A reader asks about Beauty

A reader asks about Beauty August 7, 2015

She writes:

I am a fellow Catholic and lover of Beauty and the arts! I am writing to you because I was doing some online research for a paper I am writing about the power of beauty, specifically music, to evangelize. While I was online, an article you wrote for the Register came up, and I loved it! I am using Via Pulchritudinis as a main source, but I wanted to ask if you have any ideas of good sources on this theme. I have to write 50 pages, and I’m just getting started!!! Thank you so much for your time.

I don’t know that I’m much use here, but I would recommend Dorothy L. Sayers The Mind of the Maker and Robert Farrar Capon’s beautiful and effervescent book The Supper of the Lamb. Also, Tolkien’s ideas on subcreation in his essay “On Fairy Stories” () and his great poem “Mythopoeia“.

Speaking of music, it is interesting that, for Tolkien, music is the primal language of creation. Eru (aka Iluvatar aka God) sings creation into being and language is seen as a kind of declension or falling away from the primal goodness of music. The rebellion of Morgoth is a dissonance. Good characters participate in the Song. Tom Bombadil, even in his everyday conversation, speaks in a meter. Bad characters turn the song to dissonance and ugliness. Good ones love song, even if it not the exalted music of the elves and is only simple rhymes of a Sam Gamgee.

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