A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War

Greg Forster | September 22, 2015

Recently I finished reading my daughter The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. It was her first time hearing the story; it was my first time reading it since I read Joseph Loconte’s delightful yet sobering 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 1914–1918. The highest compliment I can think of to give this book is that Loconte, associate professor of history at The King’s College in New York City, has revealed to me new depths in Narnia, as well as in Middle-Earth and the Space Trilogy.

I’d been aware—who could miss it?—that all three were written in reaction against the de-Christianization of Western culture. The most delightful moment of Loconte’s book for me was this vignette: Lewis wrote the first book of the Space Trilogy in 1938 to confront readers with the biblical doctrine of the fall, and was dumbfounded when he discovered that no one who read the book saw the biblical connection. Rather than give up in despair, he concluded the public was now so theologically ignorant that, as he wrote to a friend, “Any amount of theology can now be…

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