Episode 71 | Tolkien, Lewis, and the realities of War

Tolkien, Lewis, and the Realities of War with Joe Loconte

Trinity Forum Senior Fellow Joe Loconte joins our podcast to discuss the friendship and legacy of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. He highlights how their wartime experiences, and their subsequent refusal to become disillusioned and disenchanted in the aftermath of World War I allowed for some of the greatest works of literature in modern history.

In the moral and cultural tumult of the inter-war years, their example of resilience and imagination is inspiring. As Joe Loconte explains, they were using their art to actively resist the totalizing and dehumanizing ideologies that were ascendent in their day:

And it’s just no coincidence. They are deliberately pushing back, I think, in a way that, that some biographers have not maybe fully appreciated. They are pushing back in their writings against the totalitarian impulse and trying to defend the role of the individual, the choices that individuals have to make.

Joe Loconte reminds us of the surprising return of hope for those who look up—as Samwise Gamgee says in the Lord of the Rings, ”In the end the shadow was only a small and passing thing. There was light and high beauty forever beyond its reach.”

This podcast is an edited version of an online conversation recorded in 2020. Watch the full video of the conversation here, and learn more about Joe Loconte here.

Authors and books mentioned in the conversation:
C.S. Lewis
J.R.R. Tolkien
The Searchers: A Quest for Faith in the Valley of Doubt, by Joe Loconte
The End of Illusions: Religious Leaders Confront Hitler’s Gathering Storm, by Joe Loconte
God, Locke, and Liberty: The Struggle for Religious Freedom in the West, by Joe Loconte
A Hobbit, A Wardrobe, and A Great War, by Joe Loconte
Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis
John Locke
Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
Scott Fitzgerald
Ernest Hemingway
Erich Maria Remarque
The Wasteland, by T. S. Eliot
The Inner Ring, by C.S. Lewis
Owen Barfield
Hugo Dyson
Phantastes, by George MacDonald
The Four Loves, by C.S. Lewis

Related Trinity Forum Readings:
A Time to Stand, by Helmuth James von Moltke
Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
Children of Light and Children of Darkness, by Reinhold Niebuhr
The Golden Key, by George MacDonald

Related Conversations:
Rebuilding our Common Life with Yuval Levin
The Challenge of Christian Nationalism with Mark Noll and Vincent Bacote
The Decadent Society with Ross Douthat
Science, Faith, Trust and Truth with Francis Collins
Beyond Ideology with Peter Kreeft and Eugene Rivers
Justice, Mercy, and Overcoming Racial Division with Claude Alexander and Mac Pier
Healing a Divided Culture with Arthur Brooks
After Babel with Andy Crouch and Johnathan Haidt
Trust, Truth, and The Knowledge Crisis with Bonnie Kristian
Hope in an Age of Anxiety with Curtis Chang & Curt Thompson
Advent: the Season of Hope with Tish Harrison Warren
Caroling Christmas and Christian Formation with Keith Getty

To listen to this or any of our episodes in full, visit ttf.org/podcast and to join the Trinity Forum Society and help make content like this possible, join the Trinity Forum Society

Special thanks to Ned Bustard for our podcast artwork.