War of the Fantasy Worlds
C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien on Art and Imagination
Although J.R.R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis are usually associated with one another as friends and academic colleagues, they claim they did not influence each other’s work. Yet, we are told, Lewis remarked to Tolkien, “There is too little of what we really like in stories, I am afraid we shall have to write some ourselves.” They flipped a coin. As a result, Tolkien was to write about time and Lewis about space.
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This investigation focuses on C.S. Lewis’s and J.R.R. Tolkien’s contrasting views of art and imagination, which are key to understanding and interpreting their fantasy works, providing insight into their goals, themes, and techniques, as well as an appreciation of the value and impact of their mythologies.
Most scholarship about J.R.R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis describes their shared faith and academic interests or analyzes each writer’s fantasy works. War of the Fantasy Worlds: C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien on Art and Imagination is the first to focus solely on their contrasting concepts of fantasy. The authors’ views of art and imagination, the book shows, are not only central to understanding the themes, value, and relevance of their fantasy fiction, but are also strikingly different.
Understanding the authors’ thoughts about fantasy helps us better understand and appreciate their works. Yet, this book is not a critical analysis of The Lord of the Rings or The Chronicles of Narnia. Rather, it examines only elements of Tolkien’s and Lewis’s books that relate to their views about art, fantasy, and creativity, or the implementation of their theories. The result is a unique and altogether fascinating perspective on two of the most revered fantasy authors of all time.
- Compares and contrasts Tolkien's and Lewis's views of art and imagination, including their views about the value and purpose of fantasy literature and their attitudes toward allegory and religious meaning in fantasy
- Provides insights into their different artistic processes and goals as writers
- Describes their influences on one another and opinions of each other's fantasy works
- Draws on valuable information from the authors' letters, essays, and short fiction