People

Ralph C. Wood

Ralph C. Wood is a professor of English literature at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. He is the author of The Comedy of Redemption: Christian Faith and Comic Vision in Four American Novelists. A number of his essays and articles on, among others, J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, and G. K. Chesterton are available through his web page.

Wood has also been featured on the MARS HILL AUDIO Conversation "Maker of Middle-Earth." A short description of this Conversation is listed here.

Wood is featured on the bonus track for Volume 49, where he talks about how Tolkien viewed the use and meaning of human language. Click here to listen to the segment. (Left click to stream; right click to save.)

MARS HILL AUDIO Journal

Volume 112

Available for mp3 purchase
Guests on Volume 112: Christian Smith, on why "emerging adults" feel compelled to keep all their options open, in life and in thought; David L. Schindler, on how modern liberalism fails to acknowledge the reality of God's love in the order of Creation; Sara Anson Vaux, on the moral vision of director Clint Eastwood; Melvyn Bragg, on the origins and profound cultural influence of the King James Bible; Timothy Larsen, on how Victorians were united in their preoccupation with the Bible, whether or not they believed in God; and Ralph C. Wood, on the sacramental vision of G. K. Chesterton, and on the enigmatic message of The Man Who Was Thursday.

MARS HILL AUDIO Conversation 22

Hillbilly Thomist: Flannery O'Connor & the Truth of Things

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In this Conversation, Ken Myers talks with Susan Srigley about how Flannery O’Connor’s perception of reality suffuses her fiction in ways that fit the views of how art works developed by Thomas Aquinas, views often summarized as “sacramental” or “incarnational.” And Ralph Wood discusses O’Connor’s acceptance of the limits placed in our lives by Providence, how limits may be a source of wisdom rather than frustration. 60 minutes.

MARS HILL AUDIO Journal

Volume 73

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Guests on Volume 73: Richard John Neuhaus, Nigel Cameron, Carlos F. Gomez, and Michael Uhlmann, on the meaning and value of human life, the vocation of medicine, the logic of autonomous individualism, and the temptation of suicide and euthanasia; Patrick Carey, on the perceptive (and peregrinating) thought of Orestes Brownson; John W. O'Malley, on the prophetic, academic, humanistic, and artistic vectors of Western culture; Patricia Owen, on what makes good children's books and on how the Newbery Medal winners have changed over time; Susan Srigley, on the sacramental and incarnational fiction of Flannery O'Connor; and Ralph C. Wood, on Flannery O'Connor as "hill-billy Thomist" and sympathizer with backwoods religion.

MARS HILL AUDIO Journal

Volume 66

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Guests on Volume 66: Leon Kass, on how various biotechnologies promise to fulfill certain legitimate human desires in illegitimate ways, and on how new technologies have changed the assumptions many people have about their children; Nigel Cameron, on why American churches have been negligent in promoting robust thinking about the current bioethical crisis; Susan Wise Bauer, on how adults can acquire many of the benefits of a classical education long after leaving school by reading wisely and well; Esther Lightcap Meek, on belief, doubt, certainty, authority, and how knowledge (of God and other matters) is acquired, sustained, and properly recognized; John Shelton Lawrence, on how John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Superman, and the governor of California all embody a great American myth; and Ralph C. Wood, on the disappointing discrepancies between Peter Jackson's films and J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.

MARS HILL AUDIO Journal

Volume 64

Guests on Volume 64: Paul Berman, on the links between Islamism and other totalitarian utopias; Jean Bethke Elshtain, on justice and the vocation of government, and on maintaining a sense of the holy; Hadley Arkes, on natural rights and "inadvertant treason," and on the rise of a new jurisprudence in Griswold v. Connecticut and Roe v. Wade; Ralph C. Wood, on the place of the seven virtues in J. R. R. Tolkien's vision of the moral life in The Lord of the Rings; and Jeremy Begbie, on what we learn about time, theology, and the structure of creation from the experience of music.

MARS HILL AUDIO Journal

Volume 54

Guests on Volume 54: Robert P. Kraynak, on Christian Faith and Modern Democracy: God and Politics in the Fallen World; Mitchell L. Stevens, on home schooling and the individuality of children; Ralph C. Wood, on the Christian achievement of detective novelist P. D. James; Mark Henrie, on the films of Whit Stillman and the overcoming of irony; Terry Lindvall, on the responses of American churches to the advent of motion pictures; Richard J. Mouw, on sin, culture, and common grace; and Marilyn Chandler McEntyre, on her book In Quiet Light: Poems on Vermeer's Women.

MARS HILL AUDIO Journal

Volume 49

Guests on Volume 49: David Lyon, on the reconfiguration of religion against the backdrop of communication technologies and consumerism; Christopher Wolfe, on homosexuality in American public life; Patrick Fagan, on how sexuality became separated from parenthood; Joseph E. Davis, on the struggle to preserve the self in a fragmenting era; Morris Berman, on The Twilight of American Culture; Frank Burch Brown, on Good Taste, Bad Taste, and Christian Taste: Aesthetics in Religious Life; Robert K. Johnston, on neglected opportunities for film and theology to interact; and Ralph C. Wood, on the peculiar heroism of Frodo Baggins of Bag End.

MARS HILL AUDIO Conversation 17

Maker of Middle-Earth

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While it is not a story set in the twentieth century, Tom Shippey (author of J. R. R. Tolkien: Author of the Century) claims that The Lord of the Rings is very much a work of the twentieth century; the momentum of evil sweeps characters into action before they understand the events in which they are involved. Joseph Pearce (author of Tolkien: Man and Myth) defends The Lord of the Rings fantasy genre against those who would claim that realistic fiction is a better vessel for truth; because mythology is stripped of the factual, he explains, it can deal with truth unencumbered and therefore convey its moral more directly. Literary critic Ralph C. Wood explains why he has been drawn to J. R. R. Tolkien's moral Middle-Earth since his first reading of The Lord of the Rings in the 1960s. It is a world ordered by heroism, friendship, loyalty, and hope. These ties alone, he states, enable the hobbits to complete their quest and go where no one else can. 86 minutes.

MARS HILL AUDIO Journal

Volume 5

Guests on Volume 5: David Aikman, on his novel When the Almond Tree Blossoms, and on the perpetual temptations of totalitarianism; Edward Ericson, Jr., on Solzhenitsyn's moral foundation and his criticism of modern Western culture; James Pontuso, on the spiritual dimensions of freedom; James Finn, on the United Nations World Conference on human rights; Ken Myers, on L. A. Law's Bob Jones graduate, and on how TV promotes glibness; Ralph C. Wood, on the backslidden comedy of novelist Peter De Vries; Stephen Bates, on textbooks and the First Amendment in Hawkins County, Tennessee; and Drew Trotter, on director Martin Scorsese's The Age of Innocence.