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 every week in Lewis's Oxford rooms and in nearby pubs. They discussed literature, religion, and ideas; read aloud from works in progress; took philosophical rambles through woods and fields; gave one another companionship and criticism; and, in the process, rewrote the cultural history of their times. Here, Philip and Carol Zaleski offer the first complete rendering of the Inklings' lives and works. The result is an extraordinary account of the ideas, affections, and vexations that drove the group's most significant members. C. S. Lewis maps the medieval and Renaissance minds, becomes a world-famous evangelist and moral satirist, and creates new forms of religiously attuned fiction while wrestling with personal crises. J.R.R. Tolkien transmutes an invented mythology into gripping story while conducting groundbreaking Old English scholarship. Owen Barfield, a philosopher for whom language is the key to all mysteries, becomes Lewis's favorite sparring partner and, for a time, Saul Bellow's chosen guru. And Charles Williams, poet, author of "supernatural shockers," and strange acolyte of romantic love, turns his everyday life into a mystical pageant. Romantics who scorned rebellion, fantasists who prized reality, wartime writers who believed in hope, Christians with cosmic reach, the Inklings sought to revitalize literature and faith in the twentieth century's darkest years---and did so in dazzling style. --From publisher description.
Published: New York :, Farrar, Straus and Giroux,, 2015.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780374154097
Branch Call Number: 820.9009 ZAL
Characteristics: 644 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates :,illustrations ;,24 cm
Additional Contributors: Zaleski, Carol


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Jun 16, 2020

This was a very long read but well worth the effort. To learn about the lives of some of my favourite authors was fascinating. Also neat to learn how their lives impacted one another right up to their deaths. If you are only interested in one or two of them you could easily just read the sections on them but it was a great book all round.

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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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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