Leaf by Niggle by Tolkien

imgresLeaf by Niggle, by J.R.R. Tolkien.

Tim Keller mentions it — and carries its imagery throughout his book even — in Every Good Endeavor.  Scot McKnight wrote about it in 2009 as a wonderful tale showing us a Christian way to view work.

I read it.  It is wonderful.  And for some of us, even perhaps, relatable!


6 thoughts on “Leaf by Niggle by Tolkien

  1. I recently read “Leaf by Niggle” and am currently reading the accompanying essay “On Fairy-Stories”. Thanks for posting. I hadn’t noticed the religious aspects of “Leaf by Niggle” (though I know Tolkien was a Roman Catholic and there were little hints of it in the story), but did notice and am fascinated by how it seems to represent the process of creating art (whether the paining for Niggle or writing for Tolkien) and especially creating other worlds and stories that seem to consume all else. Thanks for the post!

    • How is “On Fairy-Stories”? Would you say it’s accessible to someone not too familiar with academic literary criticism?

      Niggle did remind me of what I read about Tolkien and his endless tinkering with all of his works. The “religious aspects” might’ve been recognizable to me because I’ve already been exposed to Christian theology of the end times. The Great Divorce by CS Lewis, Surprised by Hope by NT Wright. The last chapter of The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard also comes to mind.

      • I’ve been meaning to read some C. S. Lewis.

        How is “On Fairy-Stories”? Would you say it’s accessible to someone not too familiar with academic literary criticism?

        I’ve only read a little so far, but I think it’s accessible. (To give some background: I do have a college education, but in a healthcare field; I took the required 2 semesters of English at my university and a few English classes as electives — a Shakespeare class and a class on literary fantasy.) Most of my background in literature, beyond K-12 and a few college classes, is through things I’ve read on my own.

        Although I’m sure there are points in the essay I’m missing, since I didn’t major in the subject, I think “On Fairy-Stories” would be understandable to someone who doesn’t have a background in literary criticism, especially someone who loves to read. Plus, I think that it really comes through that Tolkien is enjoying writing on the subject, which just makes it even more fun to read.

    • My pleasure. I had found the story through some other writing a few months ago, read it and loved it. Then it showed up on Tim Keller’s book, and then I found Scot McKnight’s post on the High Calling. Maybe this means there just isn’t many good stories of this sort about work and faith? I wish someone would write some more! 🙂

  2. Pingback: Luther on Vocation 18 | Working Prototype

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