Happy Birthday to the True Ringbearer!

On January 3, 1892, John Ronald Ruel Tolkien was born, and our world has been significantly enriched by his presence in it. In addition to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, he translated Beowulf, created all of Middle Earth and its many cultures, places, and languages.and helped found a little group called The Inklings.  Professor Tolkien and the Inklings,  particularly C.S. Lewis, helped lay the foundation of the mythopoetic worldview that is so central to all we do here and to the books we love to read and discuss. Thus, as I heard someone suggest this morning, we should all lift our classes this evening and declare a toast, “To the Professor!” If you prefer, you may wish to honor him by reading some of his beautiful words, or even by enjoying some of the many creative interpretations of them. I can recommend one I’ve been enjoying lately: Ambient Works Rivendell Ambience video (very pleasant in the background on asnowy day). There are also videos for the Misty Mountains and other aspects of Middle Earth to put one in a fit state of mind to celebrate the day. Or, one could simply shoot off some fireworks or make a dramatic disappearance and go on an adventure.

Happy One Hundred and Thirtieth Birthday, Professor Tolkien, and thank you for letting us into your world!

The Inklings and Culture: A Feast of Brilliant Scholarship

One of the great joys of my work with authors like Rowling, Lewis, and others is the opportunity to interact with remarkable scholars from all over the world, and one scholar whose work never fails to impress me is Dr. Monika B. Hilder, Professor of English at Canada’s Trinity Western University. Among other accomplishments, she is the co-founder and co-director of the Inklings Institute of Canada, a remarkable group of scholars that has just produced an incredible collection of essays that is well worth the attention of any reader of the Inklings.

The Inklings and Culture: A Harvest of Scholarship from the Inklings Institute of Canada, published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing, and edited by Hilder as well as Sara L. Pearson and Laura N. VanDyke has something for everyone who enjoys the work of the most well-known Inklings, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, as well as that of less famous (to the general reader) members,  “de facto” Inklings members, and honorary or “proto-Inklings” like Charles Williams, Owen Barfield,  Dorothy Sayers, George MacDonald, and G.K. Chesterton. [Read more…]