Monday, January 30, 2012


Although (Tolkien) the greatest master of fantasy passed away, he left the door open for anyone to an enchanting world of his stories, the key to which is love, kindness and loyalty. These are the qualities that help Tolkien’’s characters to win over Evil. Although overlooked by the literarati of his day.....Hemingway, Faulkner and the like, two surveys in England voted Lord of Rings #1 book of 20th Century

These are just a few of the insights Dr. Tom Howard expert on 20th century English Literature at NYU with interest in the famous Oxford lterary group " Inklings” made up of  Chas. Williams, C.S. Lewis, and Tolkien discussed with Fr. John McCloskey for McCloskey’s series on Catholic authors on satellite television, EWTN.

Dr. Howard continued:

Tolkien went to Oxford as an undergrad spent rest of his life as a don and held a prestigious academic chair at Oxford. Tolkien (prounounced Tolkeen) was actually an expert on Anglo-Saxon or Old English doing translations of great literature like Beowolf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and so on. He and C.S. Lewis shared a great devotion to Nordic’ myth that Lewis called Northerness”....that large epic icey vastness quality unknown in other mythologies including Greek.

In FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING there is a magic ring 100% evil. The good people of the story are called the Free People. There are various species of Free People who are involved in getting rid of the ring which is wholely EVIL and almost but not quite omnipotent.


Tolkien loved myth. It is Dr. Howard’s contention that it was an astute literary decision to do an end run around literary scholars and arbiters of the 20th century as they just didn’t know what to do with it: He simply wrote it without Hemingway, Faulkner and all modernism and post modernism of Camus and existentialism of Satre. Here comes this Oxford don who knows everything and writes a fairy tale. Howard believes this is the same reaction of the vestal virgins of today even in our most prestigious graduate schools of literature. J.R.R. Tolkien instinctively knew that 20th century fiction could not enable a story of this magnitude...he had to reach back.

Those familiar with this monumental work might ask “Why did Tolkien put all the burden of this horrific evil on these small Hobbit people?

He did it for the same reason that kind of burden is placed on little people in our own stories today. Middle Earth was a 2dry world just like our own primary Monday. Tuesday. Wednesday world. Many would think of this work as an escape to a fairytale. But the reader doesn’t get too far into these myths til you realize you are no longer caught up in the fairy tale and fairy tale characters because you recognize exactly the analogy between that world and this.

Goodness looks exactly the same in that world as in ours..

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