A new study revealing the spiritual intensity of Middle EarthDigging deep into J. R. R. Tolkien’s spiritual biography—his religious scholarship and his love of both Christian and pagan myth—Stratford Caldecott offers a critical study of how the acclaimed author effectively created a vivid Middle Earth using the familiar rites and ceremonies of human history. And while readers and moviegoers alike may appreciate the fantasy world of The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy, few know that in life, Tolkien was a devout Roman Catholic and that the characters, the events, and the general morality of each novel are informed by the dogmas of his faith. Revised and updated, this acclaimed study of Tolkien’s achievement—previously released as Secret Fire in the UK—includes commentary on Peter Jackson’s film adaptations and explores many of the fascinating stories and letters published after Tolkien’s death.
Reviews"If anyone asks me what one book about Tolkien is the most worth reading, The Power of the Ring is my reply." —Peter Kreeft, professor of philosophy, Boston College, and author, Socratic Logic
"A superb book that blends academic rigor with a clear passion for the subject." —Christian Marketplace
"Stratford Caldecott, who has been delighting discerning readers for years with his sparkling writings on religious and spiritual subjects, has produced a masterful guide to the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. Finally the Christian riches of The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion, The Hobbit, and Tolkien's other masterpieces shine forth for all to enjoy. An indispensable guide to the most popular author of modern times." —Philip Zaleski, editor, The Best Spiritual Writing series
"Caldecott's work is a delight to read, with fascinating insights on nearly every page as he discusses the riches of Tolkien's work." —The Sower
"This book will be welcomed by those interested in the deep theological underpinnings of Tolkien's works, and is recommended to academic libraries supporting upper level coursework on Tolkien or religion and literature." —Daniel Boice, Catholic Library World
"A literally wonderful—wonder-full—book. It will open the eyes of any reader who considers The Lord of the Rings just a gripping yarn in a fantasy world. Tolkien's 'vision'—Caldecott makes it clear the word is just right—draws on deep springs of philosophy and mysticism—and, not least, the orthodoxy of the church." —Aidan Nichols OP
" [...] Caldecott examines and elucidates the underlying Christian aspect of Tolkien’s symbolism within his fantastical universe. A thoughtful reader with no religious background will learn much about the complexity of Tolkien’s fictitious universe [...] The trilogy is much more than a whimsical fairyland; behind it lies a profound knowledge of ancient mythopoeic tradition, baptized by a Catholic imagination." —Francis Phillips, The Catholic Herald
Author BiographyStratford Caldecott is the director of the Centre for Faith and Culture in Oxford, England, and the author of All Things Made New, Beauty for Truth’s Sake, and Beauty in the Word.