Chesterton and Tolkien as Theologians

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9780567390417: Chesterton and Tolkien as Theologians

This book takes Chesterton's 'natural theology' through fairytales seriously as a theological project appropriate to an intellectual attempt to return to faith in a secular age. It argues that Tolkien's fiction makes sense also as the work of a Catholic writer steeped in Chestertonian ideas and sharing his literary-theological poetics.

While much writing on religious fantasy moves quickly to talk about wonder, Milbank shows that this has to be hard won and that Chesterton is more akin to the modernist writers of the early twentieth-century who felt quite dislocated from the past. His favoured tropes of paradox, defamiliarization and the grotesque have much in common with writers like T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound and James Joyce and their use of the demotic as well as the 'mythic method'.

Using Chesterton's literary rhetoric as a frame, the book sets out to chart a redemptive poetics that first decentres the reader from his habitual perception of the world, then dramatizes his self-alienation through the grotesque, before finding in that very alienation a sort of pharmakon through paradox and an embrace of difference. The next step is to change one's vision of the world beyond the self through magic which, paradoxically, is the means by which one can reconnect with the physical world and remove the fetishism and commodification of the object. Chesterton's theology of gift is the means in which this magic becomes real and people and things enter into reciprocal relations that reconnect them with the divine.

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About the Author:

Alison Milbank is an Associate Professor in Literature and Theology at the University of Nottingham, UK. She was formerly John Rylands Research Institute Fellow at the University of Manchester, UK, and taught at the Universities of Cambridge, UK, Middlesex, UK, and Virginia, USA.

Review:

"The fictional worlds of Chesterton and Tolkien are not only theological but also deeply Augustinian: they show us universes in which creatures exchange gifts with one another and with God. So argues Alison Milbank, with verve and brilliance, in this finely conceived and beautifully written book."
Kevin Hart, The University of Virginia (Kevin Hart)

"Sure to be sought out by Tolkien and Chesterton aficionados." (Publishing News)

"Neither Chesterton nor Tolkien has received the quality of critical attention their work deserves, but Alison Milbank's remarkable book - as good as anything that has been written so far about either author - does much to remedy that deficiency. So far the field of Chesterton and Tolkien criticism has largely been divided between fierce celebrants and equally fierce detractors, and almost all parties seem to have missed the rich cultural and intellectual contexts from which these authors' works grow. By exploring these contexts - the Catholic encounter with modernity, the conscious and unconscious preservation of ancient folk traditions, the 'fair and perilous' land of Faery - Milbank performs a great service for these writers and their many readers." (Alan Jacobs)

"In this enjoyable book the imaginary worlds of Chesterton and Tolkien are explored in order to show their shared basis in a dynamic theology of creation and incarnation, an essential aspect in the revival of Christian imagination today."
Benedicta Ward SLG, Reader in Christian Spirituality, Oxford University, UK (Benedicta Ward SLG, Reader in Christian Spirituality, Oxford University, UK)

'a fascinating discussion of the moral obligations implicit in Tolkien's world...a stimulating read.'
Raymond Edwards, The Tablet (The American Spectator)

"Alison Milbank, of the University of Nottingham, aims to show how Chesterton's theology, and especially his ideas on faërie, influenced Tolkien's writing. This interesting subject produces no leisurely read, but a sophisticated analysis of the thought and works of both authors. Milbank expertly compares the writer's ideas on imagination, the grotesque, paradoxes, and the idea of the gift. This is hardly traditional theology!...it should be considered essential for academic libraries supporting graduate work in English literature." - Daniel Boice, Catholic Library World, September 2008 (Daniel Boice Catholic Library World)

"The astonishingly high cost of this slim volume is unfortunate, and will limit its availability..." - Daniel Boice, Catholic Library World, September 2008 (Daniel Boice Catholic Library World)

"I would like to think that Milbank's outstanding book, if it achieves nothing else, will make [fans] return to The Lord of the Rings with an enhanced appreciation for the depth, complexity and purpose of the world he created; and maybe, just maybe, entice some of them to the Chestertonian well from which it sprang." - Waterstone's Watford, www.waterstones.com

