Sunday, August 22, 2010

JRR Tolkien versus CS Lewis

TVO's Big Ideas recently (August 13) reran a lecture from 2004, which, with some provisos is worth mentioning. (feed)

Ralph Wood delivered a comparative talk about JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis. The lecture gives a great insight in the way both authors worked and what their creative standards were. Wood also makes an attempt into summing up their qualities and measuring their influence. By all means, both are very influential and well known especially as fantasy writers.

Does it hurt to be aware both were Christian authors? I would argue to say no, even if Lewis had a certain evangelizing streak about him. For Wood, however, the authors' faith is the whole reason he wants to lecture about them, present them as influential writers and evaluate their strengths and qualities. In my opinion it makes for a few awkward phrases in the lecture. Worse still, is that Wood makes the whole comparison take on the character of a competition in which he pits the authors against each other and make them score points creating a superfluous suspense who is going to be found to be the winner. Eventually, the lecture is good enough to compensate for these putting off traits. Anyone interested in these authors will have a lot to enjoy.

More Big Ideas:
Malcolm Gladwell,
The Age of Inequality,
Disappearing cultures,
Waiting for Godot,
Religion as culture - Camille Paglia.
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