An Epilogue for Beren & Lúthien: Tolkien’s Last Years, 1966-1973

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”

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

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. “

J. R. R. Tolkien & Birmingham, 1896-1916: The Formative Years, Part One (to 1908) – Middle English

The South African Prelude – Beginnings in Bloemfontein: Arthur Reuel Tolkien and Mabel Suffield (pictured above in the family group), both from Birmingham, were married in Cape Town Cathedral on 16th April 1891, after which came an exhausting railway journey of nearly seven hundred miles to the capital of the Orange Free State. Less thanContinue reading “J. R. R. Tolkien & Birmingham, 1896-1916: The Formative Years, Part One (to 1908) – Middle English”

What is the ‘Juneteenth’ Celebration? – A Briefing for Students & Teachers of Black (African-American) History.

Ten Key Questions: Why was Juneteenth celebrated? Where did most slaves work before the Civil War? Between 1865 and 1954, how were the lives of black people in the South different from those in the North? Why was Dr King so important in the fight for civil rights? How was Martin Luther King killed inContinue reading “What is the ‘Juneteenth’ Celebration? – A Briefing for Students & Teachers of Black (African-American) History.”

The Book of Exodus and Hebrew Law & Wisdom in its Ancient Eastern Context

The Covenant and the Torah: Closely associated with the story of the exodus in the Old Testament is that of how the Israelites journeyed to a mountain where Yahweh ratified a covenant between himself and his people. There is still a great deal of uncertainty about this mountain of Israel’s destiny. Its very name isContinue reading “The Book of Exodus and Hebrew Law & Wisdom in its Ancient Eastern Context”

‘Cry God for Queen Bess, England and St Cuthbert….!’ How did George become England’s Patron Saint? 

Follow your spirit; and upon this charge Cry God for Harry, England and St George! William Shakespeare, Henry V, Part One. England hasn’t really got a national anthem….The Irish, the Scots and the Welsh all have anthems, the Americans have the cheek to sing ‘My Country ’tis of thee’ to the tune of ‘God Save the Queen‘, but what do theContinue reading “‘Cry God for Queen Bess, England and St Cuthbert….!’ How did George become England’s Patron Saint? “

Six Scenes from the English Civil War: Vignettes of Colonel John Hutchinson – Roundhead, Radical & Regicide.

Scenes from an unpublished play, ‘Vignettes of Colonel Hutchinson’ written (in typescript) in the early 1960s by Rev Arthur James Chandler, then Pastor of Daybrook Baptist Church in Nottingham, edited with added historical notes by Dr Andrew James Chandler. Background: The Outbreak of the First Civil War in England: On 4 January 1642, Charles IContinue reading “Six Scenes from the English Civil War: Vignettes of Colonel John Hutchinson – Roundhead, Radical & Regicide.”

More on Poetry & History: The Middle Marches of Wales, the Welsh Bards & the Love Poems of Dafydd ap Gwilym.

The Conquest of ‘the Middle March’ & The Mortimers, 1240-1330: Searching for the history behind the legend of the ‘Massacre of the Five Hundred Bards’ entails a more detailed understanding of the nature and events surrounding ‘royal Montgomery’ and what became known as ‘the Middle March’, including the lands held (often temporarily) by the MortimerContinue reading “More on Poetry & History: The Middle Marches of Wales, the Welsh Bards & the Love Poems of Dafydd ap Gwilym.”

C. S. Lewis’s Tales of Narnia, from Genesis to ‘Shadowlands’ – Stealing Past Dragons.

A Life Between Faith and Literature: Clive Staples Lewis became the most popular defender of orthodox Christianity in the English-speaking world in the mid-twentieth century. Born in Belfast in 1898, he was brought up an Anglican and educated at Malvern College. As a young man, C. S. Lewis had served in the trenches of WorldContinue reading “C. S. Lewis’s Tales of Narnia, from Genesis to ‘Shadowlands’ – Stealing Past Dragons.”