Many writers who were contemporaries of Tolkien [and Lewis] also
used religious themes in their writing. Some of these were academic,
literary and spiritual friends who became known as The Inklings,
a group that met at the Eagle and Child pub to eat, drink, talk
and read from the compositions and stories they had written. The
first drafts of books such as "Lord of the Rings" were
first presented here. Members included:
| J.R.R. Tolkien
|Tolkien may have been the best known of the group. He was best known
as the creator of Middle Earth the land featured in the "Lord
of the Rings" and other stories. He was a professor of
language at Oxford. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis were friends through
their common love for folklore, but Tolkien thought Lewis'
fantasy land Narnia was poorly constructed. Tolkien also disagreed
with Lewis' marriage. Lewis credits Tolkien as one of the
people who helped him understand and accept Christianity.
Tolkien's son Christopher would also join the Inklings at
| C.S. Lewis
|Lewis is probably best known for his writings on theology and literature,
but he loved the world he created in the "Chronicles
of Narnia." "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe"
was the first book he wrote in the series. Lewis taught literature
at Oxford and at Cambridge. He died Nov. 22, 1963, the same
day as U.S. President John F. Kennedy.
| Warren Lewis
|Warnie, as he was called, was C.S. Lewis' brother, friend and secretary.
For most of his life Warnie was a soldier, reaching the rank
of major. In later life he would write six histories of wars
and wartime figures. He edited the "Letters of C.S. Lewis."
As boys, the two fueled each other's imaginations with their
childhood games and writing, and the brothers were great comforts
to each other at the death of their mother.
| Charles Williams
|Williams started as a proofreader at Oxford University press. He became
an editor, then writer of poetry, novels, drama, theology
and criticism. He was known for keeping the Inklings' meetings
moving, but other Inklings found him and his writings confusing.
| Owen Barfield
|Barfield wrote literary criticism and children's fantasy. He was an
occasional Inkling, known as "the man who disagrees with
you about everything." Barfield, Lewis' lawyer, was one
of Lewis' longtime friends. Some of Lewis' books are dedicated
to Barfield's children. Barfield wrote a book that greatly
influenced Tolkien's attitudes toward language.
By LEILA PITCHFORD-ENGLISH
Thomas Pitchford contributed to this article.
The Inklings, Humphrey Carpenter
shows "Where to go for all things Tolkien" and includes links to information about the Inklings.