J. R. R. Tolkien’s Work Transcends ‘Wokeness’

Gandalf (Ian McKellen) in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. (Trailer image via YouTube)
On the Tolkien Society’s misguided descent into contemporary pieties.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE ‘A fter the annihilating traumas of the last century, it’s merely perverse to ascribe greatness to this airy but strangely simplified mock Teutonic never-never land, where races and species intermingle at will and great battles are fought but there is never any remotely convincing treatment of those fundamental human concerns through which all societies ultimately define themselves — religion, philosophy, politics, and the conduct of sexual relations,” Andrew Rissik wrote in the year 2000 in the Guardian. Rissik was by no means alone in his criticism of what was then being recognized as the most popular book of the 20th century.

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Bradley J. Birzer holds the Russell Amos Kirk Chair in American Studies at Hillsdale College, where he is a professor of history. He is the author of J. R. R. Tolkien’s Sanctifying Myth (2002) and The Inklings: Tolkien and the Men of the West (forthcoming).

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