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Light Beyond All Shadow

Religious Experience in Tolkien's Work

Paul E. Kerry and Sandra Miesel - Contributions by Russell W. Dalton; Matthew Dickerson; Colin Duriez; Julian Tim Morton Eilmann; Christopher Garbowski; Glen Robert Gill; Roger Ladd; Robert Lazu; Jared Lobdell; John Warwick Montgomery and Anne C. Petty

What forms can religious experience take in a world without cult or creed? Organized religion is notably absent from J. R. R. Tolkien's Secondary Universe of elves, dwarves, men and hobbits despite the author's own deep Catholic faith. Tolkien stated that his goal was 'sub-creating' a universe whose natural form of religion would not directly contradict Catholic theology. Essays in Light Beyond All Shadows examine the full sweep of Tolkien's legendarium, not only The Lord of the Rings but also The Hobbit, The Silmarillion and The History of Middle-Earth series plus Peter Jackson's film trilogy. Contributions to Light Beyond All Shadows probe both the mind of the maker and the world he made to uncover some of his fictional strategies, such as communicating through imagery. They suggest that Tolkien's Catholic imagination was shaped by the visual appeal of his church's worship and iconography. They seek other influences in St. Ignatius Loyola's meditation technique and St. Philip Neri's 'Mediterranean' style of Catholicism. They propose that Tolkien communicates his story through Biblical typology familiar in the Middle Ages as well as mythic imagery with both Christian and pagan resonances. They defend his 'comedy of grace' from charges of occultism and Manichaean dualism. They analyze Tolkien's Christian friends the Inklings as a supportive literary community. They show that within Tolkien's world, Nature is the Creator's first book of revelation. Like its earlier companion volume, The Ring and the Cross, edited by Paul E. Kerry, scholarship gathered in Light Beyond All Shadows aids appreciation of what is real, meaningful, and truthful in Tolkien's work.
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University Press Copublishing Division / Fairleigh Dickinson University Press
Pages: 234Size: 6 x 9
978-1-61147-010-9 • Hardback • July 2011 • $79.00 • (£52.95)
978-1-61147-622-4 • Paperback • June 2013 • $39.99 • (£24.95)
Paul E. Kerry is an associate professor of history at Brigham Young University, research associate at Corpus Christi College and visiting fellow at the Woolf Institute, Cambridge. Sandra Miesel holds mastersO degrees in biochemistry and medieval history from the University of Illinois. She is the co-author of The Da Vinci Hoax: Exposing the Errors in The Da Vinci Code and has written numerous articles for the Catholic press.
1 Preface
2 Acknowledgements
Chapter 3 Introduction: Exploring Tolkien's Universe
Chapter 4 Water, Ecology, and Spirituality in Tolkien's Middle-Earth
Chapter 5 Divine Contagion-On the Nature in The Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings
Chapter 6 Reflections of Christendom in the Mythopoeic Iconography of Middle-Earth
Chapter 7 The Biblical Structure of The Lord of the Rings
Chapter 8 Ymagynatyf and J.R.R. Tolkien's Roman Catholicism, Catholic Theology, Religion in The Lord of the Rings
Chapter 9 I am the Song, Music, Poetry, and the Transcendental in J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-Earth
Chapter 10 Tolkien: Lord of the Occult?
Chapter 11 The Fantastic Secret of Tolkien's Fairy Tales: Literature and Jesuit Spiritual Exercises
Chapter 12 Life-Giving Ladies: Women in the Writings of J.R.R. Tolkien
Chapter 13 Where two or three are gathered: Tolkien and the Inklings
Chapter 14 Peter Jackson, Evil, and the Temptation of Films at the Cracks of Doom
Chapter 15 Songs of Innocence and Experience, or, What Remains of Tolkien's "Catholic" Tale in Jackson's The Lord of Rings
16 Bibliography
17 Biographical Entries
These essays. . . offer some insight into the interpretation of Tolkein's work.
Literature and Theology