This book forms an inter-disciplinary approach to Kingship – literary, theological and historic– that offers the reader a key to a deeper understanding of the work of all three Oxford 'Inklings'. Scarf ultimately claims that these ideas are important in the light of today's Christian belief (or lack of it) in contemporary Britain, and that it is only in understanding these ideas and ideals that the three men's true contributions to English Life and Literature can be fully appreciated.
In his distinctive work, Christopher Scarf explores the writings of the three most prominent Oxford Inklings - Charles Williams (1886-1945), C.S. Lewis (1898-1963), and J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973) - to reveal and contrast their conceptions of the ideal of kingship ; divine, human, and mythological. As practising Christians, the faith of all three writers was central to their literary and personal visions of kingship, society, love, beauty, justice and power.
Scarf investigates their belief in God as Creator and heavenly King, opinions on the nature of His very being, and the way in which all believed the Creator to be unique rather than one among many. The relationship between the earthly and heavenly King is considered, as well as the extent to which the writers contend that earthly kings are God s viceregents, act with His authority, and are duty-bound to establish and sustain just and joyous societies. Examining the writings of all three men in detail, Scarf also highlights the covert evidence of their lives and personalities which may be discovered in their texts. An understanding of the authors individual but overlapping views of the essential meaning of Kingship, and their personalities and early lives, will enrich the reader s appreciation of their created worlds.
Looking back to the history of the royal office, Scarf references Greek literature, Old English poetry, Arthurian Legends and Old and New Testament Scripture to contextualise his subjects' ideas and theological beliefs inherent in their work. These profound beliefs, expressed in myth, legend and poetry, expose truth in a way that no other media can achieve, and to understand this truth is essential to understanding the importance of kingship, both fictional and earthly, in their writing.
Shared Christian faith, religious structure and beliefs — including the values of love, justice and authority — had a great impact on the Inklings' ideas of kingship. Understanding their theological beliefs will allow their readers to appreciate better these authors' experience of the world, insight which today's more secular readers may otherwise not recognise.
A compelling study which looks at three of the world's most famous authors from a unique perspective, and offers novel insights into their much-loved works. The Ideal of Kingship will please literature scholars, theology students or fans of these great authors' work. This volume provides a unique focus on Kingship and the Christian beliefs of three well-loved writers, and will be of interest to any reader seeking a fuller understanding of the individuals and their works.
Dr Christopher Scarf studied Music at Wadham College, Oxford. He took an M.A. in Liturgical Music at the Anglia Polytechnic University and a D.Phil. in English Literature (with some aspects of Theology and History) at the University of Sussex. Once Assistant Organist at Ely Cathedral, he now lives in Devon, where he is Master of the Music at St Marychurch Parish Church. He is married, and has a son, who is a solicitor in London.
Spread the news about this J.R.R. Tolkien article: