The Romantic Theology of Charles Williams

By |2019-12-04T21:15:06-06:00December 4th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Christianity, Culture, Inklings, Love, Marriage, Religion, Senior Contributors, Theology|

Just as we consume the Eucharist at Mass, recognizing the holiness of the act, so some marriages become profound examples and witnesses of holiness. By habit and faith, Charles Williams contended, the serious Christian begins to see all meals as a shadow of the Eucharist and all love as a shadow of Holy Matrimony. [...]

Living in the Same Spiritual World: C.S. Lewis & Charles Williams

By |2019-12-01T22:01:42-06:00December 1st, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Character, Christianity, Imagination, Inklings, Literature, Senior Contributors|

Charles Williams joined the Inklings immediately after Oxford University Press moved its offices from London to Oxford because of the war with Germany. Though C.S. Lewis found Williams’ work compelling, even life-changing, the other members expressed doubts. “I had a pleasant evening on Thursday with Williams, Tolkien, and Wrenn, during which Wrenn expressed ALMOST [...]

A Forgotten Inkling: Lord David Cecil

By |2019-11-21T01:20:24-06:00November 20th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Character, Christianity, Imagination, Inklings, Literature, Senior Contributors|

Lord David Cecil not only contributed more to the Inklings overall than did some of its other members, he was also the first of the Inklings to achieve fame, though few remember him now. Though most scholars have focused on C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Owen Barfield, and Charles Williams as the key Inklings, the [...]

Lord David Cecil’s Philosophy of History

By |2019-11-18T14:53:33-06:00November 15th, 2019|Categories: Books, Bradley J. Birzer, History, Imagination, Inklings, Literature, Senior Contributors|

A deep and sympathetic biography of the troubled eighteenth-century proto-Romantic poet and classicist, William Cowper, The Stricken Deer (1929) reveals the genius of its author, a young and determined Lord David Cecil, one of the most important, if forgotten, members of the Inklings. Cecil found the key to understanding Cowper in the mad poet’s [...]

The Earliest Days of the Inklings

By |2019-09-30T23:36:32-05:00September 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 |2019-08-02T11:41:05-05:00July 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 |2019-07-25T22:12:31-05:00July 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 |2019-07-18T21:38:17-05:00July 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 |2019-10-05T10:36:03-05:00July 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 |2019-05-30T11:09:26-05:00July 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 |2019-10-05T10:36:41-05:00September 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 [...]