Happy Tolkien Week to one and all! One of the aspects of Tolkien’s work that fascinates me is its depiction of Evil. Not only can this mild-mannered, somewhat niggling professor write some truly terrifying scenes, but I also appreciate the thematic truths that inform his portrayal of Evil. I love a good subtle villain as […]Read More Tolkien’s Three Satans and Why They Matter
In a blog with a Tolkien reference in the subtitle, and with a list of at least ten Tolkien-related blog posts in my head, I find it shameful that I have yet to write specifically about Tolkien. My undergraduate thesis was on Tolkien, and I teach a class on him and Lewis every other year, […]Read More The Purposeful Parallelism of The Hobbit
“If You Want to Write Fantasy, Stop Reading It.” That was the title of a post I wrote a couple years ago for Faith & Fantasy Alliance. (You can read it here now.) Despite the clickbait title, I don’t believe fantasy authors should discontinue reading fantasy: for one, it’s important to keep up with developments […]Read More What Fantasy Authors Can Learn from Beowulf
If you haven’t read this book and you don’t want it spoiled, turn back now! Ahead there be spoilers, unabashed and free-flowing. The second part of Life of Pi is a 16-year-old boy (Piscine, nicknamed Pi) telling the story of how he survived 227 days at sea in a lifeboat, accompanied by an adult Bengal […]Read More So I Read Life of Pi.
The school year is beginning, and my thoughts have returned to C. S. Lewis’s ideas about English education. He thought a lot about education (as evidenced by his profession and by the fact that I am not even going to quote from The Abolition of Man, his major work on the subject, in this post). […]Read More C. S. Lewis Digest: Literature
Periodically, I teach a survey-style course on the works of C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien. One of our long-running discussion topics in the class is music: both authors’ works are filled with it. What’s more, when both authors give us creation accounts of their worlds–Middle-Earth in The Silmarillion, and Narnia in Magician’s Nephew–both worlds […]Read More The Inklings and Mr. Rogers Explain the Source of Music’s Power
“Now, you sea-travelers from a far-off land, listen to my simple thought—the sooner the better, you must make clear from whence you have come.” The eldest one answered him, leader of the troop, unlocked his word-hoard: Why a Blog? Cap’s been wanting me to start an author blog for a while. “I don’t like blogs,” […]Read More Why the Word-Hoard?
In my last post, I argued that reading classic literature can help inspire our writing of speculative fiction. To demonstrate this principle, I’ll (over time) write several posts describing how my own reading and teaching of classic English literature has enriched and enlarged my views of what spec-fic can do. For the sake of argument, […]Read More William Faulkner Teaches Fantasy