TOLKIEN AND MODERNITY
by Stratford Caldecott | Source: www.review.humanitas.cl
Was J.R.R. Tolkien a
modern writer? The author of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion is undoubtedly
"modern" in the sense that he lived in our own historical period (he died in 1973). Furthermore, his
writing is extraordinarily popular with modern readers. But critics often allege that he was not
modern but rather pre-modern in his approach to literature, and certainly they are right in the
sense that it was ancient storytelling traditions and Anglo-Saxon literature such as Beowulf that
particularly inspired him. His book contained many archaic elements. It was not, however, archaic or
pre-modern in itself. The Lord of the Rings is a novel with modern concerns. It could not have been
written in an earlier age. It contains an implicit but very strong critique of modernity – of
aspects and tendencies of the modern world – such as globalization, socialism, and reliance on
technology. But is this regressive or progressive? Only time will tell.
2013, IV, pp. 386-399
Join the new media evangelization. Your tax-deductible gift allows Catholic.net to build a culture of life in our nation and throughout the world. Please help us promote the Church's new evangelization by donating to Catholic.net right now. God bless you for your generosity.