Perelandra Revisited

I’ve just had the pleasure of (re)reading Perelandra with my wife – it’s her first time, but one of many times I’ve read it. It’s possibly my favourite C S Lewis novel (against strong competition!). I first read it back when I was in secondary school, and it made a deep and lasting impression on […]

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The Joys of Rereading

So many books, so little time! I’m enjoying having more time for reading for pleasure now I’ve finished my MA. It’s sometimes possible to feel guilty about going back to reread books, when I’ve got so many unread books waiting for me. But you never actually read the same book twice. You never have the […]

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Why study Tolkien?

One of the modules I’m studying this semester is Tolkien’s Medievalism. J R R Tolkien was not only a fantasy writer, but also a distinguished scholar of medieval literature. His essay Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics remains influential to this day. The rich depth of his writing comes from his love of language and […]

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Alexander Solzhenitsyn Quotes: Will Beauty save the world?

One day Dostoevsky threw out the enigmatic remark: “Beauty will save the world”. What sort of a statement is that? For a long time I considered it mere words. How could that be possible? When in bloodthirsty history did beauty ever save anyone from anything? Ennobled, uplifted, yes – but whom has it saved? There […]

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Escapism vs Imagination

When someone accused J R R Tolkien of writing escapism, Tolkien apparently replied: “Maybe, but it’s not the escape of a deserter from the front lines, but of a prisoner from a cage.” These two types of escapism are a good description of the two ways that stories can function. Borrowing from Andrew Fellows from […]

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Are C S Lewis, J K Rowling and Philip Pullman overrated?

That was the question posed in the Books section of Outpost Gallifrey recently. You might not be surprised to read that my short answer is “No”, but hopefully my further observations might be of some interest… First of all, I really enjoy all three writers and their books. Secondly, in the interests of full disclosure, […]

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A Christian view of literature – part one

Part one in a series on a Christian view of literature, based on my undergraduate dissertation on that subject. Why do we need a Christian view of literature? Over forty years ago, literary critic Harry Blamires lamented in his book The Christian Mind,“There is no longer a Christian mind”. By this, he did not mean […]

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Glorifying God through studying

Dave Bish has written a couple of posts that particularly interested me recently, one on The Heart of Art, asking What does it look like to be a Christian artist – or indeed a Christian in any sphere of life?, and another responding to Christian students who said “I’d rather do evangelism than my course“. […]

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Of Man’s First Disobedience: Childhood and the Fall in Narnia and His Dark Materials

“I hate the Narnia books,” said Philip Pullman, author of the His Dark Materials trilogy, “and I hate them with deep and bitter passion, with their view of childhood as a golden age from which sexuality and adulthood are a falling away”. [link] The essay I found most interesting to write last year (and got […]

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Weekend away

This weekend Mackintosh Evangelical Church is having its weekend away. Philip Fayers is picking me up at three o’clock this afternoon to give me (among others) a lift down to Brunel Manor near Torquay. It should be a good weekend – I really feel at home at Mack: they’re a good bunch of people and […]

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