The Company They Keep: C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien as Writers in Community Paperback – October 30, 2008
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“The Company They Keep is a must for university libraries with strong Inklings collections or that serve institutions with creative writing programs.” ―Tolkien Studies
“I hardly know where to begin when listing the possibilities for Glyer’s book for the researcher. Starting with the obvious, anyone researching Lewis, Tolkien, or any of the other Inklings (either the men or their works), will find plenty of useful information both in the text and in the copious and often entertaining footnotes. Glyer’s practical illustration of LeFevre’s analysis of critique groups (almost a case study) is also valuable when researching such groups and the effect they have on writers in general. The book is relatively free from jargon and accessible to the educated layman. Anyone with a love of literature or writing will gain immense pleasure and knowledge from this thoroughly researched, very well-written book.” ― Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts
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In The Company They Keep, Glyer defines and delineates a number of areas in which the various Inklings did indeed have an impact not only on each other’s personal lives as friends, but also on their professional lives and works as colleagues. Exhaustive evidence is provided to support these claims, demonstrating how these men acted and reacted upon each other as resonators, encouragers, sometime opponents, editors, collaborators, and referents.
Additionally, in the course of proving the influence of the Inklings on one another, Glyer makes a strong case for the importance of community in the life of every writer.
P.S. Don't skip the footnotes - they contain excellent content in themselves!
Here's why I value this book so much. I'm fond not just of solid research and fascinating information -- I'm fond of truly exceptional writing. This author sets a new standard for excellence in organization, accessibility, depth -- plus rich, lively, and satisfying detail. She puts her readers "there" -- into the lives and minds and hearts of Lewis, Tolkien and other Inklings. I treasure The Company They Keep. I recommend it to fans as well as scholars.
As a history or "group biography" THE COMPANY THEY KEEP would be a valuable addition to any collection of books by and about the Inklings. But it is more than that. It also shows you, through the interactions of the Inklings, how true collaboration and "influence" works in a group dynamic. The prose is clear and lively, and will keep you engaged in the subject. It will fascinate and encourage any writer, and in fact, any reader. I highly recommend it!
"When a tree grows by itself, it spreads out, but does not grow tall.
When trees grow together in the forest, they help push each other up towards the sun."