The Fellowship

The Fellowship

The Literary Lives of the Inklings: J.R.R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams

Book - 2015
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"A stirring group biography of the Inklings, the Oxford writing club featuring J.R.R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis C.S. Lewis is the twentieth century's most widely read Christian writer and J.R.R. Tolkien its most beloved mythmaker. For three decades, they and their closest associates formed a literary club known as the Inklings, which met weekly in Lewis's Oxford rooms and a nearby pub. They read aloud from works in progress, argued about anything that caught their fancy, and gave one another invaluable companionship, inspiration, and criticism. In The Fellowship, Philip and Carol Zaleski offer the first complete rendering of the Inklings' lives and works. Lewis maps the medieval mind, accepts Christ while riding in the sidecar of his brother's motorcycle, becomes a world-famous evangelist and moral satirist, and creates new forms of religiously attuned fiction while wrestling with personal crises. Tolkien transmutes an invented mythology into a breathtaking story in The Lord of the Rings, while conducting groundbreaking Old English scholarship and elucidating the Catholic teachings at the heart of his vision. This extraordinary group biography also focuses on Charles Williams, strange acolyte of Romantic love, and Owen Barfield, an esoteric philosopher who became, for a time, Saul Bellow's guru. Romantics who scorned rebellion, fantasists who prized sanity, Christians with cosmic reach, the Inklings sought to revitalize literature and faith in the twentieth century's darkest years--and did so"-- Provided by publisher.
"A stirring group biography of the Inklings, the Oxford writing club featuring J.R.R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780374154097
Branch Call Number: 820.9009 ZALESKI
Characteristics: 644 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm
Additional Contributors: Zaleski, Carol


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Jun 22, 2015

Barfield's "Great War" arguments, along with History in English Words and Poetic Diction, revealed to Lewis the fallacy of "chronological snobbery", the assumption, as common now as then, that the present owns more of the truth than the past, that the ideas o longer in vogue are most likely false." p. 121-122

Jun 22, 2015

"Every effective metaphor brings with it a more complete perception of the world and its interrelationships." p. 119

Jun 18, 2015

"Fantasy became the voice of faith. And it made for a cracking good story."


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May 29, 2019

The Inklings were a group of writers and thinkers who shared their work, shared ideas, and debated in Oxford, often meeting at the pub The Eagle and Child (aka the Bird and Babe). Like Bloomsbury, which in many ways is the modernist, secular double of the group, their members are somewhat nebulous, but for the purposes of this large survey of their lives and work, it's C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the lesser known members, Owen Barfield and Charles Williams. All were religious and all were interested in fantasy, but they were a far more eclectic group than is sometimes assumed. I went to Wheaton College, where Lewis is basically a saint, so I was familiar with his life, but was interested to learn about Barfield and Williams, who dabbled in mysticism and was certainly the strangest of the group. It's also a book about intellectual currents and literary trends and virtually every important writer in England at the time makes an appearance: T.S. Eliot, Dorothy Sayers, F.R. Leavis, Orwell, Kingsley Amis, and many more. It runs a bit long (over 500 pages), but sweeps the reader up and should appeal to anyone interested in the period, regardless of their views on religion and fantasy fiction. Also check out "The Magician's Book," about Lewis, and the biography "Tolkien: Author of the Century."

Dec 24, 2016

An interesting look at four different Inklings. A bit biography, a bit analysis, this book is a lot of fun to read if you don't mind persevering through rather scholarly wording. I learned from it, and also learned how their separate lives interwove.


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