The First World War laid waste to a continent and permanently altered the political and religious landscape of the West. For a generation of men and women, it brought the end of innocence—and the end of faith. Yet for J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, the Great War deepened their spiritual quest. Both men served as soldiers on the Western Front, survived the trenches, and used the experience of that conflict to ignite their Christian imagination. Had there been no Great War, there would have been no Hobbit, no Lord of the Rings, no Narnia, and perhaps no conversion to Christianity by C.S. Lewis.
Unlike a generation of young writers who lost faith in the God of the Bible, Tolkien and Lewis produced epic stories infused with the themes of guilt and grace, sorrow and consolation. Giving an unabashedly Christian vision of hope in a world tortured by doubt and disillusionment, the two writers created works that changed the course of literature and shaped the faith of millions. A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War: How J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis Rediscovered Faith, Friendship, and Heroism in the Cataclysm of 1914-1918is the first book to explore Tolkien and Lewis’ work in light of the spiritual crisis sparked by the conflict. Join FRC and Joseph Loconte to learn more about the circumstances which bound together and inspired these two dearly loved authors.
Joseph Loconte, PhD, is an Associate Professor of History at The King’s College in New York City, where he teaches Western Civilization and American Foreign Policy. Loconte previously served as a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the School of Public Policy at Pepperdine University, where he taught on religion and public policy. He was a Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C., and from 1999-2006 he held the first chair in religion as the William E. Simon Fellow at the Heritage Foundation.
Loconte has authored several books including The Searchers: A Quest for Faith in the Valley of Doubt (Thomas Nelson, 2012) and God, Locke, and Liberty: The Struggle for Religious Freedom in the West (Lexington Books, 2014). His commentary on religion and democracy, human rights, and international religious freedom appears in the nation’s leading media outlets, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The New Republic, The Weekly Standard, and National Public Radio. He is also a regular contributor to the London-based Standpoint Magazine and Italy’s La Stampa.