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The History of Fantasy Literature

Tolkien and Lewis: The Big Guns

It's hard to overstate the influence of Tolkien and Lewis over fantasy. The pair also shared a close friendship as part of the Oxford Inklings literary club (boy, would we have liked to have been a fly on the wall at one of those meetings). Like MacDonald, Lewis was interested in incorporating Christian principles and mysticism into his work, and those ideas inspired his Narnia series. Lewis was also an heir to Carroll, Baum, and Barrie in that his fantasy world existed parallel to our reality. Tolkien was different. Like Morris (who he acknowledged as his biggest influence), his heart was with the Germanic epics of the Medieval period. But he went much further than any other fantasy writer had in creating Middle-earth, a self-sustaining universe with its own detailed maps, histories, and languages (pictured is the Tengwar alphabet he created). In the wake of Peter Jackson's film adaptations, his work has never been more popular. There may come a day when Tolkien's legacy fades, but it is not this day.

Tags: history, slideshows, fantasy, cs lewis, the hobbit, jrr tolkien, books-and-comics, the lord of the rings

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Becky Ferreira

Becky Ferreira is a writer, performer, and raptor based in New York.

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