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Remembering J. R. R. Tolkien:
January 3, 1892 to September 2, 1973

446 words

“I am in fact a Hobbit.”—J. R. R. Tolkien

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien is a favorite author of New Left “hippies” and New Right nationalists, and for pretty much the same reasons. Tolkien deeply distrusted modernization and industrialization, which replace organic reciprocity between man and nature with technological dominion of man over nature, a relationship that deforms and devalues both poles.

But philosophically and politically, Tolkien was much closer to the New Right than the New Left. Tolkien was a conservative and a race realist. His preferences ran toward non-constitutional monarchy in the capital and de facto anarchy in the provinces, but he recognized that state control can be minimized only in a society with a deep reverence for tradition and a high regard for individual honor and self-restraint.

Many of Tolkien’s most fervent New Right admirers are neo-pagans. But Tolkien himself was a devout Roman Catholic traditionalist, albeit one with a deep love of pre-Christian myth, epic, and tradition. And although The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, with their many themes from Norse and Celtic mythology, resonate especially with pagans, the ultimate mythological framework of Middle Earth, particularly as expressed in the posthumous work The Silmarillion, is biblical in inspiration, with a creator God (Eru Ilúvatar), a devil (Melkor), a fall, and even a hint of the necessity of a divine incarnation to save creation.

In honor of Tolkien’s birthday, I wish first to draw your attention to several works on this website:

For more background on Tolkien’s life and work, I recommend two introductory books, which are accessible even to teenagers: Leslie Ellen Jones’ Myth and Middle-Earth: Exploring the Medieval Legends Behind J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and Bradley Birzer’s J. R. R. Tolkien’s Sanctifying Myth: Understanding Middle-Earth. The most thorough and serious biography and overall interpretation of Tolkien is Joseph Pearce’s Tolkien: Man and Myth.

For those who need no introduction, there is no better commemoration than to spend a winter evening snug in one’s own Hobbit hole reading the works of the man himself (or watching Peter Jackson’s masterly and inspiring movies of The Lord of the Rings).


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  1. Posted January 13, 2016 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    Another brilliant and insightful piece by the one and only Greg Johnson.

    “Give with a free hand, but give only your own.”
    – Sador, from Narn i Hîn Húrin: The Childhood of Túrin by J.R.R. Tolkien

    Trends in the Church are…..serious, especially to those accustomed to find in it a solace and a ‘pax’ in times of temporal trouble, and not just another arena of strife and change.
    JRR Tolkien, The Lion Christian Quotation Collection, p.321

  2. R_Moreland
    Posted January 4, 2016 at 3:59 am | Permalink

    Since Peter Jackson is so intent on extracting every last dollar out of the Tolkien franchise, here’s an idea: Why doesn’t he make a movie out of the Scouring of the Shire?

    The omission of the Scouring from the LOTR film trilogy was a major, well, omission, given that in the novel it was the payoff for all the travails and trekking of the Hobbits. The relevant cast members could be rounded up for one more go at it, Christopher Lee can perhaps be CGIed back into existence, and voila…one more movie in the series!

    There is that matter of Saruman and Wormtongue being killed in the extended version of Return of the King, but I am sure we can come up with any number of creative ways around that…like maybe these were just clones left behind at Isengard to fool the Fellowship.

    Seriously, there is an opportunity here for Jackson or some other enterprising film maker to do something great.

  3. Peter Quint
    Posted January 3, 2016 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Robert E. Howard wrote a few stories that can be interpreted as allegorical about the jews. The best one is “The Shadow Kingdom” featuring King Kull. Kull discovers that many of the officials in his regime were actually serpent men whom could assume a human appearance. Kull’s palace was a beehive of secret hallways and rooms; the serpent men had been killing kings for centuries and replacing them with one of their own. It makes one wonder how much Robert E. Howard knew about the jewish question. Anyways, if you have not read “The Shadow Kingdom,” you should it’s a great story.

  4. Posted January 3, 2016 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Happy 114th Birthday Ol’ man Tolkien. You left this fallen world better off than the way you found it. Now it’s up to us to do the same.

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