Were the Inklings, that group of Oxford-based writers that most famously contained both C S Lewis and J R R Tolkien, simply friends? Or did the influence they had on each other go far beyond friendship, enabling the individual members to achieve heights in their writings that they would not have been able to reach otherwise? Was there a crusading common purpose that made one young member, the poet and novelist John Wain, describe them as a 'circle of instigators' pitched against a sneering world obsessed by all things modern? Were they, as he claimed, bent on 'the task of redirecting the whole current of contemporary art and life'? In this fascinating book, Tolkien and Lewis expert, Colin Duriez unpacks the Inklings, exploring the lives of the individuals and the group, and showing how they influenced, encouraged, moulded and changed each other. He also covers the less celebrated Inklings who have been neglected for too long –Warren Lewis, Nevill Coghill, Lord David Cecil, Adam Fox, Hugo Dyson et al, while paying full attention to the more acknowledged names – including Charles Williams, and Owen Barfield. What brought them together? And what, eventually, drove them apart from their initial focus upon each other’s writings?
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
"The Oxford Inklings" by Colin Duriez is a manageable collection of mini-autobiographies of the renowned men who made up the Inklings. These men were C. S. Lewis, JRR Tolkien, Charles Williams, and others of academic and literary fame. Collectively, these men soldiered, authored many books from theology to poetry, and instructed at some prestigious British and American Universities. They were friends first, and critics of each other's work when relevant, and they all were believers of Christ or came to be. Ravi Zacharias' question "Can man live without God?" could have been answered by any of these fellows. If you're a fan of C. S. Lewis, I can recommend this book. Eric Metaxas, a modern philosopher and theologian, holds educational forums under the name "Socrates in the City" where brilliant minds gather to inform regarding various topics. These gatherings are a chance to question and dialogue. I can't help but think that's a lot like the Inklings, who gathered to eat, drink, and think. I thank Lion Hudson for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest opinion. This book will be joining Mr. Duriez's other book "An A to Z of C.S Lewis" as well as a whole host of other Lewis-themed titles, on my shelf.