Since the first call for chapters for The Inklings and King Arthur, this not-so-little book has been on its own adventure. Conference panels, keynote talks, digital round-table discussions, and crowd-sourced funding were all part of a long editorial and publication journey, shepherded all the way by editor Sørina Higgins. The result is a rigorous 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. I was pleased to provide one of the chapters, where I used the opportunity to test out some theory stuff I am working on. Specifically, I wrote 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).
While it is not a great surprise to me, the book has been received well. Philip Jenkins has a nice review on Patheos. Folks were talking about it at the recent C.S. Lewis & Friends conference (there’s a picture of me somewhere describing the book badly). Researchers are using it and there is a great social media feeling about it.
And, news of news, it has been shortlisted for the Mythopoeic Scholarship Award in Inklings Studies! This prize is given to books on J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and/or Charles Williams that makes significant contributions to Inklings scholarship. Check out editor Sørina Higgins’ release here to see the fine company the I&A book is joining. I’d love to be going to Mythcon in Atlanta this year.
Well, my copy of the book finally came! It actually arrived while I was doing archival work at the Marion E. Wade Center in Wheaton. I thought the address tag was so cool–that’s a powerful c/o on the label–I took a picture of it on Charles Williams’ trunk.
If any artifact were to have some degree of power it would come from Charles Williams. However, while you are at the Wade it is hard to resist the English garden, cottagy, hobbitish nature of the world of stories of letters that they made in this idyllic American town. Here I am doing my book selfie in front of the (probably imported) Narnian lamppost at the Wade:
And inside the Wade there is the Wardrobe–the Wardrobe, I’m told, the Lewis family piece that may have inspired that long-sought-for gateway to Narnia:
Have you taken a selfie with your copy and hashtagged it #InklingsandArthur? Please do so. The book has sold well, so make sure you grab your copy from your local bookseller and request that your library order it in. As an academic book it is cheap, but if the price is still high, I’d encourage you to look at the kindle version, which is $10 or less in most places. Bloggers, make sure you share your thoughts with the world and watch for academic journal reviews to start appearing later this year.
To supplement the book, there is also an extensive Inklings and Arthur series, hosted here on A Pilgrim in Narnia. The series includes authors and artists from the collection, as well as some other friends of the blog:
Post #1: “The Launch of The Inklings and King Arthur” by blog host and C.S. Lewis scholar Brenton Dickieson
Post #2: “Inklings and Arthur Series Introduction” by series editor and Charles Williams scholar David Llewellyn Dodds
Post #3: “The Argument Continues: Late 20th Century Christian and Pagan Depictions of Arthur and the Grail” by Suzanne Bray, professor of British literature and vivilisation
Post #4: “A Personal Reflection on Logres and The Matter of Britain” by Stephen Winter, Anglican minister and Tolkienist
Post #5: “‘The Name is Against Them’: C.S. Lewis and the Problem of Arthur” by Gabriel Schenk, Arthurian scholar at Signum University
Post #6: “An ‘Easy to Read’ Modern Arthurian Epic” by Dale Nelson, academic and columnist for CSL
Post #7: The Signum University “Inklings & King Arthur Roundtable” with Inklings scholars Corey Olsen, Malcolm Guite, Sørina Higgins, and Brenton Dickieson
Post #8: “Wood-Woses: Tolkien’s Wild Men and the Green Knight” by King’s College medievalist Ethan Campbell
Post #9: “Inklings and Arthur: An Artist’s Perspective” by book designer Emily Austin
Post #10: “Arthurian Literature and the Old Everyman’s Library” by Dale Nelson, academic and columnist for CSL
Post #11: “Filling the Gaps in History: Mythopoesis as Deep Insight” by Inklings scholar Charles Huttar
Post #12: “Chesterton, Arthur, and Enchanting England” by Chesterton scholar J. Cameron Moore
Post #13: “Thor: Ragnarok and C.S. Lewis’ Mythic Passions” by Josiah Peterson, teacher in “The Rhetoric of C.S. Lewis” at The King’s College in New York
Post #14: “Charles Williams’s Arthurian Treasury” by Grevel Lindop, Charles Williams biographer
Post #15: “Tiny Fairies: J.R.R. Tolkien’s ‘Errantry’ and Martyn Skinner’s Sir Elfadore and Mabyna” by Dale Nelson, academic and columnist for CSL
Post 16: “C.S. Lewis’ Arthuriad: Survey and Speculation” by blog host and C.S. Lewis scholar Brenton Dickieson
Post 17: ““The Grail: Cup, Stone – Santo Caliz? – and the Inklings?” by David Llewellyn Dodds” by series editor and Charles Williams scholar David Llewellyn Dodds
Here are a few other Arthur-related posts on A Pilgrim in Narnia:
- C.S. Lewis’ Teenage Bookshelf, and Other Lessons on Reading (19 Mar 2018)
- Life Lessons from King Arthur’s Court (23 Jun 2014)
- Arthurian Overload (26 May 2014)
- The Words C.S. Lewis Made Up: Grailologist (8 Nov 2017)
- The Words C.S. Lewis Made Up: Curialisation (15 Nov 2017)
- Losing the Safety of the Real in That Hideous Strength (13 Dec 2016)
- Why is Merlin in That Hideous Strength? (14 Jan 2015)
- Two Different Prefaces to C.S. Lewis’ That Hideous Strength (7 Jul 2014)
- Taliessin through Logres 17: “The Son of Lancelot” (10 Jun 2016)
- An Essential Reading List from C.S. Lewis: An Experiment on An Experiment in Criticism (4 Aug 2016)
- On Reading The Faerie Queene for the First Time (3 Jun 2015)
- Star Wars and the Sword in the Stone (4 May 2016)
- Sleepless Knights by Mark H. Williams (8 Feb 2016)
- How I Learned to Speak British, or A Review of David Downing’s Looking for the King: An Inklings Novel (31 Jul 2012)