This is the second in a series of posts on the concept of “subcreation.” You can find the other post in this series here under Tolkien’s Creative Wisdom.
Last week, I explained how the concept of “subcreation” is at the heart of Tolkien’s creative vision. I elaborated 3 of 6 points in that first post. Here are 3 more points that explain what Tolkien had in mind when he referred to subcreation.
This is the first in a series of posts on the concept of “subcreation.” You can find the other post in this series here under Tolkien’s Creative Wisdom.
What did Tolkien mean by “subcreation?” In his 1938 lecture On Fairy-Stories, Tolkien coined the term “subcreation” to define his creative approach. It is a concept at the heart of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion. However, it can be a confusing concept, so I thought it would be helpful to spend the next few posts discussing it.
Ever since hearing about Tolkien’s concept of subcreation, I have been absolutely fascinated by it. It is a key to understanding what Tolkien was doing in his Middle-earth works, and it really gets to the heart of what he believes human beings are put on earth to do. Here are some key points that will help you wrap your head around what Tolkien meant by “subcreation.”
Two years ago, I was beginning the process of researching and writing my Master’s thesis. I knew I was going to be spending a lot of time on that project, so I wanted to pick something I knew I would enjoy. Since I had been fascinated for some time by the depth of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fictional world, I chose to write my thesis about his creative philosophy. What I discovered in the process was a treasure trove of creative insight and spiritual wisdom. And I want to share the incredible things I discovered with you. That’s why I am offering my new e-booklet “Ten Tips for Reading Tolkien” for FREE to those who subscribe by email.
Are you new to Tolkien’s works, or have you struggled to make a start on them? These tips will help you wrap your head around what Tolkien is doing in The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion.
1. WELCOME TO TOLKIEN CATHOLIC! My name is John, and I live in Franklin, TN. A month and half a go, I received my Master of Arts degree in English from Belmont University. For my thesis, I researched the creative vision of J.R.R. Tolkien and wrote about what I termed “Fantastical Realism” in his works. I had some idea of what I wanted to do from there, but no solid plans.
Then, two weeks ago, I got (happy Friday!) laid off. It was a total surprise. But I heard the still small voice. That weekend, I decided to launch this site. It’s going to be awesome.
Most people would probably not associate the words “spiritual giant” with J.R.R. Tolkien, but in my mind, he is exactly that. Over the last few years, I have come to see so much insight and wisdom in Tolkien’s view of the world and of our humanity. Few people have influenced my faith and outlook like Tolkien.
Even before I was Catholic, I had begun to feel a spiritual kinship with J.R.R. Tolkien. There was just something about his ability to look at the world and see a “real magic” in it that captivated me. Since becoming Catholic, Tolkien has enriched my faith like few others. Here are five ways in which he has done so:
Welcome to Tolkien Catholic! J.R.R. Tolkien was one of the most beloved and successful writers of the 20th century. While many people today know something about The Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit, very few are familiar with the outlook and artistic convictions that drove the Oxford philologist to spend much of his life creating a vast fictional realm. I aim to change that.
In August, I completed my Master of Arts degree in English with a thesis focusing on Tolkien’s literary aesthetic. In the course of researching and writing my thesis, I had the opportunity to become thoroughly familiar with many of Tolkien’s lesser known works. During this intense process, I came to develop a deep love not only for Tolkien’s fictional works but his philosophical and artistic perspective as well. Furthermore, as a recent convert to the Catholic Church (2010), I recalled thinking so often in my pre-Catholic days that if Tolkien, as a devout Catholic, created such rich and fascinating literary works, then there must be something to this Catholic thing after all.