From the January/February, 2002 issue of Touchstone
J. R. R. Tolkien The Heroes of Middle-Earth by Leon J. Podles

The Heroes of Middle-Earth

J. R. R. Tolkien & the Marks of Christian Heroism

by Leon J. Podles

J. R. R. Tolkien’s hold on the imagination has been surpassed by few writers in the twentieth century. His books have sold tens of millions of copies, and the website for The Lord of the Rings has had 30 million hits per month (at one point it was getting one million hits per hour). British readers have voted The Lord of the Rings as the best book of the twentieth century and, according to members of the Folio Society, the best English book ever.

I discovered Tolkien when I was sixteen. I was also discovering Chestertonian Catholicism, the nineteenth-century artist, designer, and writer William Morris, and Icelandic sagas (which Morris translated), and I found in Tolkien a kindred soul. But Tolkien’s enormous popularity is . . .

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