- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: The Kent State University Press / Black Squirrel Books (December 8, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1606352768
- ISBN-13: 978-1606352762
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 108 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,132 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Bandersnatch: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the Creative Collaboration of the Inklings Paperback – December 8, 2015
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No one knows more than Diana Pavlac Glyer about the internal workings of the Inklings. In Bandersnatch, she shows us how they inspired, encouraged, refined and opposed one another in the course of producing some of the greatest literature of the last one hundred years. A brilliant and beautifully clear case study of iron sharpening iron. --Michael Ward, coeditor of C.S. Lewis at Poets Corner
The Inklings are about as important a group as ever existed in the literary world. This tremendous new book about them is much anticipated and hugely welcome! --Eric Metaxas, New York Times Bestselling author of Bonhoeffer and Miracles
What a gift! Bandersnatch is a joy to read and helps dispel that dangerous myth that our greatest writers created in solitude. We all need community in order to do our best work, and this book will show you how some of the greatest minds of the twentieth century did just that. You won't be able to read this book just once. --Jeff Goins, founder of Tribe Writers and author of The Art of Work
About the Author
Diana Pavlac Glyer is an award-winning writer who has spent more than 40 years combing through archives and studying old manuscripts. She is a leading expert on C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien; her book The Company They Keep (The Kent State University Press, 2007) changed the way we talk about these writers. Her scholarship, teaching, and work as an artist all circle back to one common theme: creativity thrives in community.
James A. Owen has written and illustrated the Starchild graphic novel, the Mythworld series of novels, the bestselling The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica, and the forthcoming series Fool's Hollow. He is also the author of the inspirational nonfiction trilogy The Meditations and the illustrator/designer of The Hundred Books Project, a series that showcases some of the greatest books ever published. His books have been translated into more than twenty languages, and more than a million copies are in print. He works in the Coppervale Studio, a century-old restored church in Northeastern Arizona.
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Bandersnatch is a phenomenal book; Diana Glyer hit all the right points in this story. She explained in great detail the thought process of how the Inklings evaluated each piece of writing. There was a great deal of research that went into this book, and she did an outstanding job. Diana explained all the writers in the story and who the Inklings were. She gave a great amount of detail and information, but she made it easy to read. This is the best book based on the study of collaboration that I have ever read!
It is interesting that Bandersnatch is a self-reporting product of collaboration. 1. The author met regularly with a group of her students, "Team Bandersnatch", to read the work in progress for their feedback. 2. The book contains 11 beautiful illustrations showing members of the Inklings, with a Bandersnatch someplace in each design. The author worked extensively with the artist. 3. The author mentions, in the text, collaborative work with a colleague on research about creative collaborative groups. 4. And, the front-matter says the author's daughter liked the title.
It is a book discussing the history of a successful creative writing group that contributed both to Tolkien`s The Lord of the Rings and Lewis' Narnia books but also to many worthy but less well known works of other members such as Owen Barfield, Charles Williams, or Lewis' brother Major Warren Lewis.
The book provides an ongoing discussion of the value of creative collaborative groups, of all kinds, and uses characteristics of the Inklings to illustrate what contributes to successful groups. The discussion provides insights from the author's own long and hard-earned experiences participating in and leading collaborative groups. There is a tip at the end of each chapter on how to make or maintain a group.
To sum up, I really enjoyed this book. My opening statement is not hyperbole. I do believe that every public library in the United States should own a copy of this book. In fact, every library that provides information on English literature should do so, either this or its predecessor The Company They Keep (an academic book). I think the contributions of the Inklings to English literature and to contemporary culture are so significant that it makes the study of their history relevant, and this book is a wonderful contribution to the great conversation about the Inklings, their place in history and literature, and the process of how they formed and maintained their creative group.
If you are already an Inklings fan, here is a feast of tasty morsels to savor! The author gives example after example from letters, margin notes, dedications, conversations, diaries and the like to show how the works of members of the Inklings were shaped by the others. For example, Tolkien was floundering in his attempt to produce a “Hobbit sequel” until Lewis gave a piece of advice about which Tolkien recorded: “Mr Lewis says hobbits are only amusing when in unhobbitlike situations.” Suddenly, Tolkien had a new direction for his story, more serious and weighty, and he soon reported that the story “is now flowing along.” This is the kind of detail, complete with specific dating, that the author provides to demonstrate how the Inklings did, indeed, support and influence each other’s work in substantive ways.
But even if you aren’t especially familiar with the Inklings, you will find much in this book to chew on and enjoy. Her description of the creative process in general, with its fits and starts, highs and lows, and different styles of creative work, has implications in many settings. Her insights into what productive collaboration requires and what supports and what hinders it are also widely applicable. At the end of every chapter, the author offers practical comments under the heading of “Doing What They Did.” In one of those sections, her distinction between giving diagnostic feedback vs prescriptive feedback immediately resonated with me (I work in the medical field); it also sparked insights for my personal life. Collaboration is not just for creatives. Or perhaps it is better to say that creativity is required in different forms in different settings, and collaboration is vitally important for it to flourish in any of them.
With gorgeous illustrations by James A Owen and the author’s silky smooth prose, this book is a delight to read. It is clear from many examples that the author practices what she preaches. This book has grown from her own creative collaborations and the “leaf-mould of the mind” (Tolkien’s apt phrase). It is well worth reading and pondering; I highly recommend “Bandersnatch.”