Internet Archive]
C. S. Lewis Photograph Page #2 (Dave Armstrong) [6-16-11, at Internet Archive]
C. S. Lewis: 20th-Century Christian Knight (Links Page by Dave Armstrong) [online from 1997-2016; archived versions available]
Fairy-tales are much more of a picture of the permanent life of the great mass of mankind than most realistic fiction.
— G. K. Chesterton —


Dialogue on Romanticism and Christianity (w K. Rickert, Jr.) [2-15-04] 

The religious element in Romanticism, whether Catholic or non-Catholic, goes much deeper than the superficial aesthetic appeal. It has its roots in the fundamental principles of the movement.
— Christopher Dawson —
The Inklings and Other Friends and Influences on C.S. Lewis

Inklings Wikipedia Entry
Introduction to the Inklings (Elesha Coffman)
Seven: An Anglo-American Literary Review (devoted to C.S. Lewis, Chesterton, Tolkien, MacDonald, Williams, Barfield, Sayers)
Nature is not just something objective which exists outside us. Nature is speaking to us. It is a parable of life itself, a revelation of fearful symmetry.

— Malcolm Muggeridge —

The Golden Key: The George MacDonald Page
The Writings, Spiritual Vision, and Legacy of George MacDonald (web page by Michael Phillips)
Who is George MacDonald? (Michael Phillips, Richard Reis, and Mike Dalton)
George MacDonald (Wikipedia)
BrainyQuote: George MacDonald
Quotations (Bartleby)
Quotations (
Quotations (compiled by Michael Phillips) 

The fairy story may be made a vehicle of Mystery. That at least is what George MacDonald attempted, achieving stories of power and beauty when he succeeded.
— J. R. R. Tolkien —

The Fantastic Imagination (essay by George MacDonald)
George MacDonald (G. K. Chesterton)
The Childlike in George MacDonald and C. S. Lewis (Don King)
George MacDonald’s Faith in Historical Perspective (Adam Mackay)
An Orthodox Appreciation of George MacDonald (Robert W. Grano)

Description of a MacDonald Sermon (from one present)

George MacDonald is pre-eminently a mythopoeic writer . . . In his power . . . to project his inner life into images, beings, landscapes which are valid for all, he is one of the most remarkable writers of the nineteenth century.

Lilith is equal if not superior to the best of Poe.

— W. H. Auden —

George MacDonald (by C.S. Lewis) (15 Reviews)

A Historical 19th Century Bibliography of His Published Works (description of all books authored in his lifetime, by Michael Phillips)
Analysis of the contents of George MacDonald: An Anthology (Paul F. Ford – book by C.S. Lewis)
Index for George MacDonald: An Anthology (Paul F. Ford – book by C.S. Lewis)
Summary of George MacDonald Books
George MacDonald Books for Purchase
George MacDonald – Victorian Mythmaker (book by Rolland Hein)
George MacDonald: Scotland’s Beloved Storyteller (book by Michael R. Phillips)
George MacDonald in the Pulpit (book edited by J. Joseph Flynn and David Edwards)
Essays on C.S. Lewis and George MacDonald (book by Cynthia Marshall)
George MacDonald, Selections from His Greatest Works (book edited by David Neuhouser)
George MacDonald (book by D. S. Robb)
George MacDonald – a Bibliographical Study (book by Raphael B. Shaberman)
The Stars and the Stillness – a Portrait of George MacDonald (book by Kathy Triggs)
3000 Quotations of George MacDonald (book compiled by Harry Verploggh)

It is not difficult to imagine the peculiar excitement and joy that one would feel, if any specially beautiful fairy-story were found to be ‘primarily’ true, its narrative to be history, without thereby necessarily losing the mythical or allegorical significance that it had possessed . . . God is the Lord of angels, and of men — and of elves. Legend and History have met and fused . . . The Evangelium has not abrogated legends; it has hallowed them, especially the ‘happy ending’.

— J. R. R. Tolkien —



J.R.R. Tolkien’s Take on the Truth (Interview with Author Joseph Pearce on “Lord of the Rings”)
Tolkien: The Man behind the Myth (Mary Lasse)
Where to Go for all Things Tolkien (The best sites on the Internet about the man, his faith, his books, the Inklings and the movies; by Rob Moll)
Wikipedia Entry
Personal Best: The Lord of the Rings (Scott Rosenberg)
Christianity and Middle-Earth
In poetry the words are the body and the ‘theme’ or ‘content’ is the soul. But in myth the imagined events are the body and something inexpressible is the soul.

— C. S. Lewis —


What About Charles Williams?: The Secret of the Enigmatic Inkling Revealed (Thomas Howard)

Heterodox Occultic Beliefs of Charles Williams (Crossroad website)
Review of Descent Into Hell (


I do not think the resemblance between the Christian and the merely imaginative experience is accidental. I think that all things, in their way, reflect heavenly truth, the imagination not least.

— C. S. Lewis —

 The Harry Potter Controversy


Harry Potter: Literary Magic or Magical Mystery Sewer? (Dave Armstrong) [7-19-05 and 10-28-10] 
The Hidden Key to Harry Potter (book by John Granger / page)
Looking for God in Harry Potter (book by John Granger / page)
What’s a Christian To Do With Harry Potter? (book by Connie Neal / page)
The Gospel According to Harry Potter (book by Connie Neal / page)
A Parent’s Guide to Harry Potter (book by Gina Burkart / page)
Harry Potter and Philosophy: If Aristotle Ran Hogwarts (book by David Baggett, Shawn Klein, William Irwin)
Why We Like Harry Potter (Christianity Today)


A Wave of Harry’s Wand Stirs Backlash (book by Gabriele Kuby: Harry Potter – Good or Evil?)
Is “Harry Potter” Harmless? (ChristianAnswers.Net)
There’s Something About Harry:A Catholic Analysis of the Harry Potter Phenomenon (Patrick Madrid, Michael O’Brien, Toni Colins: audio talk for sale)


The Split Verdict on Harry Potter (Mindy Sink / New York Times)




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All links updated: 5 January 2017.
Updated: 17 June 2020.



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