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A hobbit, a wardrobe, and a great war : how J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis rediscovered faith, friendship, and heroism in the cataclysm of 1914-1918

by Loconte, Joe, 1961-

Format: Print Book 2015
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Collection  Nonfiction
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Location  Whitehall Public Library
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The untold story of how the First World War shaped the lives, faith, and writings of J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis

The First World War laid waste to a continent and permanently altered the political and religious landscape of the West. For a generation of men and women, it brought the end of innocence--and the end of faith. Yet for J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis, the Great War deepened their spiritual quest. Both men served as soldiers on the Western Front, survived the trenches, and used the experience of that conflict to ignite their Christian imagination. Had there been no Great War, there would have been noHobbit, no Lord of the Rings, no Narnia, and perhaps no conversion to Christianity by C. S. Lewis.

Unlike a generation of young writers who lost faith in the God of the Bible, Tolkien and Lewis produced epic stories infused with the themes of guilt and grace, sorrow and consolation. Giving an unabashedly Christian vision of hope in a world tortured by doubt and disillusionment, the two writers created works that changed the course of literature and shaped the faith of millions. This is the first book to explore their work in light of the spiritual crisis sparked by the conflict.

The funeral of a great myth
The last battle
In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit
The lion, the witch, and the war
The land of shadow
That hideous strength
Conclusion: The Return of the King.

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "WWI devastated any optimism about the inevitable march of progress, but C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien, soldiers in that war, managed to subsequently create fictional worlds alive with hope. Loconte begins with that early-twentieth-century optimism and then describes its horrifying explosion when the highly vaunted upward trajectory resulted in war and its disastrous weaponry. Tolkien and Lewis fought in the trenches, and the experience echoes through their fiction, but it was their postwar friendship, well described here, that also inspired their most famous works. Loconte locates other inspirations in the mythologies they both enjoyed as children and their subsequent desires to create a mythology for their own century. The book makes a compelling argument that, despite the horrors of the trenches, a lifelong love of story and deep religious faith enabled both men to create the fantastical worlds that readers have devoured ever since. Lovers of Narnia and Middle-Earth will revisit those worlds with new respect for their creators.--Engel, Christine Copyright 2015 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien are two of the best-known Christian writers of the 20th century. Their works have influenced millions of readers and have informed spiritual discussion in the public square for many decades. What is less well known about these two men is that they enjoyed a deep friendship and a shared life experience as soldiers in WWI. Loconte, associate professor of history at the King's College in New York City, explains that the fighting in the trenches and the thrill of survival all provided context for their later fictional writing; echoes of the war can be found everywhere in their powerful stories. Loconte offers the real-life tale behind the optimism and final triumph of good over evil that shine from Lewis and Tolkien's works: "No matter how desperate the circumstances... the characters in their stories retain the capacity to resist evil and choose the good," and it is in this choosing that redemption is finally achieved. This is a wonderful account of two remarkable Christian writers. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."

Additional Information
Subjects Tolkien, J. R. R. -- (John Ronald Reuel), -- 1892-1973 -- Criticism and interpretation.
Tolkien, J. R. R. -- (John Ronald Reuel), -- 1892-1973 -- Religion.
Lewis, C. S. -- (Clive Staples), -- 1898-1963 -- Criticism and interpretation.
Lewis, C. S. -- (Clive Staples), -- 1898-1963 -- Religion.
World War, 1914-1918.
Literature and society -- England -- History -- 20th century.
Publisher Nashville, Tennessee :2015
Language English
Description xix, 235 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 22 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 203-226) and index.
ISBN 9780718021764
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