Thursday, June 22, 2017

I Hate Articles Like This One

There are a surprising number of similarities between J.R.R. Tolkien and A.E. Housman, apparently.

It's very easy to find similarities between any two thinkers or writers. Usually the most relevant similarity, when it comes to articles like this one, is that the author of the article is a big fan of both of them.

I could write a long article drawing parallels between Keith Waterhouse and G.K. Chesterton. But all it would mean is that I like both of them, I've read a lot of both of them, and I've persuaded myself that they have greater affinities than they perhaps do.

Is it worth getting exercised about this? Maybe not. But it's flabby thinking. It's like the many articles by Catholics which seek to find spiritual depth in Bob Dylan or the Sopranos or whatever else they happen to be a fan of.


  1. Séamus (Australia)June 22, 2017 at 4:52 PM

    Not sure that I'd heard of Housman, but while we're at it: There's a supply priest this fortnight here, Scottish-born, Melbourne-based full time extraordinary form, who mentioned that he was converted to Catholicism (I think at university age) through catholic writers-not necessarily theological writings- and the three names he mentioned were Tolkien,Chesterton and Newman. Realistically,of the three, only Newman was probably trying to convert anyone. And this is despite having gone to a staunchly Presbyterian state school. (He mentioned that the sectarianism in Glasgow is as bad than Northern Ireland and it was very much tied in to the sports scene also, Glasgow Celtic were very much a Catholic team; Glasgow Raiders are Presbyterian : One Celtic fan walked past a protestant pub with his scarf on after they had won-he [I mean literally] got his throat cut. I didn't ask when that happened. At least in Belfast they stick to their own suburbs)
    PS are you doing a piece on the Belloc gathering??

  2. I'd imagine Chesterton was trying to convert people, although not in a blatant way. What's surprising is that Tolkien has such an evangelistic influence, as he never set out to be any kind of apologist. I suppose it could be argued that Tolkien is indirectly responsible for everyone who converted through Lewis, since he was crucial in Lewis's conversion. (And before anyone says, "They're just Protestant conversion, they don't count": even if we think in those sectarian terms, many people came to Catholicism through Lewis, or starting with Lewis.)

    I wouldn't write a post about the Belloc meeting, because some of the people present at it read this blog occasionally. Besides, it was pretty small scale, only nine of us, and not that eventful.

  3. As for going to bed late, the times of posting on the blog bear no relation to reality. This has caused one unfortunate misunderstanding already! However, it's not worth fixing, and may even have benefits.

  4. I was referring more to the fact that I read the post on Friday morning our time and was not expecting any answer, if you were answering(which I never assume, you being busy and all) until afternoon our time. I think I was just rereading it in someone's car later this morning for no particular reason...
    And you'd answered and all

    1. I appreciate comments. I'm irritated when I comment on other blogs and get no reply!

    2. You asked me a question about C.S. Lewis in an earlier version of the comment which I only read now.

      I wrote a post about this, which may interest you (or not):

    3. I actually meant it more as a joke, but your piece was worth reading. I had to look it up because links only work when they're in blue for some reason.
      You quoted the piece that Lewis would not tolerate the Anglican Church now because it was watered down...
      One lady, from Kerry actually, (who is now 100% St Pius X society) on reading LITERARY CONVERTS remarked that the "literaries"would have never become converts in the post Vatican II church. Is there a possibility that an Anglo Catholic could have remained happy in their own ghetto- whatever was happening to the rest of the church- seeing that plenty of Catholics now disbelieve in the Virgin Birth also?... Or would that make one more "ultramontane"?
      PS I notice you had a completely different "generation"of followers five years ago.

    4. No, actually that article was a bit of a one-off, some people commented who'd never commented before, and never did again (or every seldom). Maybe someone linked to it.

      I'm happy that I've apparently managed to hold onto my readers since I began in 2011! (Not that they have grown at a great pace, but you can't have everything...)

    5. P.S Thanks for the picture. Happy Feast of St. John the Baptist to you too.