[Joseph Loconte] A Hobbit a Wardrobe and a Great War [yuri Book] TXT – eBook, Kindle eBook or Book Read

10 thoughts on “A Hobbit a Wardrobe and a Great War

  1. says:

    This book was supposed to explain the relationship between WWI and the origin of Tolkien's and Lewis' most famous works The Lord of

  2. says:

    This is a fascinating look at the experiences of two young men in WWI and how it affected their writing their faith and thei

  3. says:

    A good book but a number of flaws keep this from being a truly great bookThe first is that there is simply not enough material about the war time experiences of Tolkien and Lewis to form the basis of solid book length treatment Secondly the boo

  4. says:

    With this book Professor Loconte looks at the friendship between CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien how their experience in the Great War infl

  5. says:

    Many years ago I fell down the WWI rabbit hole and I still wander there freuently Recently I took another plunge with A World Undone by GJ Meyer and this excellent little book This book referred to many of the books and authors I had

  6. says:

    The Great War shattered the complacency of the West Flanders’ Fields exploded the myth of Progress that strange concatenation of Technological and Social Darwinism of Social Gospel and Hard Science Dissolution disillusionment irony absurdity and even worse ideologies followed It needs no ghost come from the grave to tell us this But what has long been noteworthy if noted little and explored less is that Tolk

  7. says:

    With the exception of the Bible no books has impacted my life like The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the seven books of the Narnia series CS Lewis had a strong stance on stories fantasy in particular If the literature is go

  8. says:

    I'll admit I know shockingly little about WWI Like many a teenage girl I went through a season where I read all the WWII fiction I could get my hands on but I never was all that interested in completing my knowled

  9. says:

    For a certain group JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis are such a part of the literary imaginative and spiritual landscape t

  10. says:

    I've read bundles of fiction and nonfiction books on World War II but not World War I How did fascism Nazism communism and eugenics take root after WWI? Why did people support narcissistic leaders that became despots that ruled in terror and greed creating violent totalitarian governments as their unchecked powers grew year after year? Acc

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summary × eBook or Kindle ePUB ✓ Joseph Loconte

The untold story of how the First World War shaped the lives faith and writings of J R R Tolkien and C S LewisThe 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. A good book but a number of flaws keep this from being a truly great bookThe first is that there is simply not enough material about the war time experiences of Tolkien and Lewis to form the basis of solid book length treatment Secondly the book is just riddled with minor errors that will be easily recognizable to any fan of the books that somehow escaped the editor Usually these are in the form of misattributions and simple confusion and misidentification but they are annoying especially when the author is using and perhaps over relying on the text of the books to prove his points Thirdly the approach that the author gives to the text is far too loose for my tastes If you want to say that a piece of text relates to the author s war time experiences I d prefer much solid evidence Fourthly at least for my part most of the book was well covered ground and well known to me The unusual focus on the little explored portion of Lewis and Tolkien s life proved mainly to instruct that it is little focused on because there is little definite to say about it Finally this book is going to be really of no use whatsoever to a non Christian audience as it is far too clear that the author is not merely a historian building a literary and historical case but is also an evangelist that admires the works as sermons and wishes to expand upon them Even as a sympathetic ear that agrees that the books work as sermons and has taught doctrine from them this inability to choose between the unbiased voice of the historian and the passionate voice of the evangelist is a bit jarringStill for all that I can recommend the book to a limited audience of Christian readers that have some knowledge of the works but don t already have a lot of insight in to the minds of the authors who created them To them it will likely be a revelation Even for someone like myself who have read the works dozens of times read all manner of unpublished notes by Tolkien many books of literary criticism and interpretation of the works and dug into the text in fandom circles to levels that will seem absurd to many there were still occasionally unlooked for vistas which were like looking out on a well known valley from vantages you d never seen beforeIn particular I was struck by Loconte s interpretation of the mindset of Tolkien after the great war that lead him to create his work The idea of Tolkien passing through the great war seeing the broken state of his nation weeping and then deliberately and consciously taking up the burden of healing his entire nation by bringing them a myth that reflected to them divine revelation just leaves me in renewed awe Who does that sort of thing Can you just conceive what the mind must be like that in the middle of its tears says My nation is broken Their myths about themselves have deluded and failed them and they have no stories of their own to fall back on I know I ll give them a new story a great story a light to lead them out of this dark place My jaw hits the floor The vision of the Good Professor once again humbles all my understandingIt is easy to see why he is often imitated uite often scorned occasionally mocked and yet no one has really come even close to eualing his work

review A Hobbit a Wardrobe and a Great War

A Hobbit a Wardrobe and a Great War

Uest 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 no Hobbit no  Lord of the Rings no  Narnia and perhaps no conversion to Christianity by C S LewisUnlike a generation of young writers who lost faith in the God of the Bible Tolkien and. The Great War shattered the complacency of the West Flanders Fields exploded the myth of Progress that strange concatenation of Technological and Social Darwinism of Social Gospel and Hard Science Dissolution disillusionment irony absurdity and even worse ideologies followed It needs no ghost come from the grave to tell us this But what has long been noteworthy if noted little and explored less is that Tolkien and Lewis are very much WWI writers too They fought and feared suffered illness and wounds saw horrors lost a generation of friends just as Owen Sassoon Blunden Graves and so many others did and just as those others did they too went off to war thinking of their homeland not in terms of factories and swollen cities but of the shires and the countryside Yet they as the title of this book suggests did not suffer the same despair and disillusionment instead they found the stuff of hope and recovery I regret to say however that Professor Loconte s book does not succeed as well as it might have done in explaining how this came to be so The first difficulty we encounter is that the author is uite often simply wrong On page 9 the Ents are said to be marching off to attack not Saruman but Sauron A slip of the pen perhaps as might easily occur in haste but usually caught in proof On page 22 we have serious errors The author mistakes Frodo s vision of Bilbo as a little wrinkled creature with a hungry face and bony groping hands FR 2i232 for reality as if Bilbo were actually momentarily distorted by his lust for the Ring That s Peter Jackson s scene not Tolkien s Bilbo no turns into Gollum here than Sam becomes an orc under similar circumstances in The Tower of Cirith Ungol RK 6i911 12 Both of these scenes show what the Ring is doing to Frodo making him see those he loves as monsters after his Ring Now even if this error were merely a matter of interpretation the other mistake on page 22 is not The author uotes from The Magician s Nephew as anyone even modestly familiar with The Chronicles of Narnia will recognize I ve read them only once but he claims it s The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe Using the single volume edition of Narnia which arranges the novels by internal chronology rather than in order of publication Loconte fails to note the title of the novel written plainly at the top of the page To this we may compare pages 147 48 where uoting the same passage from The Magician s Nephew the author confuses Digory and Polly the children of this novel with the Pevensie children of the other Narnia talesOn page 29 both Tolkien and Lewis are said to have been drafted but they enlisted as is later noted for Lewis on page 31 On page 30 Loconte states that Lewis attended Cherbourg School in Malvern arriving in 1914 but Lewis went there for only one year hated it and 1914 was the year he left On 82 Lewis is said to have been reading ER Eddison in or around 1916 but Eddison s first work to be publicly circulated appeared in 1922 On page 143 we learn that The Fellowship of the Ring first appeared in 1955 not 1954 On page 135 we learn further that Bilbo is a small half elf creature And page 65 informs us that The Lord of the Rings is a war trilogy which joins the dubious to the incorrectOn page 118 the author seems unaware of the difference between The Book of Lost Tales and The Silmarillion He speaks of The Fall of Gondolin written by Tolkien during the war and incorporated into The Book of Lost Tales but he uotes the much later and briefer version from The Silmarillion On page 121 he removes all doubt about his confusion By 1923 Tolkien had nearly completed The Book of Lost Tales what he would later call The Silmarillion I can only uestion whether the author has read The Book of Lost Tales On page 135 Loconte uotes Tolkien s account of Lewis statement that if they won t write