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The Inklings: C.S.Lewis, J.R.R.Tolkien, Charles Williams and Their Friends Paperback – March 3, 1997


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd (March 3, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0261103474
  • ISBN-13: 978-0261103474
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,719,160 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

'A constantly enjoyable volume' John Carey, Sunday Times 'A triumph of skill and tact... not one dull or slack sentence' Kingsley Amis, New Statesman 'It must be technically very difficult to write a biography of more than one person at a time: it is still more difficult to capture the atmosphere of a group... Mr Carpenter has managed both things admirably' Mary Warnock, Sunday Telegraph --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Humphrey Carpenter was born in Oxford in 1946 and has spent most of his life in that city. He read English Language and Literature at Keble College, Oxford, and met Professor J.R.R. Tolkien on a number of occasions. For some years he worked for the BBC as a radio producer and broadcaster and has won acclaim as a top biographer, including the recent and controversial biography of Robert Runcie. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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I enjoyed this on audio cassettes.
Book Glutton
Carpenter captures the character of some of the most interesting British writers of the WWII/post-WWII era: C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, Charles Williams.
Katherine Woodbury
Anyone interested in these legendary writers cannot miss out on reading this book (the trick is in FINDING it)!
Cipriano

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 37 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 14, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien were two of the most innovative and popular authors of our century. They, and other, less popular authors (e.g. Charles Williams, Owen Barfield) were friends, and met regularly at Oxford to read their new works aloud to each other, and to criticize each others' work (as well as to smoke, drink and goof off). The Screwtape Letters and the Lord of the Rings were developed in this forum. Carpenter, like no other biographer I know of, captures the group spirit of these geniuses, giving the reader exciting insights into their influences upon each other, and into their fascinating, strange lives. Particularly interesting is Carpenter's account of the spiritual dimension of these men -- especially Lewis, who converted from staunch atheism to a devout Christianity under the influence of Tolkien and Barfield (among others). I recommend this book to any lover of the above-mentioned authors. I think it would also be of interest to many lovers of fantasy, and to any Christian with a literary bent.
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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By D. Bass on July 30, 2000
Format: Audio Cassette
If you're interested in the history and lives of famous 20th century authors, this book is definitely for you. "The Inklings" is a delightful peek into the world of the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, retelling the lives of several great authors. Among these are C.S. Lewis, author of the Chronicles of Narnia series; J.R.R. Tolkien, author of "The Lord of the Rings"; Charles Williams, a somewhat less noticed author now a days; and many others.
The group consisted of a rather small membership, but the ideas and input that the men gave to each other in regards to their writing probably turned out to be invaluable by the time their works were ready for publication. It was to the Inklings that Lewis first read his "The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe", and Tolkien his "Lord of the Rings" which the group simply called "The Hobbit Book".
This has been the best biography I've found on this group of writers, and indeed carries more detail about C.S. Lewis than many biographies dedicated solely to him have. The same is true with Tolkien and Williams. Even if you're simply a curious fan, wanting to know a little bit more about the men who created some of the 20th century's finest literature, this book still delivers.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By J. head on March 18, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Perhaps the best book to glimpse an overall picture of a world famous literary group that formed at Oxford University, around the era of World War II. The author, Humphrey Carpenter performed an admirable job weaving the highlights of a University literary club dominated by C.S. Lewis, but also including members such as J.R.R. Tolkien, and Charles Williams and other lesser known contributors over a span of three decades. Many of the members had literary works in progress and used this group as a sounding board. The members of the Inklings acting as critics. It was in this time period that Charles Williams perfected his poetical style, and Tolkien wrote most of his "Lord of the Rings Trilogy". This group was responsible for the inspiration and final output of many of its member's best works. The author would tell of the member's part within the group and tidbits of their lives outside the group. Humphrey Carpenter, the author has mastered the technique of balancing the highlights of the Inklings as a literary group and also managed to include a little personal background on each of its members. A quick scan of the authors previous works will show that he could do this because he has written about some of the members individually. The reader will feel that in this one book one has gained a true idea of the nature of the Inklings along with a neat biography of some of its members. The Inklings as a group paralleled the life of C.S.Lewis, The group was at the height of its influence when Lewis`s career was at its peak and then as different writing styles became fashionable, members of the group also died or were replaced. This book is worth the read, one sees the spark of an idea formulated by this group later brought out as a book by one of its members.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Cipriano on August 31, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Anyone interested in these legendary writers cannot miss out on reading this book (the trick is in FINDING it)! Lewis (d.1963), Tolkien (d.1973) and Williams (d.1945) were, and remain, three of the most profound and influential authors of the 20th Century. Carpenter's book captures the atmosphere of the friendship that existed between these three "Oxonians" as they met to drink beer on Tuesdays at the "Bird & Baby" and read selections from their works in progress. Among the "friends" who can also be considered Inklings we find R.E. Havard, Owen Barfield, Hugo Dyson, Colin Hardie, David Cecil, Lewis's brother Warnie and others that I'm forgetting here. Through Carpenter's excellent book we get to lean in on the banter of unrivalled literary wit and wisdom. Here in "The Inklings" we get as close as possible to an understanding of the depth of these great minds... in these meetings, great works such as The Lord of The Rings, The Screwtape Letters, and All Hallows Eve were read aloud for the first time to the laughter, approval and/or criticism of those at table.
Carpenter's book is very well written, well laid out and had me captivated from start to finish. This book was the worthy winner of the Somerset Maugham Award for Best Biography.
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