"Milbank has gifted us with what may well become our finest study of these Catholic artists in their unique relation not only to each other but also to our imagination-starved churches and culture." First Things: The Journal of Religion, Culture and Public Life

Mention —Theology Digest, Summer 2006

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Book Description Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, United Kingdom, 2009. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. This book takes Chesterton s natural theology through fairytales seriously as a theological project appropriate to an intellectual attempt to return to faith in a secular age. It argues that Tolkien s fiction makes sense also as the work of a Catholic writer steeped in Chestertonian ideas and sharing his literary-theological poetics. While much writing on religious fantasy moves quickly to talk about wonder, Milbank shows that this has to be hard won and that Chesterton is more akin to the modernist writers of the early twentieth-century who felt quite dislocated from the past. His favoured tropes of paradox, defamiliarization and the grotesque have much in common with writers like T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound and James Joyce and their use of the demotic as well as the mythic method . Using Chesterton s literary rhetoric as a frame, the book sets out to chart a redemptive poetics that first decentres the reader from his habitual perception of the world, then dramatizes his self-alienation through the grotesque, before finding in that very alienation a sort of pharmakon through paradox and an embrace of difference. The next step is to change one s vision of the world beyond the self through magic which, paradoxically, is the means by which one can reconnect with the physical world and remove the fetishism and commodification of the object. Chesterton s theology of gift is the means in which this magic becomes real and people and things enter into reciprocal relations that reconnect them with the divine. Bookseller Inventory # AAV9780567390417

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Book Description Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, United Kingdom, 2009. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.This book takes Chesterton s natural theology through fairytales seriously as a theological project appropriate to an intellectual attempt to return to faith in a secular age. It argues that Tolkien s fiction makes sense also as the work of a Catholic writer steeped in Chestertonian ideas and sharing his literary-theological poetics. While much writing on religious fantasy moves quickly to talk about wonder, Milbank shows that this has to be hard won and that Chesterton is more akin to the modernist writers of the early twentieth-century who felt quite dislocated from the past. His favoured tropes of paradox, defamiliarization and the grotesque have much in common with writers like T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound and James Joyce and their use of the demotic as well as the mythic method . Using Chesterton s literary rhetoric as a frame, the book sets out to chart a redemptive poetics that first decentres the reader from his habitual perception of the world, then dramatizes his self-alienation through the grotesque, before finding in that very alienation a sort of pharmakon through paradox and an embrace of difference. The next step is to change one s vision of the world beyond the self through magic which, paradoxically, is the means by which one can reconnect with the physical world and remove the fetishism and commodification of the object. Chesterton s theology of gift is the means in which this magic becomes real and people and things enter into reciprocal relations that reconnect them with the divine. Bookseller Inventory # AAV9780567390417

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Book Description Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, United Kingdom, 2009. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. This book takes Chesterton s natural theology through fairytales seriously as a theological project appropriate to an intellectual attempt to return to faith in a secular age. It argues that Tolkien s fiction makes sense also as the work of a Catholic writer steeped in Chestertonian ideas and sharing his literary-theological poetics. While much writing on religious fantasy moves quickly to talk about wonder, Milbank shows that this has to be hard won and that Chesterton is more akin to the modernist writers of the early twentieth-century who felt quite dislocated from the past. His favoured tropes of paradox, defamiliarization and the grotesque have much in common with writers like T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound and James Joyce and their use of the demotic as well as the mythic method . Using Chesterton s literary rhetoric as a frame, the book sets out to chart a redemptive poetics that first decentres the reader from his habitual perception of the world, then dramatizes his self-alienation through the grotesque, before finding in that very alienation a sort of pharmakon through paradox and an embrace of difference. The next step is to change one s vision of the world beyond the self through magic which, paradoxically, is the means by which one can reconnect with the physical world and remove the fetishism and commodification of the object. Chesterton s theology of gift is the means in which this magic becomes real and people and things enter into reciprocal relations that reconnect them with the divine. Bookseller Inventory # BZE9780567390417

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