Will King Arthur ever return to England? He already has. The Inklings and King Arthur is now available on Amazon and will be sold during the release party at TexMoot!
In the midst of war-torn Britain, King Arthur returned in the writings of the Oxford Inklings. Learn how J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Charles Williams, and Owen Barfield brought hope to their times and our own in their Arthurian literature.
Although studies of the “Oxford Inklings” abound, astonishingly enough, none has yet examined their great body of Arthurian work. Yet each of these major writers tackled serious and relevant questions about government, gender, violence, imperialism, secularism, and spirituality through their stories of the Quest for the Holy Grail. This rigorous and sophisticated volume studies does so for the first time.
Four and a half years ago, a previously-unpublished work by J.R.R. Tolkien appeared: The Fall of Arthur, his only explicitly Arthurian writing. The publication of this extraordinary poem revealed subtle connections between “The Matter of Britain” and the rest of Tolkien’s legendarium, and thus invited an examination of the theological, literary, historical, and linguistic implications of the Arthurian writings of all the major Inklings: C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, Charles Williams, and Owen Barfield. It became immediately obvious that a scholarly study of these works was necessary.
I began editing The Inklings and King Arthur, a collection of academic essays that fills the gap. It rigorously and accessibly examines the Arthurian works of Tolkien, Lewis, Williams, Barfield, their predecessors, and their contemporaries. It offers exciting, important analytical perspectives on a wide range of the Inklings’ Arthurian and related works, contributing essential material to the academic field. It brings together established, well-known scholars and emerging voices. It employs many theoretical perspectives and interacts with a wide variety of important conversations.And the Inklings themselves are going to come from the grave to celebrate.
Here are the endorsement blurbs from the back of the book:
Owen A. Barfield: My thanks go out to Sørina Higgins, for her driving force which has pulled together this impressive collection of essays. These shine a light on a fascinating aspect of the Inklings’ work. I’m struck by the appreciation of Britishness that weaves through the selection. The list of contributors reads as a Who’s Who in the field of Inkling Studies. This valuable work would be a fine addition to the shelves of scholars and thinkers everywhere.
Helen Fulton: These richly varied essays are a welcome introduction to the Arthurian writings of the Inklings, the group of Oxford intellectuals who included J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, and Charles Williams. Each essay explores an aspect of the Arthurian legend as it was re-imagined in the first half of the twentieth century, shaped by two world wars and far-reaching social change. Engaging with key themes of Arthurian reception, from medieval origins to mythic geographies, Christian modernism, gender, and imperialism, this vibrant new collection is the first comprehensive overview of Arthur in the world of the Inklings.
Michael Ward: This serious and substantial volume addresses a complex subject that scholars have for too long overlooked. The contributors show how, in the legends of King Arthur, the Inklings found material not only for escape and consolation, but also, and more importantly, for exploring moral and spiritual questions of pressing contemporary concern.
Tom Shippey: During the earlier twentieth century, the period of the two World Wars, “King Arthur” became (once again) a potent symbol of defiance, national sentiment, Christian unity, and secular failure for politicians like Churchill, historians like R.G. Collingwood, and more creative writers than can readily be remembered. Prominent among the latter were “the Inklings,” the group of friends which included Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, and Charles Williams. Sørina Higgins’ compilation of twenty essays provides a survey both of the Inklings’ contributions, which culminated in Tolkien’s The Fall of Arthur (2013), and of their wider context in life and literature; as also a number of closely-focused studies of works both familiar and little-known. Packed with information, and engagingly written, this provides a new view of the Inklings and of their intellectual and cultural world.
Now, the Inklings have come back to life to tweet about King Arthur!
As you may recall, two years ago, @Oddest_Inkling was drunk-texting on Christmas. Last year, C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, Charles Williams, and Owen Barfield went for an #InkWalk in the country together, tweeting as they went. Tomorrow, they are going to have a Twitter party to celebrate the publication of The Inklings and King Arthur!
Please join @OddestInkling, @PilgrimInNarnia, @BarfieldDiction, & @TolkienElfland or use the hashtag #InklingsAndArthur at 8pm Eastern Standard time tomorrow, Monday, January 1st, to follow the fun! They will talk about their Arthurian works, discuss what appealed to them about the Matter of Britain, quote from their own writing and others’, and maybe even answer questions about the book.
Meanwhile, go order a copy! Order one for a friend! Order a dozen for anybody you forgot at Christmas! And we’ll see you at TexMoot, friends.