Tag Archives: Elfland


Chesterton Casts a Spell on Tolkien

My latest piece for the Imaginative Conservative looks at the influence of Chesterton’s essay “The Ethics of Elfland” (chapter four of Orthodoxy) on Tolkien’s philosophy of myth, as expounded in the latter’s famous lecture/essay “On Fairy Stories”:

The great G.K. Chesterton had a huge impact on my embrace of Christian orthodoxy. It would, in fact, be no exaggeration to say that his was the greatest single influence, under grace, on my conversion. I was, therefore, highly gratified to discover, during the research for my book Literary Converts, that Chesterton also had a significant influence on the conversions of many others, including writers such as Maurice Baring, Ronald Knox, and Graham Greene, as well as the actor Sir Alec Guinness. He was also a defining influence on C. S. Lewis, who had discovered Chesterton during World War One whilst recovering in a field hospital in France. A little later, it was Chesterton’s seminal work, The Everlasting Man, which had enabled Lewis to see the Christian outline of history laid out before him in a way that made sense, an epiphany which was a major milestone on Lewis’s journey to Christian conversion.

Read the Rest Here.