J.R.R. Tolkien was undoubtedly one of the greatest Christian authors and exponents of the Western tradition in the 20th century. When newspapers and book publishers conducted polls around the year 2000 asking readers to identify the greatest novel of the century, The Lord of the Rings won them all hands down. Tolkien’s work fascinates both young and old. I myself have been telling my kids bedtime stories from The Silmarillion for months, and they keep asking for more.
I’m sure that at some point I’ll do some in-depth posts on Tolkien, but for now I’m happy to point everyone to Corey Olsen’s website and blog, “The Tolkien Professor.” Olsen is a professor at Washington College in Maryland, and over the last year he has compiled a substantial collection of audio files on his website, including an entire semester’s worth of lectures on Tolkien’s works he recorded in his classroom in Spring 2010.
I’ve listened to many of Olsen’s lectures, and it’s clear that he has a great respect for Tolkien. He does not try to deconstruct his writing; the lectures are based on close readings of the stories and novels and have many insights to offer. If you’re interested in Tolkien’s works (and if you’re not, you should be!), Olsen can help you to a greater understanding and appreciation of them. Give him a listen!