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The Company They Keep: C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien as Writers in Community Hardcover – March 1, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0873388900 ISBN-10: 0873388909

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 293 pages
  • Publisher: Kent State University Press (March 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0873388909
  • ISBN-13: 978-0873388900
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.1 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #579,091 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"In her book-length study, Glyer stands on the shoulders of giants, and yet with balance, style, and sheer hard work she manages to dwarf them. In particular, she completes nearly twenty years of work by updating and even surpassing Humphrey Carpenter's The Inklings: C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, Charles Williams and Their Friends. In so doing, Glyer has crafted an eminently readable and thoroughly scholarly book She explores in depth and in careful detail the ways that Lewis and Tolkien and their friends wrote in community, and points to collaboration as a key not only to understanding the Inklings but also to comprehending their several writing processes." --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

"This is an admirably balanced overview of the web of intellectual and literary interactions of the Inklings. I found myself captured by her engaging writing style, the breadth of her research, and the cogency of her argument. Her own work will itself influence the texture of Inklings scholarship for years to come. It's good, very good indeed." --Verlyn Flieger, author of Splintered Light, A Question of Time, and Interrupted Music

"The Company They Keep is an astonishingly thorough work, lucidly and boldly illuminating the collaborative writing processes of C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien and their colleagues during the most fruitful period of their careers. Diana Glyer's impressive achievement immediately supersedes in scope and authority all previous treatments of the Inklings in extant biographies and encyclopedia." --Bruce L Edwards, author of Not-a-Tame Lion, Further Up and Further In, and A Rhetoric of Reading


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Customer Reviews

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It's a great book; not a "fun" read, but definitely a fascinating one for the serious reader.
J. Miller
If you are a fan of one or more of the Inklings, this book is worth the read for the information alone.
K. Scheele
Glyer's book provides valuable insight for fans and scholars of The Inklings collective works.
Mark Johnson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By S. Long on January 15, 2007
Format: Hardcover
"This is an admirably balanced overview of the web of intellectual and literary interactions of the Inklings that is sure to become an invaluable resource for future readers and scholars. I found myself captured by her engaging writing style, the breadth of her research, and the cogency of her argument. Her own work will itself influence the texture of Inklings scholarship for years to come. It's good, very good indeed."
Verlyn Flieger, professor of English, University of Maryland at College Park, Author of _Splintered Light_ and _A Question of Time_

"Not only does _The Company They Keep_ provide a much-needed fresh look at the Inklings, but it also affords rich insights into the creative and collaborative process itself. There is much to learn and much to enjoy in this excellent volume. This engaging study deserves a place in the library of all those who value the works of the Inklings and is also a worthwhile volume for any who are interested in examining the craft of writing and the impact of creating within the community."
Marjorie Lamp Mead, associate director of the Marion E. Wade Center, Wheaton College

"_The Company They Keep_ is an astonishingly thorough work, lucidly and boldly illuminating the collaborative writing process of Lewis, Tolkien, and their colleagues during the most fruitful period of their careers. Diana Glyer's impressive achievement supersedes in scope and authority all previous treatments of the Inklings and will perhaps become the new standard by which rhetoricians and literary critics should judge the cogency of subsequent research into the phenomenon of writing in community."
Bruce L. Edwards, professor of English, Bowling Green State University

In 1978, Humphrey Carpenter published _Inklings: C. S. Lewis, J. R. R.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A. Campbell on April 23, 2007
Format: Hardcover
If you're interested in community, the writing process, or Tolkien and Lewis, this is the best book out this year. I have to be careful not to pick up the book when I'm supposed to be doing homework. It's entertaining reading full of fascinating facts and an inside look at how works like Lord of the Rings got written.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Janet L Brandon on April 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book shows scholarly intellect, hard work, dedication, and insightful thought that I have only achieved in lofty dreams. Diana Glyer presents interesting, insiteful, and inspiring information about the Inklings that you will not find anywhere else. I have never read a book that so skillfully puts scholarship in such an accessable read. For anyone who is a fan of the Inklings, Lewis, Tolkien, Williams, or anyone remotely related to these men do yourself a favor and read this book.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By R. Andrea on April 2, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Diana Pavlac Glyer does a great service to both the history and understanding of literature and to budding writers (and friends of writers), who may have been misled by previous theories about the interaction by the Inklings. The former gain a well-documented investigation of who the Inklings were as well as how and when they influenced each other's writers. The latter gain a practical guide of the ways and means by which writers in community. As Glyer approvingly quotes Karen Burke LeFevre, "Certain acts of invention--or certain phases of the inventive acts--are best understood if we think of them as being made possible by other people." Glyer makes a good case that Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" might never have been written, let alone published had it not been for the support of other Inklings.

"The Company They Keep" is a must read for writers as well as enthusiasts of the Inklings.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J. Miller on June 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Glyer has put together an incredibly researched study of the relationships of "The Inklings," the social gathering that included C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien among others. "The Company They Keep" is not a casual read for the Narnia fan; it is a scholarly exposition of the influence that the Inklings had upon one another and the way that that influence appears in their works.

Using a formula for determining influence created by another scholar, Karen Lefevre, Glyer analyzes the way the Inklings served as Resonators (encouraging voices), Opponents (thoughtful critics), Editors, and Collaborators (project teammates) for one another. She then adds her own fifth category, that they were Referents who wrote about one another and promoted one another's books to publishers and the public. Ultimately, Glyer rejects what Inkling scholarship heretofore has asserted: that the Inklings by their own admission did not largely influence each other. Glyer argues that such claims were aimed at acknowledging their independent credibility, but that in fact they had significant roles in shaping one another's works.

So the book is important on two levels. It contributes notably to biographical scholarship on the Inklings. But is also makes thoughtful contributions to literary criticism, which traces and debates the nature of influence. Glyer is immersed in the field and defends her thesis well.

It's a great book; not a "fun" read, but definitely a fascinating one for the serious reader.

James W. Miller is the author of God Scent: A Devotional
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Guy Kinnear on September 5, 2009
Format: Paperback
I teach an MFA class on critique & artist communities, and I have used this COMPANY THEY KEEP as a textbook for the last two. Others have commented on how well researched it is. I love it for the class because it so effectively challenges the myth of the solitary artist, AND because it gives some wonderful guidelines on how creatives support and critique each other. that those guidelines are based on research instead of wistful thinking is also a rare gift. Also, It's application transcends just the writing disciplines; it applies to visual artist communities as well.
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