It is an intriguing fact of literary history that the Inklings were individually fascinated by the Arthurian legends. Christopher Tolkien’s publication of his father’s The Fall of Arthur caused a literary sensation in 2013, highlighting how deeply the Matter of Britain is in conversation with Tolkien’s legendarium. Arthurian themes run through C.S. Lewis’ fiction—including the eruption of the whole Arthurian landscape into his dystopic That Hideous Strength—and he approaches Arthurian material as a scholar. Charles Williams, who published two Arthurian books of poems and one Grail novel, left much of his work on his desk after his sudden passing in 1945. Owen Barfield’s fiction dances with Arthurian themes, and many of us encountered Arthur first through Roger Lancelyn Green’s adaptation of Morte D’Arthur.
King Arthur seems to be one of the centrifugal forces of the Inklings as a loose literary collective. It is this observation that drew a number of Inklings readers together to produce The Inklings and King Arthur, prolifically edited by Sørina Higgins. This volume contains 20 essays from leading and emerging scholars and is the essential resource for the field.
In celebration of the launch of The Inklings and King Arthur in January, A Pilgrim in Narnia is hosting a series of guest blogs on the topic. For this occasion, we have invited David Llewellyn Dodds to be a guest editor. David is doubtless the right knight for this adventure. David has an essay on Charles Williams’ The Chapel of the Thorn, an award-nominated archival publication by Sørina Higgins. David has edited the Arthurian Poets volumes for both John Masefield and Charles Williams, which fills out our Williams Arthuriad in critical ways. Beyond all that, David is a frequent commentator here on A Pilgrim in Narnia, and will help the conversation greatly.
Besides featuring some of the authors from The Inklings and King Arthur, we are opening up the series to other readers of the Matter of Britain (Arthuriana) and the Matter of Oxford (the Inklings and their friends and influences). Proposals should include a title, a summary of the blog idea, and a brief bio of the author. Please also include a writing sample, a draft of the blog, or a draft introduction to the post.
Please email all proposals by Dec 20th to firstname.lastname@example.org. The series will begin in January and will hopefully extend the dialogue of the text into a new world of great readers.