Tolkien: A Thoroughly Modern Medievalist featuring Dr. Holly Ordway


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"One writes such a story [The Lord of the Rings] not out of the leaves of trees still to be observed, nor by means of botany and soil-science; but it grows like a seed in the dark out of the leaf-mold of the mind: out of all that has been seen or thought or read, that has long ago been forgotten, descending into the deeps."

- J.R.R. Tolkien

For this episode we are delighted to be joined by Dr. Holly Ordway, Fellow of Faith and Culture at the Word on Fire Institute. We discuss her recent title, Tolkien's Modern Reading: Middle-earth Beyond the Middle Ages, which addresses the claim that Tolkien read very little modern fiction, and took no serious notice of it. What Holly reveals is that Tolkien was in fact was intimately connected with the literature of his own time and concerned with the issues and crises of modernity.

In this episode we discuss Holly's book and also take an in-depth look at some of the themes in Tolkien's writings that may have been influenced by this interest in modern literature.

Hosts: Rachel Sherlock, Dr Holly Ordway

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Follow Holly on social media: @HollyOrdway

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Music: Ashton Manor by Kevin MacLeod

Works Mentioned

  • Tolkien’s Modern Reading: Middle-earth Beyond the Middle Ages by Dr Holly Ordway
  • "Imaginative Apologetics" by Dr Holly Ordway - Word on Fire Institute Course
  • The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
  • Tolkien and the Great War by John Garth
  • The House of the Wolfings by William Morris
  • “The Ruin”, Anglo-Saxon elegy

What We’re Enjoying at the Moment Holly: Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome Rachel: Inside by Bo Burnham

54 episodes