the kind of books we want to readwe shall have to write them ourselves But in the very next line he makes it sound as if this statement predates the writing of The Hobbit by uite some time Eventually they made good on the pledge Tolkien began The Hobbit emphasis mine In fact Tolkien had finished writing The Hobbit by early 1933 and the evidence suggests that Lewis made his statement closer to 1936 Moreover Tolkien and Lewis were talking about novels of time travel and space travel and the books they decided to write became The Lost Road and Out of the Silent Planet Tolkien Letters nos 257 and 294 The Lost Road 7 8 Rateliff The History of the Hobbit 2011 p xxii The Hobbit has nothing to do with this statementWhat is regrettable is that by confusing The Silmarillion and The Book of Lost Tales Loconte deprives us of the primary texts most necessary for studying Tolkien s immediate response to the war As he himself points out 118 119 Tolkien later saw the writing of The Book of Lost Tales as therapeutic In 1944 in a letter to his son Christopher then in the RAF he encouraged him to write about what he was going through I sense among all your painsa desire to express your feeling about good evil fair foul in some way to rationalize it and prevent it from festering In my case it generated Morgoth and the History of the Gnomes Letters no 66 emphasis original What better place could there have been to begin an exploration of Tolkien s reaction to the war and what lessons could we have derived from a study of these writings side by side with those of his contemporaries like Sassoon and Owen who saw and felt the same horror but fell instead into bitterness and despair Here is the beginning of the road that leads to The Lord of the Rings but we do not get to walk it And from this perspective would not Graves Good Bye to All That 1929 and Claudius novels 1934 35 have made for interesting points of comparison on the way to The Lord of the Rings Yet we jump straight to the end of this road and a Tolkien who had had twenty to thirty years to reflect upon and come to understand his youthful experiences As for what comes in between The Book of Lost Tales is lost indeed the World War One poets are scanted and we receive background and generalizations about Tolkien s generation drawn from secondary sourcesTo be fair Loconte is better on Lewis making but not always better use of his letters his diaries and his early poetry One of those letters which he uotes p 116 reveals another missed opportunity for discussing Lewis alongside the World War One writers Commenting in 1923 on a tormented fellow veteran who had just died Lewis wrote isn t it a damned world and we once thought we could be happy with books and music Now here is a sentiment with which to begin an examination of the despair and lost illusions of this world after 1918 It would likely be far easier to make the connections between his early poems letters and so on and those of the World War One writers since the gap in genre isn t as great as it is with The Book of Lost Tales The analysis of Lewis would have facilitated that of Tolkien in this regardAll good interpretations of literature all good reconstructions of history rest ultimately on the details that support the arguments advanced by the author In any work that seeks to combine the literary and the historical an even greater care with the details is essential More variables reuire rigor and restraint In this book so many errors present themselves ranging from simple easily verifiable dates gotten wrong to simple facts of the stories gotten wrong half elf to the confusion of different works of the very authors who are the subjects of this study that faith in what Professor Loconte has to say reuires a very willing suspension of disbelief Yet the uestions he raises here about Lewis and Tolkien in the context of World War One and its literary and spiritual aftermath are valid important uestions From them we can learn much not only about Lewis and Tolkien but by reflection about their contemporaries about the times in which they all lived as well as about the times of those of us still within the Great War s shadow

