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 20th 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' 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 20th century's darkest years - and did so.
©2015 Philip Zaleski and Carol Zaleski (P)2015 Recorded Books
Absolutely fascinating read for devotees of the Oxford phenomenon. I have read several biographies of the key members- Lewis, Tolkien, Williams,etc -but not until filling out the edges with the stories of how they interacted together did I appreciate the joyfulness, intellectual depth and spiritual searching that came from these timely friendships. I have to admit that whilst thoroughly enjoying the intellectual stimulation of following the various paths of philosophy and debate, I also found myself moved to tears a few times! A Great balance of their humanity... and beyond.
It seems that practically everyone loves either Narnia or Middle Earth these days. But what this book does is look at not only the lives and careers of their famous creators (C.S.Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien respectively) but also looks at the careers of two other members of the famed literary society, the Inklings, Charles Williams and Owen Barfield. It gave me so much pleasure to learn about how these men (and wow, is this a male dominated book) came together to smoke, drink, and talk. The rich, heady pleasure of creation is very present in this book. Lewis and Tolkien, unsurprisingly, dominate this book as they doubtless did the society itself. Still, the Zaleskis don't just give token notice of the others but try to be proportional in their coverage. Tolkien and Lewis rate much more coverage simply because they are much more influential.
It did make me wistful as I listened to this, to think of the world that we have lost. I think a core message of the lives of all of the Inklings was not only the importance of humans as social animals but also humans as creative ones as well. All of the Inklings spent their lives writing, critiquing, and revising their work. Indeed, the spirit of revision in response to the honest criticism that they offered one another is the strongest message of this book. Also, the overwhelming idea of Christianity as an intellectual impetus for these giants is not as much of the public discourse as it merits. Christianity and the spiritual lives of the Inklings is huge and is well and thoroughly covered in this book. This is a fascinating look at a group of fascinating men (too bad Dorothy L. Sayers didn't get more respect from these men because she was such a fine writer). Not an easy book but worth the time and effort.
Narnia and Middle Earth are places of magic that will doubtless be a source of wonder and delight for many generations to come. This is a grand place to learn about their creators and some of the lesser lights of the time and place.
If my friend was interested and had read Lewis and Tolkien, yes. For the uninitiated, this study may be too dense and scholarly.
Not a character, but a central figure, JRR Tolkien, as I have always admired his devotion to the making of the "legendarium" as a storehouse of tales for our age, from another...
He handles the personalities emerging in the Zaleskis' telling well. He modulates his voice to suit the mood, and over 20+ hours, engages the reader in an intellectual investigation
The Inklings: more than beer at the Bird and the Baby
The Zaleskis' respect our intelligence. They understand the worlds that Lewis, Tolkien, Owen Barfield and Charles Williams created, and they critique them evenly and fairly, while remaining sympathetic to their anti-modernist credo and their surprising pop culture impact.
If you want some insight into how CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien became the men who wrote their famous works, you'll find that out and more. I finished with a greater apreciation for their place in the literary world. Barfield and Williams do not receive the same exposure, but their place in the lives of Lewis and Tolkien opens the door to their own creativity. I enjoyed it all.
Yes. Definitely from the Zaleski's. The recording is terrible, but I don't think it is the fault of the narrator--the speed is too slow on the recording and neither the 1.0 or the speeded up 1.25 sound natural. The 1.25 is at least bearable, though the faster speed makes the voice unnatural.
The book is non-fiction, so it's not "plotted" for thrills.
[see above] The recording is terrible, but I don't think it is the fault of the narrator--the speed is too slow on the recording and neither the 1.0 or the speeded up 1.25 sound natural. The 1.25 is at least bearable, though the faster speed makes the voice unnatural. If you play it exactly as it downloads, the voice is artificially slow, drawling, and robotic. Speeded up makes it less annoying, but the tone is still wrong.
Look up more books by the Zaleskies.
Please don't make this kind of recording with the speed of the voice manipulated to fit different speeds on different devices. Keep the natural voices of the readers.
The authors brilliantly illustrate the chemistry of the Inklings by showing the life trajectories of each of the group's most prominent members and the way their love of Christian and pre-Christian traditions united them in 1930s-40s Oxford. I've long been a student of Tolkien and Lewis. This book sets their stories in the rich literary traditions of English and Classical Studies of 20th Century England. A rich delight.
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