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The Inklings

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 times.
 
 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
[email protected]
Thomas Pitchford contributed to this article.

SOURCES: http://www.christianitytoday.com/
http://www.freep.com/features/books/rbios14_%0720010514.htm
The Inklings, Humphrey Carpenter
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2003/150/33.0.html shows "Where to go for all things Tolkien" and includes links to information about the Inklings.

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