The John Jay Institute and Georgia Center for Opportunity co-hosted a lecture held at Whitefield Academy in Mableton, GA, last Thursday titled “C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the Great War.” The lecture was given by Dr. Joseph Loconte, an Associate Professor of History at The King’s College in New York.
In his lecture, Dr. Loconte brilliantly demonstrates how the Great War (WWI) shaped both C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien’s outlook on the world, who were both soldiers in the war and experienced the horror of the deadliest conflict known to man up to that era. He reveals how the war’s impact can be seen in these author’s extraordinary works of literature, drawing from examples in the Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings to highlight ways in which the authors weave in themes of friendship, noble sacrifice, the corruption of power, and the necessity of grace to overcome the power of evil.
Of special interest is the way in which these two men’s close friendship impacted their writing and set them apart from other writers and poets of their day, a number of whom became disillusioned by the evils they saw in the world. Lewis and Tolkien’s works provide an air of hope amid the sad reality of war and suffering, which stemmed from their belief in the redemption that is still to come.
Watch the lecture here: