‘Further Up and Further In’: Representations of Heaven in Tolkien and Lewis
This essay examines the depiction of Heaven in J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Leaf by Niggle” and C.S. Lewis’ The Last Battle, with reference to Dante’s Paradiso, arguing that their depictions of Heaven are both theologically rich and imaginatively satisfying. The essay begins by considering the difficulties inherent in depicting Heaven, and then arguing that a depiction of the Christian vision of Heaven must reflect its incarnational reality. The essay next provides literary context for the discussion of Tolkien and Lewis by considering Dante’s representation of Heaven, with reference to Lewis’ thoughts on the imagery in Paradiso. The essay then analyzes Tolkien’s “Leaf by Niggle” and Lewis’ The Last Battle, showing how the authors’ choice of imagery evokes Heaven as active, participatory, communal, and incarnational. In both works, imagery of the Incarnate Christ plays an important role, as does the evocation of the infinitude of Heaven through metaphors of storytelling and journeying. Tolkien gives us an image of Heaven as art come to life, Lewis one of Heaven as story lived out. Both draw on aesthetic responses to nature and landscape to evoke, rather than describe, Heaven as a place infinitely desirable, a place where our nature as creative beings is fulfilled.
Tolkien’s Shire: The Ideal of a Conservative-Anarchist Distributist Governance
This article seeks to explores the political significance of Tolkien’s Shire through consideration of both his works and his historical background. Even though the nature of politics in The Lord of the Rings has already been much discussed, there is, given the scarcity of Tolkien’s political references, further investigation is still needed. In a first part, this article will look at the interaction of Tolkien and the “movement” known as Tory anarchism. This article’s thesis is that this particular species of anarchy was an immediate background to Tolkien’s political views represented in his writings, especially in his mythological corpus as well as in his shorter stories—as in Farmer Giles of Ham. In a second part, this article investigate the meaning of Tolkien’s self-described attachment to “unconstitutional monarchy.” Here, comparison with the Shire’s political structure will be instructive, as will be the influences of Chesterton and Belloc’s political philosophy. In this regard, their work The Party System, is of special significance. In conclusion, this article will defend that Tolkien’s Shire is best seen as a Distributist conservative anarchy.
The Sources and Uses of Distributism: A Roman Catholic’s View of Anglo-Catholic Genius
‘The past popularity, the long tradition of religion supported it diverse champions
against a present neglect.’
—Charles Williams, Shadows of Ecstasy.
How to Craft a Just Economy (not Enforce a Mad Utopia): Response to Michael Black
‘In short, they did not begin with the ideal; and, therefore, were not practical politicians.’
—G. K. Chesterton, What’s Wrong With the World
‘Come Out of Egypt’ and ‘The Thief speaks from Paradise’
Notes & Queries
Joel D. Heck
C. S. Lewis and the Westcott House Governing Board
Thomas Möllenbeck and Berthold Wald (ed.), Wahrheit und Selbstüberschreitung. C. S. Lewis und Josef Pieper über den Menschen
Review by Arend Smilde
Peter Miller, The Lion, the Witch, and the Extraordinary Perspective in C. S. Lewis
Review by Shannon C. Coker
Paul E. Kerry, (ed.), The Ring and the Cross: Christianity and The Lord of the Rings
Review by Shaun Blanchard
Gary L. Tandy, The Rhetoric of Certitude: C. S. Lewis’s Nonfiction Prose
Review by Simon Vaughan