Volume 5, number 1 (April 2015)

JIS logoVolume 5, number 1 (April 2015)

Walter Hooper, 'Warnie's Problem: An Introduction to a Letter from C.S. Lewis to Owen Barfield'
No abstract available
C.S. Lewis, 'Letter to Owen Barfield' (1949)
No abstract available
Aren Roukema, 'A Veil that Reveals: Charles Williams and the Fellowship of the Rosy Cross'
Relatively little critical attention has been paid to Charles Williams’s ten year involvement in the Fellowship of the Rosy Cross (F.R.C.), despite the possibilities for interpretation and understanding of the often obscure imagery derived from this experience and applied to his novels and poetry. This paper reviews the F.R.C.’s rituals and meeting minutes in order to gauge the level of Williams’s involvement with the FR.C. and the mystical concepts communicated by its founder, Arthur Edward Waite. It also explores the order’s organizational, symbolic and philosophical roots, particularly the links shared with its parent order, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Having identified the historical and experiential contexts of Williams’s F.R.C. participation, the paper offers examples of the possibilities for interpretation created by greater awareness of the order’s ideas and practices. A number of Williams’s novels are explored in light of several occult concepts important to the F.R.C.—the ‘middle pillar’, the ‘higher self’, and the ‘end of desire’. This analysis indicates that comprehensive interpretation of Williams’s fiction and poetry is impossible without a thorough understanding of the ideas and symbols that he encountered in his ritual experiences. This analysis also demonstrates the importance of the modern occult context to Williams’s life and work.
Lynn Forest-Hill, 'Tree and flower and leaf and grass: Anachronism and J.R.R. Tolkien’s Botanical Semiotics'
Tolkien’s use of plants in his works has, over many years, been the subject of limited critical attention in spite of the diversity and complexity of that use. This paper examines a selection of Tolkien’s best-known botanical references from the perspectives of various literary theories, to reveal the significance of anachronism in The Lord of the Rings. This in turn highlights the levels and forms of interpenetration by the past into the present of Middle-earth. Although the past is explicit throughout the work, attention to plants associated with specific characters and events reveals a subtext of anxiety in which the past is constructed variously as a threat, a cause or a remedy, according to the familiar, mythic, ethical or symbolic connotations of the plants depicted within the framework of Middle-earth.
Benson Fraser and Terry Lindvall, 'Embalmed Images: C.S. Lewis and Cinema'
The article gleans an aesthetics of film from the writings of C. S. Lewis, showing complex, ambivalent, and cautious postures toward a medium that threatens an imaginative ‘death in the camera’.
Philip Mitchell, 'So Numerous, So Cheap, and So Changing: G. K. Chesterton and the Speed
of Modernity'
This article explores the trust in existence that allowed G. K. Chesterton in his occasional writing on cinema to bring together film with sculpture, automobiles, and the meaning of place and history. At the heart of his diverse concerns was wonder as a basic human need and as a basic source of engagement with the world. A sense of amateur play and of ontological dependence, he held, enables the reception of the gifts of the world, as does a slow, continuous attention to life and history. Against these, Chesterton opposed progressivism and Futurism as ideologies that flatten reality through grasping for control and for power; Rather than the experience of speed itself, modernity may contain ideological commitments that dampen, or even erase, joy. Loyalty to the world and its most fundamental givenness, for Chesterton, included a love of the past that opens us to the complexity and abundance of human life, and in turn orients us to a responsible posture before the present. To attend to the good world we must open ourselves repeatedly to its riches, well-aware that it is not dependent upon us.

Online Exclusives:

Michael Duggan, 'Tolkien and the Catholic Workers College: The Story of a Near Miss'
This article seeks to examine the possibility that Tolkien might have come into contact with the Catholic Social Guild and the Catholic Workers College. For a number of years, the Guild and College were based in the part of Oxford where Tolkien lived, worked and socialized. The article looks at the early days of the College, the education it provided and the people who formed its staff and student body, drawing on official histories and student memoirs. While not putting forward any decisive evidence of direct contact between Tolkien (or other members of the Inklings) and the Guild or College, the article examines what the outcome of any such contact might have been. It explores the thinking that informed the College (essentially the tradition of Catholic social doctrine initiated by the papal encyclical Rerum Novarum) and the backgrounds of those who worked and studied there, and looks for potential similarities and differences with respect to Tolkien’s own ideas, preferences and life experience.
Nathan Rupp, 'Owen Barfield, the Syllogism, and Vico's Middle Term
In order to fully grasp the manner in which people think and speak one must first understand the essential character of both the imagination in human reasoning as well as the middle term. At the core of deductive system is the syllogism. More than just a phase or claim in a set of propositions, the middle term is the connective that allows for one thought to move to another and to unite seemingly different things. As the connective in any thinking it allows for acts of imagination and creation as well as the acts of the pure logical reasoning. The syllogism is essentially the same as a metaphor. In this essay I will argue for a more metaphoric and so syllogistic way of thinking.

Book Reviews:
Deborah H. Higgens, Anglo-Saxon Community in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. Review by Nelson Goering

Monika B. Hilder, Surprised by the Feminine: A Rereading of C. S. Lewis and Gender. Review by Simon Vaughan

Mark Atherton, There and Back Again: J. R. R. Tolkien and the Origins of The Hobbit. Review by Trevor Hart

Jacob Schriftman, The C.S. Lewis Book on the Bible: What the Greatest Christian Writer Thought About the Greatest Book. Review by Paul Tankard

Stratford Caldecott and Thomas Honegger (eds), Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings: Sources of Inspiration. Review by Faith Liu