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ENAM 0980 The Inklings - only offered Autumn 2017

[Please note: This seminar is offered for the Autumn 2017 semester. It is not offered in Spring 2018. Each seminar runs only if there is sufficient student demand.] The constellation of talents known collectively as the ‘Inklings’ met regularly in Oxford between the 1920s and 1950s.  Comprising scholars, poets, novelists and visionaries of varying hues, they gathered for weekly meetings in each other’s homes, college rooms, and pubs to discuss the books they were writing, and the ideas about which they were so passionate.  C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and Charles Williams were at the heart of the group, and around them formed a coterie of thinkers whose ideas about the role of mankind in a modernizing world, and the places occupied by literature, tradition and faith in that world, constituted a landmark in western culture. Although fittingly based in Oxford, their works have achieved worldwide renown, and their influence continues to grow with each new generation of readers. This seminar explores these works in the city which inspired and nurtured them.

  1. Other worlds, new worlds: C.S. Lewis as Christian apologist & novelist
  2. Mythopoeia: Lewis, Tolkien, and myth-making in the modern world
  3. Spiritual thrillers: Charles Williams as novelist
  4. Inside language: structure and pattern in The Lord of the Rings
  5. ‘The road runs ever on’: meanings and interpretations of The Lord of the Rings
  6. King Arthur and Britain: Charles Williams as poet
  7. ‘Planet Narnia’
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien and the medieval world
  9. C.S. Lewis and Renaissance literature
  10. ‘Beer and Beowulf’: the legacies of the Inklings


Sample Readings:

  • Humphrey Carpenter, The Inklings: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Charles Williams and their Friends. London: Harper Collins, 2006
  • Humphrey Carpenter, J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography. London: Harper Collins, 2006
  • Glen Cavaliero, Charles Williams, Poet of Theology. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1983
  • Colin Duriez and David Porter, The Inklings Handbook. St Louis, MO: Chalice, 2001
  • Diana P. Glyer, The Company They Keep: C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien as Writers in the Community. Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 2007
  • Alice Mary Hadfield, Charles Williams: An Exploration of his Life and Works. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983
  • Gareth Knight,The Magical World of the Inklings. Cheltenham: Skylight Press, 2010
  • George Sayer, Jack: C.S. Lewis and his Times. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2005
A life-changing experience
My semester at CMRS was a life-changing experience. With the backdrop of the beautiful and historically-relevant Oxford, I read, wrote, and learned mo...
Jason Martin, Spring Semester 2011, Albion College