The Inklings – J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Charles WilliamsWithin the next couple of months, a new book examining J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis and how they influenced each others’ works will be published… It’s titled The Company They Keep: C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien as Writers in Community (by Diana Glyer), and thus far I’ve heard some very good things about this new work. Here’s a description, with a short review by Josh L. (who’s kept me up to date on the status of this book… thanks Josh!):
Description: The creators of Narnia and Middle-earth, C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien were close friends and professional colleagues. They met frequently with a community of fellow writers at Oxford in the 1930s and 1940s, all sharing their works-in-progress. The group became known as the Inklings.
This important study challenges the standard interpretation that Lewis, Tolkien, Charles Williams, Owen Barfield, and the other Inklings had little influence on one another’s work, drawing on the latest research in composition studies and the sociology of the creative process. Diana Glyer invites readers into the heart of the group, examining diary entries and personal letters and carefully comparing the rough drafts of their manuscripts with their final, published work.
Her analysis not only demonstrates the high level of mutual influence that characterized this writers group but also provides a lively and compelling picture of how writers and other creative artists challenge, correct, and encourage one another as they work together in community.
Review: Although this book has not been released, I have had the great privilege of having already read it. I would highly recommend preordering this book. It is a must have and a must read. It is, without a doubt, the most comprehensive and complete work ever written on C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien. Diana Glyer’s research is exhaustive, and her prose radiates with a clarity and eloquentness that goes unparalleled in academic writing. Whether you are a new fan of these authors or you have been studying them for years, you will find plenty to enjoy within the pages of this book. –Josh L.