From Peter Kreeft’s The Philosophy of Tolkien: The Worldview Behind The Lord of the Rings:

Every story, long or short, has five dimensions.

They are usually called its

(1) plot,

(2) characters,

(3) setting,

(4) style, and

(5) theme.

We could call them, respectively, the story’s

(1) work,

(2) workers,

(3) world,

(4) words, and

(5) wisdom.

Professor Kreeft asks which dimension has made The Lord of the Rings such a great story. His answer:

All five. To be great, a work of art must be great in not just one dimension but all, just as a healthy body needs to be healthy in all its organs, a healthy soul in all its powers (mind, will, and emotions), and a morally good act in all its dimensions (the deed, the motive, and the circumstances).

Kreeft’s book is about the fifth dimension, wisdom—or philosophy.

Philosophy and literature belong together. They can work like the two lenses of a pair of binoculars. Philosophy argues abstractly. Literature argues too—it persuades, it changes the reader—but concretely. Philosophy says truth, literature shows truth.

For those who might be interested in hearing Professor Kreeft lecture on some themes from the book, see: