The Inklings: C. S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and Friends

The Inklings were a gathering of friends -- all of them British, male, and Christian, most of them teachers at or otherwise affiliated with Oxford University, many of them creative writers and lovers of imaginative literature -- who met usually on Thursday evenings in C.S. Lewis's and J.R.R. Tolkien's college rooms in Oxford during the 1930s and 1940s for readings and criticism of their own work, and for general conversation. "Properly speaking," wrote W.H. Lewis, one of their number, the Inklings "was neither a club nor a literary society, though it partook of the nature of both. There were no rules, officers, agendas, or formal elections." An overlapping group gathered on Tuesday (later Monday) mornings in various Oxford pubs, usually but not always the Eagle and Child, better known as the Bird and Baby, between the 1940s and 1963. Some amazing literature grew out of this remarkable group of writers and we are the fortunate recipients of their imaginations and experiences.
--David Bratman, Mythopoeic Society 2003

The Worm Ouroboros

By E.R. Eddison

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And the Lord Goldry spake: "We, the lords of Demon-land, do utterly scorn thee, Gorice XI., for the greatest of dastards, in that thou basely fleddest and forsookest us, thy sworn confederates, in the sea battle against the Ghouls. Our swords, which in that battle ended so great a curse and peril to all this world, are not bent nor broken. They shall be sheathed in the bowels of thee and thy minions, Corsus to wit, and Corund, and then: sons, and Corinius, and what other evildoers harbour in waterish Witchland, sooner than one little sea-pink growing on the cliffs of Demonland shall do thee obeisance."

"This is the book that shaped the landscape of contemporary science fiction. J. R. R. Tolkien acclaimed its author as "the greatest and most convincing writer of 'invented worlds' that I have read." Written in the best traditions of Homeric epics, Norse sagas, and Arthurian myths, it recounts compelling tales of warriors and witches."

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A Portrait of Jane Austen

By Lord David Cecil

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"Not much about Jane Austen's personality can be gleaned from her works. It is from her letters, from the evidence of the friends and relations, and above all from a knowledge of the kind of life led and ideas held by the society she was born into, that we are to know her."
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A Barfield Sampler: Poetry and Fiction

By Owen Barfield

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"Barfield is known widely for his explorations of human consciousness, the history of language, the origins of poetic effect, and the interactionof the disciplines, especially literature and the hard sciences. This book presents Barfield as a writer of imaginative literature.

"In the stories, one finds both post-war displacement and Bloomsburian ironies. In the two short novels, Barfield gives us two stunning versions of the Apocalypse. In his poetry, he explores the varieties of human experience, often in radical relation to the past...."

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The Canterbury Tales

By Geoffrey Chaucer, translated into modern English by Nevill Coghill

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"A retelling of the medieval poem about a group of travelers on a pilgrimage to Canterbury and the tales they tell each other. With their astonishing diversity of tone and subject matter, The Canterbury Tales have become one of the touchstones of medieval literature. Translated here into modern English, these tales of a motley crowd of pilgrims drawn from all walks of life-from knight to nun, miller to monk-reveal a picture of English life in the fourteenth century that is as robust as it is representative."

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Tales of the Greek Heroes

By Roger Lancelyn Green

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"Some of the oldest and most famous stories in the world--the adventures of Perseus, the labors of Heracles, the voyage of Jason and the Argonauts--are vividly retold in this single, connected narrative of the Heroic Age, from the coming of the Immortals to the first fall of Troy. With fresh dialogue and a brisk pace, the myths of this version are enthrallingly vivid."

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King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table

By Roger Lancelyn Green

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"King Arthur is one of the greatest legends of all time. From the magical moment when Arthur releases the sword in the stone to the quest for the Holy Grail and the final tragedy of the Last Battle, Roger Lancelyn Green brings the enchanting world of King Arthur stunningly to life."

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The Screwtape Letters

By C.S. Lewis

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A "Positively Diabolical" Correspondence

"My dear Wormwood,"
So begins this product of C.S. Lewis's wickedly funny imagination, a correspondence between two devils, Screwtape and his young nephew, Wormwood. As the senior fiend advises his young apprentice in leading humanity astray, Lewis delves into questions about good and evil, temptation, repentance, and grace, offering knowledge and guidance to all who are trying to live good Christian lives.

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The Lord of the Rings

By J.R.R. Tolkien

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In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, The Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell, by chance, into the hands of the hobbit, Bilbo Baggins.

From his fastness in the Dark Tower of Mordor, Sauron's power spread far and wide. He gathered all the Great Rings to him, but ever he searched far and wide for the One Ring that would complete his dominion.

On his eleventy-first birthday Bilbo disappeared, bequeathing to his young cousin Frodo the Ruling Ring and a perilous quest --- to journey across Middle-earth, deep into the shadow of the Dark Lord, and destroy the Ring by casting it into the Cracks of Doom. The Lord of the Rings tells of the great quest undertaken by Frodo and the Fellowship of the Ring: Gandalf the Wizard, Merry, Pippin, and Sam, Gimli the Dwarf, Legolas the Elf, Boromir of Gondor, and a tall, mysterious stranger called Strider.

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The Hobbit, or, There and Back Again

By J.R.R. Tolkien

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Bilbo Baggins, a respectable, well-to-do hobbit, lives comfortably in his hobbit-hole until the day the wandering wizard Gandalf chooses him to take part in an adventure from which he may never return.

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The Great Divorce

By C.S. Lewis

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"C. S. Lewis takes us on a profound journey through both heaven and hell in this engaging allegorical tale. Using his extraordinary descriptive powers, Lewis introduces us to supernatural beings who will change the way we think about good and evil."
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