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Tolkien's Love of Germanic Myth

"Though J.R.R. Tolkien arrived at Exeter College as a Classics (Great Books) scholar, he found his real passion resided in Germanic and Northern language and myth. Actually, he loved all myth, but it was northern myth that most inspired him, especially the languages behind the myths. Mr. Garth does a wonderful job making the various classes Tolkien took as alive today as they were for him a century ago."
This is an interesting review of John Garth's book on Tolkien at Exeter. The book is titled Tolkien at Exeter College: How An Oxford Undergraduate Created Middle-earth (66 pages, Exeter College, 2015). The review is written by Bradley J. Birzer.

Birzer writes:
Never judge a book by its size. This little book is only sixty-three pages long, but its author, John Garth, knows very well how to write concisely and vigorously—White and Strunk would be proud. In other words, there is a lot in this short book.  Tolkien would be proud as well, for Mr. Garth does him nothing but j…
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Good Advice for Thesis Writers

Umberto Ecco

This is important advice because nowadays many tend to write “alternative” theses, in which the rules of critical discourse are not respected. But the language of the thesis is a metalanguage, that is, a language that speaks of other languages. A psychiatrist who describes the mentally ill does not express himself in the manner of his patients. I am not saying that it is wrong to express oneself in the manner of the so-called mentally ill. In fact, you could reasonably argue that they are the only ones who express themselves the way one should. But here you have two choices: either you do not write a thesis, and you manifest your desire to break with tradition by refusing to earn your degree, perhaps learning to play the guitar instead; or you write your thesis, but then you must explain to everyone why the language of the mentally ill is not a “crazy” language, and to do it you must use a metalanguage intelligible to all. The pseudo-poet who writes his thesis in poetry i…

Check Out The North American Anglican

The BOOKCASE at The North American Anglican is a new site where you can read lovely and meaningful poetry. The site also offers book reviews and podcasts. It is especially geared to Anglicans, but people of all Christian denominations would find it interesting.

The North American Anglican exists to glorify Christ and to serve the people of his Church. We hope to provide a resource and forum for proclaiming and discussing those Evangelical and Catholic truths, which find their home in historic Anglican theology. Regular contributors share a commitment to the supreme authority of sacred scripture in matters of faith and morals. They also gladly affirm the 39 Articles of Religion and the historic Book of Common Prayer, as authoritative norms and standards for authentic Anglican faith and piety. Our desire is to participate in and curate a renaissance of both Christian theology and the arts. Keeping in focus a special emphasis on the many historic contributions that the Anglican tradition ha…

Becoming a Novelist is a Long Learning Process

Hugh Howey explains:

I started writing my first novel when I was twelve years old. I was thirty-three when I completed my first rough draft. That’s twenty years of wanting to do something and not knowing how. Twenty years of failure and frustrations and giving up.

A big part of the problem is that I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I didn’t know which questions to ask, much less who might have the answers.

These days, people write to me as if I know what I’m doing. Or like I have a shortcut to success. I’m not sure either is true. One thing I’ve learned is that luck plays a massive role. But what I do have are some insights today that I wish I’d had twenty years ago, tips and pointers that might’ve saved me a lot of headache and heartache if I’d known them sooner. Maybe it’ll help some aspiring writer out there if I jot them all down now.

Read it all here.
Related reading: John Scalzi Speaks to Young Writers; Pen-Pecked Dreamers

A Pair of Wings

By Gabbi Hartenstein
(Grade 8)

She was running...again.

The dense trees around her seemed to be closing in, making her already rapid breath become shallow. She could hear people running behind her, trying to catch her.

“Harley! Over here!” A familiar voice cried.

Her eyes shot over to the left and she saw a figure running parallel to her. He was waving to her, trying to make her follow him. Harley experienced a rush of paranoia.

Should she follow him? Who was he? How does he know my name?

Something whizzed by her head and she shrieked. Harley ducked away and rushed for the boy to her left. He grabbed her arm and pulled her along with him as they hurried through the thickening woods.

“When I say jump, jump!” The boy exclaimed tiredly.

“What?” Harley cried, panic swarming her entire body.

“Just do it!”

She felt his hand grip harder on her arm as they covered more and more ground.

He yelled, “Three...Two...ONE!”

Harley launched upward into the sky, squeezing her eyes shut. She …

Timeless Truth from Brontë

Excerpt from the Preface to the second edition of Jane Eyre. As with all words of wisdom, Charlotte Brontë's sentiments expressed here are timeless.

Conventionality is not morality. Self-righteousness is not religion. To attack the first is not to assail the last. To pluck the mask from the face of the Pharisee, is not to lift an impious hand to the Crown of Thorns.These things and deeds are diametrically opposed: they are as distinct as is vice from virtue. Men too often confound them: they should not be confounded: appearance should not be mistaken for truth; narrow human doctrines, that only tend to elate and magnify a few, should not be substituted for the world-redeeming creed of Christ. There is - I repeat it - a difference; and it is good, and not a bad action to mark broadly and clearly the line of separation between them.
Excerpt from the Preface to the Second Edition of Jane Eyre and signed:

Currer Bell
December 21st, 1847

Eternal Love Shines from Calvary

Oh, Jesus, high upon the cross
What agonies you had to bear.
For all our sakes, you suffered there
That we might live, despite your loss.

Your love eternal shines on all,
Although 'twas gained by hate and gall.
Dear Lord, my tears, shed for your pain
Reflect my gratitude, my gain.

How will I ever let you know
How much I care, how much I owe?
My shallow prayers reveal my heart,
And deep within, true love impart.

--Sue Smith

This poem was written after reading "Contemplating The Cross" by Tricia McCary Rhodes. Calvary is the Latin name for the place where Jesus was crucified on Good Friday. The place is also called "Golgotha" and means place of the Skull. This was a rocky outcropping immediately outside Jerusalem's walls where felons were executed by crucifixion. 

Jesus Rode on a Donkey

The Donkey

When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born.

With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devil’s walking parody
On all four-footed things.

The tattered outlaw of the earth,
Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
I keep my secret still.

Fools! For I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
And palms before my feet.