There and Back Again: Joseph Pearce Speaks on The Hobbit, Offers Catholic Writers’ Course

by Thomas More College on February 26, 2013

Since Fall 2012, the faculty and students of Thomas More College have been proud to be joined by a new Writer-In-Residence, renowned Catholic author Joseph Pearce. Mr. Pearce, who has written and spoken extensively on major figures of the Catholic literary tradition such as J.R.R. Tolkien, G.K. Chesterton, and Evelyn Waugh, has become a familiar figure around campus lately, teaching classes on Beowulf, Bede, Chaucer, and the art of the Catholic writer. JPIII (1)

At the College’s recent Traditio Seminar, he gave a lecture entitled Bilbo’s Journey: The Catholicism of The Hobbit. After unpacking the hidden Catholic themes of Tolkien’s beloved children’s story, Mr. Pearce led a lively question-and-answer session concerning a variety of subjects related to The Hobbit, including Romanticism, the Oxford Movement, and the role of the imagination in the Christian life. After a respite for supper, the students of Thomas More College met once again to hear a second lecture, this time on The Lord of the Rings.

In addition to being Thomas More’s Writer-In-Residence, Mr. Pearce is also editor and a regular contributor of the Saint Austin Review, an online journal of Catholic faith and culture.

Here is a recent article of his, Postcard from the Snowbound North,  featuring Thomas More College:

“I write from Warner in New Hampshire. Outside is two feet of snow, through which I’ve just trudged on an afternoon hike with a friend. I arrived on Saturday night, twelve hours later than scheduled due to the blizzard that blew its way through New England, dumping a blanket of snow.

Yesterday I spoke to a group of students at Dartmouth College on the Evangelizing Power of Beauty. A bright group of young Catholics whose questions I enjoyed answering and whose convivial company I found most edifying.

Today I continued my work as a visiting scholar at Mount Royal Academy in Sunapee, teaching classes on Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy, Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Tolkien’s Hobbit. What a joy! I also co-taught an apologetics class in which we deferred the scheduled discussion on the problem of evil to discuss the Holy Father’s surprise resignation today. (What a great Pope! What a blessing he has been to the Church as both Ratzinger and Benedict!)

Tonight I travel to Concord to give a talk on the Catholicism of The Hobbit at Theology on Tap. As I relish the prospect of imbibing ale in the company of Mr. Baggins and a company of fine young Catholics I can’t help but thank God that hobbits and hops go so well together.

Tomorrow I travel to Thomas More College where I will be teaching for the rest of the week. Between now and Friday I will be discussing with my students Bede and Beowulf, as well as Homer, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Dante, Shakespeare and Tolkien. What a wonderful way to earn a living. Deo gratias!”

More articles from the Saint Austin Review can be found by clicking the link below.

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