summary × eBook or Kindle ePUB ✓ Joseph Loconte

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. For a certain group JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis are such a part of the literary imaginative and spiritual landscape that their insights are taken for granted The timeless ualities of their work have divorced it from any consideration of the time in which the two men lived and wrote Familiarity has bred contempt What Joseph Loconte attempts in A Hobbit a Wardrobe and a Great War is to place Tolkien and Lewis firmly back into their historical context to throw their work into relief by looking at the world in which they wrote Central to all of this is the warThe two men who became fast friends as professors at Oxford would seem to have had little in common Lewis was an Irishman of Ulster Protestant extraction and by the time he went to war a confirmed atheist Tolkien was a devout cradle Catholic reared in England For both men the experience that most shaped them was the war Loconte begins the book by examining the world into which they were born and through which they approached the war He gives time to explaining the Idea of Progress the belief in the steady upward march of Europe s scientific enlightened culture and its embodiment in social policies like eugenics He looks into Freudian psychology and the marriage of the era s Christianity to nationalism a union that produced war fever and the demonization of the enemy Scientific progress the devaluation of human life disregard for the soul and spirit and the prostitution of religion to the nation combined to make World War I uniuely ferociousInto this war marched millions of young men and Loconte by no means ignores the rest in his focus on Tolkien and Lewis He draws examples of how these young men reacted from classic sources like Robert Graves Wilfred Owen Siegfried Sassoon Ernst J nger and Erich Maria Remarue Their testimonials demonstrate the way the war cruelly almost mechanically ground down the spirits of the men sent into its trenchesTolkien and Lewis both suffered Tolkien served on the Somme one of the notorious meat grinders of the war and was eventually invalided out of the fight Lewis arrived later and despite distinguished service including the capture of a number of German prisoners was also wounded and spent months in hospital out of the action This experience was for both of them as for many others a source of bonding after the war References to it in their letters and papers are numerous it formed part of a shared vocabulary that informed and gave body to their imaginations Loconte does an excellent job of demonstrating this by drawing on their writings not just well known works like The Hobbit or The Chronicles of Narnia but their academic work letters and diaries I have to admit that I was skeptical about some of this at first as a few of the examples seemed to be little than superficial comparisons of events in for example The Lord of the Rings to conditions on the Somme But Loconte digs deep and provides explicit comparisons from the writers themselves Tolkien is particularly forthcoming about the influence of the war on his fiction My Sam Gamgee is indeed a reflection of the English soldier of the privates and batmen I knew in the 1914 war and recognized as so far superior to myself xvii And again The Dead Marshes owe something to Northern France after the Battle of the Somme 74 But beyond simply providing inspiration for specific scenes or landscapes in their work the war gave Tolkien and Lewis thematic material friendship loss and the desperate courage that makes up real heroism foremost among them Both men lost friends in the war Virtually the entirety of a prewar club to which Tolkien had belonged was killed off one by one in the fighting Lewis saw an older sergeant a man who had become almost like a father to the young officer senselessly killed in what may have been a friendly fire incident Like Tolkien he lost many of his school friends and fellow officers as well Nearly all my friends in the Battalion are gone 99 100 It was well after the war in the uiet environs of Oxford that Tolkien and Lewis met and formed their famous friendship Under the influence of Tolkien and others Lewis by now an agnostic moved to a vague theism and finally Christianity It was this friendship that made both men so productive and gave the world their still beloved and timeless workLoconte s book has two great strengths First it vividly depicts the reality of World War I combat in general and the actions in which Tolkien and Lewis were involved specifically I ve read a number of biographies of both men and they tend to skimp on detail about their combat experience I assume this is because most of these bios were written by literary scholars in addition to being a fan of Tolkien and Lewis I m a military historian so this book scratched an itch I ve been feeling for a while Like the rest of their generation Tolkien and Lewis were shaped in profound ways by the horror of the war and Loconte does an excellent job of showing thatSecond the focus in the early portions of the book on the world before the war and the comparison of Tolkien and Lewis s experiences to those of others of their generation makes their work fresh again Loconte shows just how countercultural these familiar men really were moving against the intellectual social and spiritual currents of their day scientism chronological snobbery and the denial of goodness heroism and truth Their works aren t relevant or timeless because they appeal to a generic Christian audience their work is timeless because they were men who looked outside their ruined generation for the eternal and did their best to reflect that back into the world through the imaginationThis to me is the central insight of Loconte s book and that alone makes it well worth reading A Hobbit a Wardrobe and a Great War is an excellent introduction to an often overlooked aspect of the lives of two literary and intellectual giants and their place in historyHighly recommended