Inklings

The Earliest Days of the Inklings

By |2019-09-30T23:36:32-06:00September 30th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, C.S. Lewis, Imagination, Inklings, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Senior Contributors|

J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis talked, dined, drank, and walked together. And then, other friendships began to form around this critical one. Some arrived by chance, some by circumstance, and others by design. Eventually, they adopted a name: “The Inklings.” With the friendship of Tolkien and Lewis having grown into something almost preternaturally solid, [...]

“The Pilgrim’s Regress”: The Allegory of C.S. Lewis’ Conversion

By |2019-08-02T11:41:05-06:00July 29th, 2019|Categories: Books, Bradley J. Birzer, C.S. Lewis, Christian Humanism, Christianity, Fiction, Inklings, Literature, Senior Contributors|

In “The Pilgrim’s Regress,” C.S. Lewis fictionally traces his own intellectual and faith journey. As Lewis wrote ten years after the book’s first publication, “All good allegory exists not to hide but to reveal: to make the inner world more palpable by giving it an (imagined) concrete embodiment.” During the thirty-one years that C.S. [...]

Was Owen Barfield an Inkling?

By |2019-07-25T22:12:31-06:00July 25th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, C.S. Lewis, Christian Humanism, Friendship, Inklings, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Senior Contributors|

Any right-thinking individual, then or now, would want to have Owen Barfield as a vital and central member of the Inklings. Yet placing Barfield within the Inklings is incredibly difficult, given that he attended fewer than ten percent of the total meetings, and could not name the beginning or the end of the group. [...]

World War I and the Inklings

By |2019-07-18T21:38:17-06:00July 18th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, C.S. Lewis, Christian Humanism, Inklings, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Senior Contributors, War, World War I|

The Great War destroyed much the Inklings had held true, personally and culturally. Each lost friends, and each felt the guilt that any survivor of a war feels. Many of them refused to talk about their own experiences, for good or ill. J.R.R. Tolkien, perhaps, provides the best example. Though not the best-known Inkling, [...]

Friendship Among the Inklings

By |2019-10-05T10:36:03-06:00July 5th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, C.S. Lewis, Christian Humanism, Friendship, Inklings, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Senior Contributors|

J.R.R. Tolkien not only held onto friendship for dear life, but he also incorporated it into every aspect of his literary mythology. And for the Inklings, friendship had a mystical element. “Is any pleasure on earth as great as a circle of Christian friends by a fire?” C.S. Lewis once famously asked. Surely not, [...]

T.S. Eliot’s “Dry Salvages” & the Christian Philosophy of A.E. Taylor

By |2019-05-30T11:09:26-06:00July 27th, 2018|Categories: Books, Christianity, Conservatism, Great Books, History, Inklings, Plato, Poetry, T.S. Eliot|

Jesus saved a hurting T.S. Eliot. And Eliot, the greatest poet of the twentieth century, thought Jesus could save us as well. A person can hate the conclusion, but if English is your mother tongue, then you cannot ignore Eliot or his ideas. He shaped the twentieth-century imagination through his poetry and use of language. [...]

How Coherent Were the Inklings?

By |2019-01-07T13:56:29-06:00June 30th, 2017|Categories: Books, Bradley J. Birzer, C.S. Lewis, Christianity, Featured, Inklings, J.R.R. Tolkien|

Religion shaped the Inklings as much or even more than did whatever generational zeitgeist one might want to attribute to the group… Though not the best-known Inkling, Adam Fox had the privilege of being the first of the group to arrive in this world. Through no choice of his own, he appeared on July [...]

Tolkien’s War

By |2016-02-12T15:27:54-06:00November 3rd, 2015|Categories: Books, Bradley J. Birzer, C.S. Lewis, Christianity, Inklings, J.R.R. Tolkien, World War I|

Since the appearance of John Garth’s excellent Tolkien and the Great War in 2003, a number of scholars and writers have explored the role and influence of war on the fiction of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and other members of the Inklings. In reviewing Mr. Garth’s book when it came out, I noted that [...]

A Ring of Fellowship

By |2016-02-12T15:27:54-06:00October 22nd, 2015|Categories: Books, C.S. Lewis, Christianity, Featured, Inklings, J.R.R. Tolkien, Joseph Pearce|

The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings, by Philip Zaleski & Carol Zaleski (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux) “Every great man nowadays has his disciples,” wrote Oscar Wilde, “and it is always Judas who writes the biography.” Even conceding that Wilde was writing for effect and with his usual affectation, it is nonetheless [...]

Who Were the Inklings?

By |2019-10-05T10:36:41-06:00September 29th, 2015|Categories: Books, Bradley J. Birzer, C.S. Lewis, Christianity, Featured, Inklings, J.R.R. Tolkien|

While anyone who knows anything about C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Charles Williams, or Owen Barfield knows of the existence of the Inklings, the group remains nearly impossible to define. Even the members of the group could not identify exactly what it was or what it meant. By the mid 1940s, Lewis defined it as [...]

How Did Lewis and Tolkien Defend the Old West?

By |2019-05-09T10:31:40-06:00July 1st, 2015|Categories: Books, Bradley J. Birzer, C.S. Lewis, Christendom, Christianity, Featured, Inklings, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Senior Contributors|

In 1958, at a Dutch bash held in his honor, J.R.R. Tolkien told his audience: I look East, West, North, South, and I do not see Sauron. But I see that Saruman has many descendants. We Hobbits have against them no magic weapons. Yet, my gentle hobbits, I give you this toast: To the [...]

Sir Martin Gilbert and the Inklings

By |2016-02-12T15:28:03-06:00January 21st, 2015|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Christianity, Inklings, J.R.R. Tolkien, Oxford University|

During my time at Hillsdale College—having arrived in the fall of 1999—the college hired a number of fascinating persons to come and lecture on what might be considered a permanent, part-time basis. That is, these scholars and writers came, say, every fall semester and taught classes for up to three or four weeks. These [...]

The White City: Why The Inklings Matter

By |2019-02-25T13:38:32-06:00June 25th, 2013|Categories: Books, Bradley J. Birzer, C.S. Lewis, Christendom, Christianity, Inklings, J.R.R. Tolkien|Tags: |

The White City, in its pride and presumption, lay under siege. Having gathered “his most cunning smiths and sorcerers,” Melko, the twisted one, had directed the creation of organic machines, through “iron and flame” to attack. Led by the leader of the demonic balrogs, Gothmog, and armed with such unholy weapons, Melko’s forces breached [...]

Owen Barfield: Effective Approach to Social Change (part I)

By |2018-12-10T17:34:34-06:00February 10th, 2012|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, Inklings, Literature, Moral Imagination|Tags: |

Few conservatives–with the notable exception of John Lukacs–remember or cite Owen Barfield any longer. This is a shame, and Barfield should really stand with the great Christian Humanists of the previous century. Perhaps his best work is his first, Poetic Diction, originally his undergraduate thesis at Oxford (1922). Published commercially in 1928, it has never [...]