Have an Inkling: Tolkien, Lewis, and Their Oxford Colleagues

This is a 9-week seminar, starting on September 26th, 2017. No class October 9th, 2017.

Moderator:                 Pam Daniels
Day and Time:          Tuesday, 9:30-11:30 AM
Location:                    Lathrop Meeting Room, Northampton
                                         (free parking on site)


To consider the lives and works of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis and their colleagues meeting weekly as the “Inklings,” and their focus on the realm of fantasy in light of the political, socioeconomic and academic influences of the time.

The Inklings, an informal discussion group associated with the University of Oxford, England, between the early 1930s and late 1949, were literary enthusiasts who focused on and encouraged the writing of fantasy. Readings and discussions of the members’ finished works were the principal purposes of meetings (i.e., presenting just the inkling as a harbinger of masterworks to come). Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and Lewis’s Out of the Silent Planet were among the novels first read to and commented upon by fellow Inklings.

The seminar will focus on the works of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien but will entertain discussion of any of the regular Inkling members such as Owen Barfield, J. A. W. Bennett, Robert Havard and Charles Williams. We will discuss the works and the authors, the influence of the members of the Inklings, and why they embraced the realm of fantasy so vigorously. Guest members of the Inklings may also be reported upon and these include Colin Hardie, Gervase Mathew, R. B. McCallum, Charles Leslie Wrenn, Roy Campbell and G.K. Chesterton.

Role of participants:
Each participant will select one work, encompassing the format of one book, a trilogy or book series, to discuss in light of the political, socioeconomic and academic influences of the time. A brief biography of the chosen Inkling, as well as an overview of the work, is presumed to be an integral part of the presentation.

It is highly recommended that participants read the principle source publication, available from local and on-line booksellers and the local library system: Zaleski, Philip and Carol, The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings: J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams. Farrar, Straus and Giroux; reprint edition (paperback), 2016. In addition, participants will research, select and read (or re-read) the work(s) produced by their chosen author.

About the Moderators:
Pam Daniels is an unabashed reader of fantasy as a gateway to the realm of possibilities in real life. She has moderated one other seminar.

Maximum number of participants: 14

Emeritus/a accepted: yes, up to 2. Auditors will read the recommended source book and participate fully in discussions.