Majesty & Grace IX: The Reign of Elizabeth Windsor, 1963-78: Part 2 – Multicultural Britons.

Present into Past – The Problem of Retrospection: The closer that social historians get to their own times, the harder it is for them to be sure they have hold of what is essential about the period in question: the more difficult it is to separate the rich tapestry of social life which appears onContinue reading “Majesty & Grace IX: The Reign of Elizabeth Windsor, 1963-78: Part 2 – Multicultural Britons.”

Majesty & Grace VIII: The Reign of Elizabeth Windsor – New Age, New Commonwealth & Popular Culture 1958-63.

The long and broad view of the British Economy: The economic historian, P. Calvocoressi, writing in 1978, provided a long view of the British economy from 1945 to 1975. He saw the failure of successive governments to manage it successfully as the result of their unwillingness to dismantle the ‘mixed’ economy model of private andContinue reading “Majesty & Grace VIII: The Reign of Elizabeth Windsor – New Age, New Commonwealth & Popular Culture 1958-63.”

Majesty & Grace VII: The Reign of Elizabeth Windsor – The Coronation; Dawn of a New Era & Dusk of Empire, 1953-58.

Map of the Coronation Procession, 2nd June 1953: The Map below commemorates a day which brought a sense of relief to the people of the United Kingdom after the trials and tribulations of the Second World War and the years of austerity which had followed it. The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II on 2nd JuneContinue reading “Majesty & Grace VII: The Reign of Elizabeth Windsor – The Coronation; Dawn of a New Era & Dusk of Empire, 1953-58.”

Majesty & Grace VI: The Life & Times of the Windsors, 1945-1952; George VI & The People’s Peace.

Above: British propaganda poster, ‘On to Japan!’, 1945 (The Bridgeman Art Library). Fighting Back in Malaya & Singapore: The State Opening of Parliament, which took place on 15th August 1945, saw a return to the pomp of pre-war years, with thousands of people lining the streets of London as the King and Queen travelled toContinue reading “Majesty & Grace VI: The Life & Times of the Windsors, 1945-1952; George VI & The People’s Peace.”

An Epilogue for Beren & Lúthien: Tolkien’s Last Years, 1966-1973 & The Work of Christopher Tolkien (-2017).

The Road Goes Ever on – Headington to Bournemouth: Although life retirement sometimes seemed ‘grey and grim’ to Tolkien, it also had many elements that suited him. For one thing, he and Edith, at last, had enough money. However, the tax authorities took a large proportion of his earnings, and on one occasion, Tolkien wroteContinue reading “An Epilogue for Beren & Lúthien: Tolkien’s Last Years, 1966-1973 & The Work of Christopher Tolkien (-2017).”

Faith, Fantasy & Fairy Tales – Tolkien, ‘Jack’ Lewis & ‘The Inklings’, 1926-66: Part Two – ‘Shadowy Abstractions’

There was a good stretch of time between Jack Lewis’s conversion on the way to Whipsnade and his writing of the Tales of Narnia. Throughout this time, while Tolkien was writing his Hobbit stories, Lewis was musing on the physical similarities that men and beasts have in common. This is why he felt that Kenneth Grahame, in The Wind in the Willows, made exactly the right choice in giving his principal character the form of a toad

Faith, Fantasy & Fairy Tales – Tolkien, ‘Jack’ Lewis & ‘The Inklings’, 1926-66: Part One – Creator & Sub-creators.

Entertaining Angels Unawares: When Tolkien returned to Oxford in 1925, an element was missing from his life. It had disappeared with the breaking of his fellowship of the TCBS at the Battle of the Somme, for not since those days had he enjoyed male friendship to the extent of emotional and intellectual commitment. He hadContinue reading “Faith, Fantasy & Fairy Tales – Tolkien, ‘Jack’ Lewis & ‘The Inklings’, 1926-66: Part One – Creator & Sub-creators.”

The Making of an English Mythology; from Reality to Fantasy and back again, 1917-1954: Tolkien’s Creative Years.

Following his recovery from the Somme and ‘trench fever’ on his return from France in 1916, Tolkien was determined to create an entire mythology for England. He had hinted at this during his undergraduate days at Oxford when he studied and wrote of the Finnish ‘Kalevala’:

“I would that we had more of it left – something of the sort that belonged to the English.”

This idea now grew during his recuperation until it reached ‘epic’ proportions. This is how Tolkien expressed it when recollecting many years later:

“Do not laugh! But once upon a time (my crest has long since fallen), I had a mind to make a body of more or less connected legend, ranging from the large to the cosmogonic to the level of romantic fairy-story – the larger founded on the lesser in contact with the earth, the lesser drawing splendour from the vast backcloths – which I could dedicate simply: to England, to my country. “