Archives For JRR Tolkien

 

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(Bill McKibben, James McBride, JRR Tolkien, MORE)

 

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#1:
The End of Nature

Bill McKibben

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BOOKS AND CULTURE reviews
Two new books on CS Lewis and Interdependence

http://www.christianitytoday.com/bc/2009/julaug/digwholes.html

“The world is like a drunken peasant. If you lift him into the saddle on one side, he will fall off again on the other side.” Thus Martin Luther in his Table Talk. His words would serve well as a description of the history of Inklings scholarship. The earliest such scholarly studies argued that the Inklings (Lewis, Tolkien, Charles Williams, Owen Barfield, et al.) were possessed of “a corporate mind” and that their works had a “similar orientation,” “essentially uniform,” “clearly defined.” So claimed John Wain, a junior member of the Inklings, and various others. But this consensus was toppled from the saddle by Humphrey Carpenter, who maintained, by way of contrast, that the Inklings showed “scant resemblance” to one another and “that on nearly every issue they stand far apart.” Carpenter’s view, which he bolstered with evidence from senior Inklings who themselves claimed not to have influenced one another at all, has sat lumpenly in place since he published his study in 1979.

Diana Pavlac Glyer has now toppled the Carpenter view. But rather than allowing the cycle of drunken saddlings and re-saddlings to repeat itself, she has thoughtfully poured buckets of clear cold water over the entire subject. Fully sobered up at last, Inklings scholarship is for the first time able to sit straight, inclining neither to the view that the group was reliably homogeneous, nor to the view that its members were utterly immiscible. Thesis. Antithesis. Synthesis. It’s a typical scholarly progression. But how long it has taken!

Read the full review:
http://www.christianitytoday.com/bc/2009/julaug/digwholes.html

The Company They Keep:
C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien as Writers in Community
.
Diana Pavlac Glyer

Paperback: Kent State UP, 2008
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

Narnia and the Fields of Arbol:
The Environmental Vision of C.S. Lewis
.
Matthew Dickerson and David O’Hara

Hardback: Univ. Press of Kentucky, 2009
Buy now:   [ Amazon ]


FIRST THINGS reviews
CATHOLIC AND FEMINIST
by Mary Henold.
http://www.firstthings.com/article/2009/02/002-church-ladies-12

I have never met a nun—there was a time when this would have been a truly bizarre statement from an American Catholic. Nuns were everywhere: running the schools, staffing the hospitals, flocking like slightly ominous birds in their easily recognizable habits. Nonetheless, many Catholics these days know no nuns—a fact that came to mind while reading Mary J. Henold’s new book Catholic and Feminist. Although she doesn’t quite acknowledge it, Henold’s work is in part the story of how a way of life vanished and took the ubiquitous nuns with it.

Many aspects of American Catholic life in the early 1960s—Catholic and Feminist covers only the period from the Second Vatican Council to the early 1980s—were troubling. There were structural inequalities in the Church for which (at least by Henold’s accounting) no theological justification was even attempted: a Catholic contact directory, for example, that listed (male) hospital chaplains but not (mostly female) hospital supervisors. One doesn’t need to be a feminist to wonder what possible purpose this could have served. Catholic and Feminist also features several stories of churchmen being palpably, personally hostile to the emerging Catholic feminists in ways that were not only counterproductive but ungracious. A snarling monsignor is not exactly a witness to the gospel of humility.

Read the full review:
http://www.firstthings.com/article/2009/02/002-church-ladies-12

Catholic and Feminist:
The Surprising History of the American Catholic Feminist Movement

Mary J. Henold

Hardback: UNC Press, 2008.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]


BookForum reviews Nic Brown’s
Novel FLOODMARKERS
http://bookforum.com/review/4090

Nic Brown’s Floodmarkers is set in 1989, but in its fractured portrait of small-town American life, it feels considerably older—a Winesburg, Ohio run through with Gen-X slang. Like Sherwood Anderson, Brown is essentially a still-life artist; he eschews plot for portraiture, the linear for the lateral. “His instinct was to present everything together, as in a dream,” Malcolm Cowley once wrote of Anderson. So, too, with Brown, whose first novel scatters brilliantly in a dozen directions at once, without advancing a single day.

Floodmarkers is set in Lystra, a fictional North Carolina burg caught in the path of a very real natural disaster. As the narrative begins, at four in the morning on September 21, Hurricane Hugo, a swirling Category 5 monster, has barreled up the coast from the tropics and seems poised to peter out somewhere over the town. “Inland North Carolina always got weather like this, unraveling hurricanes dropping huge amounts of rain as they blew in across the Piedmont,” Brown writes of the storm’s first tendrils.

Read the full review:
http://bookforum.com/review/4090

FLOODMARKERS: A Novel.
Nic Brown.

Paperback: Counterpoint, 2009.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]