If you haven’t yet, it is time to head over to fellow Signum University faculty member David Russell Mosley’s blog on Patheos. I’ve been a long reader of his “Letters from Elfland,” which provides intelligent and accessible readings of J.R.R. Tolkien’s work, often in connection to C.S. Lewis and the fantastic tradition. There are a few of us trying to think about the matrices of theology and literature in the foundations of that fantastic tradition, and Mosley is one of them.
Prof. Mosley has been building toward something. While I’m sure it has been a long, slow build, a big move was his blog, “Are the Elves in C. S. Lewis?” Now he has pulled back the curtain to reveal this blog, “The Atlantis Theory: The Numenorean Connection Between the Works of Lewis and Tolkien.”
Now, I know that when the average reader sees “Atlantis Theory,” they are going to think of the kind of documentary they show on the History channel. This is not the working of a conspiracy theorist looking to disintegrate the whole network. Instead, this is the outline of a reader of Tolkien and Lewis, attempting to take seriously the links that biographers and critics have drawn between their work and their lives. The result–which is filled out on my work in The Screwtape Letters and the Ransom Cycle–is worth a consideration.
I am in the midst of an excellent and exhausting research trip to the UK. In the morning I will return to the Bodleian library to continue the transcription of C.S. Lewis’ first attempt at long-form prose fiction (an Arthurian tale he wrote when he was 17). I don’t have time at this moment, but I want to test Mosley’s theory to see if it is capacious enough to allow for the integrity of these world builders. So many Tolkienist readers reduce C.S. Lewis to a jigsaw puzzle genius where all the pieces are blue squares, and wonder why Lewisian readers think the Narnian is so good at drawing skies. Mosely does not do this, but thinks critically–even in the brief form of a blog–about what the links can mean, suggesting the space for more work yet to come.
Since I can’t run these tests right now, I didn’t want readers of A Pilgrim in Narnia to miss out. Head on over to Letters from Elfland and dialogue with the letter-writer himself.