Today is the day that The Inklings and King Arthur is available now on Amazon and other bookseller lists. In 2013, a previously-unpublished work by J.R.R. Tolkien appeared: The Fall of Arthur, his only explicitly Arthurian writing. The publication of this poem highlighted the many connections between “The Matter of Britain” and not only Tolkien’s legendarium but the work of all the Inklings. While most of Inklings Arthuriana was incomplete, obscure, or unpublished, we have to regard this legend as one of the critical connective tissues of the Oxford Inklings.
Perceiving the link, literary scholar Sørina Higgins invited an examination of the theological, literary, historical, and linguistic implications of the Arthurian writings of all the major Inklings: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Charles Williams, and Owen Barfield. The result was The Inklings and King Arthur: J.R.R. Tolkien, Charles Williams, C.S. Lewis, & Owen Barfield on the Matter of Britain. This edited essay collection examines the Arthurian works of Tolkien, Lewis, Williams, Barfield, their predecessors, and their contemporaries. The result is a collection of 20 essays from senior and emerging scholars that offers exciting, rigorous analytical perspectives on a wide range of the Inklings’ Arthurian and related works.
This is an essential academic book, and I am proud of my own contribution, where I think about how Lewis brings various fictional worlds together in That Hideous Strength (Lewis’ only overt Arthurian novel, and one of the few Inklings pieces of Arthurian fiction to be published when it was written).
What can you do to celebrate this Inklings and Arthur showpiece?
- You can join us for a special Inklings and Arthur blog series that will run this winter on A Pilgrim in Narnia. Each Wednesday there will be a special feature on one or more of the Inklings and the many worlds of the Matter of Britain. Posts will include writers from the volume, as well as other leading bloggers and scholars in the field. Look for posts on:
- C.S. Lewis and the Legends of Arthur, Charles Williams’ Commonplace Book, Christian and Pagan Depictions of the Grail, the personalization of Logres and Britain, Chesterton on the Imagination, and thoughts about history and Arthuriad.
- I will post a little bit about my own chapter.
- Guest Editor David Llewellyn Dodds will be overseeing the entire affair, with his own academic strength in both the Inklings and Arthurian worlds.
- Also be sure to watch for a post by the cover artist, Emily Austin.
- The official launch party will be on January 13th at TexMoot (at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas). I’m afraid I won’t get to the noontime party or TexMoot, but you can register for TexMoot here.
- In a much less official capacity, you can join some rogue Inklings for a bit of a Twitter banter session tonight (January 1st at 8:00pm). Watch for the hashtag ##InklingsAndArthur, and be sure to follow them on twitter (I will be the Lewis tweeter):
- You can review the book on your blog, or a popular magazine, or for an academic journal. If you are a Reviews Editor, send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get you to the book’s publisher.
- Do recommend the book to your local library.
- Please also share the news on your own social media accounts, linking back to this post or any that will make sure the right readers find their way to the book.
- And, of course, you can pick the book up for yourself!