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The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the…

The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings: J.R.R. Tolkien, C. S.…

by Philip Zaleski, Carol Zaleski

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This may well have been the most disappointing book I have read this year. As a keen reader of Tolkien’s academic works, as well as his chronicles of Middle Earth, I was looking forward to some fascinating insights into his philological studies, and his researches into the various tributaries of north Germanic medieval literature. Similarly, I was keen to learn more about C S Lewis, and in particular his medieval researches. After all, his critical analysis, The Allegory of Love, is itself now a classic of the genre.

Sadly, this book fell lamentably short of the detailed analysis promised in the hyperbolic encomia strewn about the cover. The Zaleskis seem to delight in using as many words as possible to say very little, and I found it all very weak and pointless. ( )
  Eyejaybee | Nov 26, 2017 |
Excellent in-depth look at the core members of the Inklings. I was previously only well acquainted with Tolkien and C. S. Lewis, so this was a refreshing broadening glimpse of a group of literary giants I had ojy been aware of in passing. Although fascinating for the most part, one needs to be pretty thoroughly steeped in Western, and especially English, literature and philosophy to get the most from this book. It would also help to have a background in Old and Middle English, as well as Latin. Still, a lot to enjoy if you enjoy the works of these authors, especially Tolkien and Lewis. Some parts stray into fairly esoteric territory, but most of the time the authors stay on common ground. ( )
  bness2 | May 23, 2017 |
Some parts drug, but really enjoyed other parts. Learned a lot about Lewis, and enjoyed especially the parts about writing the Lord of the Rings. Enjoyed the contemporary critical reaction to many of these books. Interesting, but it didn't fly. ( )
  Luke_Brown | Sep 10, 2016 |
The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings by Philip Zaleski and Carol Zaleski is one of my favorite books from 2015. It's also took me the longest to read. When I think of the Inklings, I often have a more romantic view in my head. That is to say, I imagine them sitting around in deep discussions about literature and writing, being totally brilliant, and encouraging each other in their literary careers. This did happen, but not as often as I like to believe it did.And truth be told, while I am familiar with some of the members (formal and informal) of the Inklings, I am mostly familiar with the two most famous (in my opinion) Inklings: J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis.

I first discovered C.S. Lewis while in second grade. I picked up The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe at a book fair, and it wasn't too long after when I began slipping into closets and wardrobes trying to find the entrance to Narnia. I also read The Hobbit in elementary school, but it wasn't until I was in my twenties before I could appreciate it. In 2015 I discovered Owen Barfield and Charles Williams for the first time. The four gentlemen make up the Inklings that Philip and Carol Zaleski discuss in this book.

Philip Zaleski and Carol Zaleski, a husband-and-wife team, have managed to sift through an endless amount of documents to piece together an interesting look into the lives of the one and only Inklings. I wasn't familiar with either author before starting this book, but soon after I began it was clear that I was going to love this book. Philip and Carol have each made their writing career writing books on religion and spirituality. Which is one of the reasons that I think they made the perfect team to write this book, because many of the members of the Inklings had deeply held beliefs and to leave them out or gloss them over would be a disservice to them. And the Zaleskis don't gloss over them, either to leave their beliefs out or to make it seem as if their lives were a fairy tale with no personal struggles in that department.

The Fellowship follows J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, and Charles Williams from childhood to death. Though I believe the authors tended to focus more on Lewis and Tolkien than Williams and Barfield. I enjoyed reading about their lives especially in the early years, but for me, it was the formation of the Inklings and their trials through WWI and WWII that were the most fascinating. As well as their interactions and reactions to each other and each others' writing.

The authors call the four Inklings " . . . the most original, as writers and thinkers, and the most likely to be read and studied by future generations." I think they might be right. I recommend that anyone interested in the Inklings read this book. It was an absolute pleasure reading it.

Read more at http://www.toreadornottoread.net/2016/01/review-fellowship.html#ZJ9ud5qqu2BjVdov... ( )
  mt256 | Mar 31, 2016 |
Really fascinating so far.
  katie.kurdt11 | Jan 16, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374154090, Hardcover)

A stirring group biography of the Inklings, the Oxford writing club featuring J.R.R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis is the twentieth century’s most widely read Christian writer and J.R.R. Tolkien its most beloved mythmaker. For three decades, they and their closest associates formed a literary club known as the Inklings, which met weekly in Lewis’s Oxford rooms and a nearby pub. They read aloud from works in progress, argued about anything that caught their fancy, and gave one another invaluable companionship, inspiration, and criticism.
     In The Fellowship, Philip and Carol Zaleski offer the first complete rendering of the Inklings’ lives and works. Lewis maps the medieval mind, accepts Christ while riding in the sidecar of his brother’s motorcycle, becomes a world-famous evangelist and moral satirist, and creates new forms of religiously attuned fiction while wrestling with personal crises. Tolkien transmutes an invented mythology into a breathtaking story in The Lord of the Rings, while conducting groundbreaking Old English scholarship and elucidating the Catholic teachings at the heart of his vision. This extraordinary group biography also focuses on Charles Williams, strange acolyte of Romantic love, and Owen Barfield, an esoteric philosopher who became, for a time, Saul Bellow’s guru. Romantics who scorned rebellion, fantasists who prized sanity, Christians with cosmic reach, the Inklings sought to revitalize literature and faith in the twentieth century’s darkest years—and did so.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:19 -0400)

"A stirring group biography of the Inklings, the Oxford writing club featuring J.R.R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis"--

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