Tag Archives: Tolkien


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. 

The Story of Kullervo

The Story of Kullervo

This month sees the publication of The Story of Kullervo, a so-called “new” work by J. R. R. Tolkien. Originally written when Tolkien was a young man and long before he wrote the works for which he is better known, it is a retelling of a story recounted in a Finnish epic. Here’s an interview I gave to a New York TV network about this book.


Those wishing to celebrate the legacy of Tolkien and his great friend C. S. Lewis should join me and a host of other speakers at the first annual Tolkien and Lewis Celebration in Nashville on Saturday, September 19th, the anniversary of the “long night talk” between Tolkien and Lewis on the nature of myth which led to Lewis’s conversion to Christianity. For details, please visit the website of the Center for Faith and Culture at Aquinas College:



The England of the Faith versus the British Empire

The England of the Faith versus the British Empire

I’ve just received a thoughtful and thought-provoking e-mail from a lady taking issue with my recent article in which I predicted that the success of the Scottish National Party in the British General Election could lead to the dissolution of the United Kingdom, which I implied would not be a bad thing.

I’m publishing the pertinent part of the lady’s e-mail here. My response follows.

I recently read through your article on the recent British election results, and I wanted to make a comment, if I may. As one who has been actively involved with British people on both sides of the Tweed, before, during, and after the Scottish Independence Referendum, I have gotten to know quite a lot of Scots. Many of them are ordinary people, not political junkies, but they still cared deeply enough about the idea of Britain and what she stood for as a united entity to put blood, sweat, and tears into winning the referendum for her. Even with these recent SNP achievements in the parliament, the situation cannot be summed up as “the Scots obviously want independence”. It is so much more complicated than that, and many of my friends are struggling to cope in a deeply divided society. They need support to keep going, especially from their fellow Brits, not to be viewed as nuisances always causing trouble, but as beloved countrymen.

Here’s my response:

This is indeed a complicated issue. As a former British Nationalist (see my book Race with the Devil), I am well-versed in the whole concept of Unionism and was an ardent Unionist for years. Indeed I could be said to have imbibed it with my mother’s milk or, at any rate, to have learned it at my father’s knee. I now understand things more fully and more deeply and can distinguish between the England of the Faith and the British Empire, which are emphatically not synonymous but at enmity with each other. As for Scotland, the only true thing for a Scot to be is a Jacobite, awaiting the return of the king who was forced into exile by the anti-Catholic British Ascendency. I am an English Jacobite and this is what unites me to my brothers north of the border.

Yours in the hope of the Return of the King,