123 – The Nature of Middle-earth – Carl Hostetter

Carl Hostetter, editor of a new volume of J.R.R. Tolkien’s unpublished notes, The Nature of Middle-earth, joins the show.

Carl discusses:

  • His collaboration with Christopher Tolkien leading to this new volume
  • What other Tolkien writings we might expect to see published
  • Why it may be good that Tolkien never finished the Silmarillion in his lifetime
  • Tolkien’s Thomistic reflections on elvish hylomorphism, and other revelations contained in the new book
  • How Tolkien’s obsession with consistency nearly destroyed his legendarium
  • Potential problems with the theology of Middle-earth
  • Anti-Catholic bias in contemporary Tolkien fandom and scholarship


Carl Hostetter, The Nature of Middle-earth https://www.harpercollins.com/products/the-nature-of-middle-earth-jrr-tolkien

Interview with Jonathan McIntosh about The Flame Imperishable https://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/episode-40-tolkien-and-aquinas-jonathan-s-mcintosh/

Other resources recommended:

J.R.R. Tolkien, Morgoth’s Ring, vol. 10 of The History of Middle-earth, ed. Christopher Tolkien

Jonathan McIntosh, The Flame Imperishable: Tolkien, St. Thomas, and the Metaphysics of Faërie

Tom Shippey, The Road to Middle-Earth: How J.R.R. Tolkien Created a New Mythology

Verlyn Flieger, Splintered Light: Logos and Language in Tolkien’s World

Corey Olsen’s seminars on The Nature of Middle-earth https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=duNayhMrrJ8&list=PLasMbZ4s5vIXZtwVbmyh6sTE56uiI_t0C

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