Volume 5, number 2 (October 2015)
Nelson Goering, 'The Fall of Arthur and The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún: A Metrical Review of Three Modern English Alliterative Poems'
J.R.R. Tolkien produced a considerable body of poetry in which he used the traditional alliterative metre of Old Norse and Old English to write modern English verse. This paper reviews three of his longer narrative poems, published in The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún and The Fall of Arthur, examining Tolkien’s alliterative technique in comparison to medieval poetry and to the metrical theories of Eduard Sievers. In particular, the two poems in The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún, which are adapted from Old Norse material, show a number of metrical and poetic features reminiscent of Tolkien’s sources in the Poetic Edda. The Fall of Arthur, on the other hand, is in a style that is, in detail and in general, strongly reminiscent of Old English poetry. Throughout all these compositions, Tolkien employs a distinctive alliterative style, closely based on medieval and philological models, but adjusted according to the linguistic needs of modern English and to his own preferences.
Yuxiao Su, 'C. S. Lewis’s Medieval Model and Literary Views'
This paper attempts to first give an introduction and appraisal of the unique contribution made by the English literary critic C. S. Lewis, towards a systematic presentation of the “Medieval Model”, the dominant cultural background that underlies most of the literary works in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance period. Then the paper analyses the relationship between the major features of the Medieval Model and four aspects of Lewis’s literary views, especially in reading and interpreting: namely, receptive reading, “built-in significance” of the text, respect for textual authorities, and seeking accord rather than discord in reading and interpreting. By doing so the paper reveals, on the one hand, how Lewis’s Model as described in The Discarded Image serves as an indispensable map for readers of Medieval and Renaissance literature; and on the other hand, how Lewis’s literary stand is deeply informed and inspired by this Model, in which he takes great delight.
William M.R. Simpson, 'The Science of Saruman: Nature, Structure and a Mind of Metal and Wheels'
Saruman sought to understand things mechanically by breaking them apart in his quest for power. The spirit of Saruman has cast a long shadow over the modern era of the West, imprisoning our notions of nature within the metaphor of the machine. If we are to encounter persons in a material cosmos we must exorcise the Sarumanic suggestion that the human (or hobbit) whole is no more than the sum of its mechanical parts.
Jeffrey Hipolito, 'Owen Barfield’s Orpheus'
This essay examines Owen Barfield’s reworking of Virgil’s account of the Orpheus myth in the fourth Georgic. It finds that while Barfield retains Virgil’s nesting-doll form he dramatically shifts the thematic focus. In particular, where Virgil’s Stoicism compels him to see Orpheus’s romantic longing for Eurydice as a failure of character, Barfield’s rendering suggests that romantic love both a reflection of and step in the direction of the selfless love towards which each character wittingly or unwittingly strives.
Abigail Santamaria, Joy: Poet, Seeker, and the Woman Who Captivated C. S. Lewis. Review by Doug Jackson
Charles Williams, The Chapel of the Thorn: A Dramatic Poem. Edited by Sørina Higgins. Review by Paul Blair
Jason Fisher (ed.), Tolkien and the Study of His Sources: Critical Essays. Review by Faith Liu