Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Buy Used
FREE Shipping on orders over $25.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Good condition books may have some underlining or marking, or some slight bending. Books may have sales stickers from previous booksellers or remainder marks. Some good condition books are former library copies. We ship in recyclable American-made mailers. 100% money-back guarantee on all orders.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

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

4.5 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

See all 9 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
Paperback, March 3, 1997
$18.82 $1.95

Up to 50% off select popular Fiction books
Featured titles are up to 50% off for a limited time. See all titles
click to open popover

Editorial Reviews


'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 alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

HUMPHREY CARPENTER (1946-2005) was a prolific biographer and a highly entertaining broadcaster for BBC Radio. He authored many notable biographies, including The Brideshead Generation and J. R. R. Tolkien: A Biography. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

New York Times best sellers
Browse the New York Times best sellers in popular categories like Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Books and more. See more

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 (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,406,750 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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.
Comment 44 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
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.
Comment 40 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
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.
Comment 15 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
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.
Comment 15 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews