Friday, March 9, 2018

New Tolkien Book: The Inklings and King Arthur

It's setting up to be a good year for Tolkien books so far.

The latest one I've discovered came out a couple of months ago:

The Inklings and King Arthur: J. R. R. Tolkien, Charles Williams, C. S. Lewis, and Owen Barfield on the Matter of BritainThe Inklings and King Arthur: J. R. R. Tolkien, Charles Williams, C. S. Lewis, and Owen Barfield on the Matter of Britain
Ed: Sørina Higgins
Apocryphile Press
Copyright Date: December 2017

The product description:
In the midst of war-torn Britain, King Arthur returned in the writings of the Oxford Inklings. Learn how J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Charles Williams, and Owen Barfield brought hope to their times and our own in their Arthurian literature.
Although studies of the “Oxford Inklings” abound, astonishingly enough, none has yet examined their great body of Arthurian work. Yet each of these major writers tackled serious and relevant questions about government, gender, violence, imperialism, secularism, and spirituality through their stories of the Quest for the Holy Grail. This rigorous and sophisticated volume studies does so for the first time.
This serious and substantial volume addresses a complex subject that scholars have for too long overlooked. The contributors show how, in the legends of King Arthur, the Inklings found material not only for escape and consolation, but also, and more importantly, for exploring moral and spiritual questions of pressing contemporary concern. —Michael Ward, Fellow of Blackfriars Hall, University of Oxford, and co-editor of C.S. Lewis at Poets’ Corner
This volume follows Arthurian leylines in geographies of myth, history, gender, and culture, uncovering Inklings lodestones and way markers throughout. A must read for students of the Inklings. —Aren Roukema, Birkbeck, University of London
Definitely a book I'm adding to my "wish-list"!
None of the names are ones I recognize - but I admit that until recently I've focused more on the "big name" Tolkien scholars like Verlyn Flieger and Tom Shippey. At any rate, the Table of Contents I found on the Goodreads page for The Inklings and King Arthur looks intriguing:
Introduction—Present and Past: The Inklings and King Arthur.
—Sørina Higgins

Texts and Intertexts
1. The Matter of Logres: Arthuriana and the Inklings.
—Sørina Higgins
2. Medieval Arthurian Sources for the Inklings: An Overview.
—Holly Ordway
3. Mixed Metaphors and Hyperlinked Worlds:
A Study of Intertextuality in C. S. Lewis’ Ransom Cycle.
—Brenton D. G. Dickieson
4. Houses of Healing: The Idea of Avalon in Inklings Fiction and Poetry.
—Charles A. Huttar
5. Shape and Direction: Human Consciousness in the Inklings’ Mythological Geographies. —Christopher Gaertner

Histories Past
6. From Myth to History and Back Again:
Inklings Arthuriana in Historical Context.
—Yannick Imbert
7. “All Men Live by Tales”: Chesterton’s Arthurian Poems.
—J. Cameron Moore
8. The Elegiac Fantasy of Past Christendom in J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Fall of Arthur.
—Cory Grewell

Histories Present
9. Spiritual Quest in a Scientific Age.
—Jason Jewell and Chris Butynskyi
10. The Stripped Banner:
Reading The Fall of Arthur as a Post-World War I Text.
—Taylor Driggers
11. “Lilacs Out of the Dead Land”:
Narnia, The Waste Land, and the World Wars.
—Jon Hooper
12. “What Does the Line along the Rivers Define?”:
Charles Williams’ Arthuriad and the Rhetoric of Empire.
—Benjamin D. Utter

Geographies of Gender
13. “Fair as Fay-woman and Fell-minded”: Tolkien’s Guinever.
—Alyssa House-Thomas
14. Beatrice and Byzantium: Sex and the City in the Arthurian Works of Charles Williams. —Andrew Rasmussen
15. Those Kings of Lewis’ Logres:
Arthurian Figures as Lewisian Genders in That Hideous Strength.
—Benjamin Shogren

Cartographies of the Spirit
16. “Servant of All”: Arthurian Peregrinations in George MacDonald.
—Kirstin Jeffrey Johnson
17. Camelot Incarnate: Arthurian Vision in the Early Plays of Charles Williams.
—Bradley Wells
18. “Any Chalice of Consecrated Wine”:
The Significance of the Holy Grail in Charles Williams’ War in Heaven.
—Suzanne Bray
19. The Acts of Unity: The Eucharistic Theology of Charles Williams’ Arthurian Poetry.
—Andrew C. Stout
Conclusion—Once and Future:
The Inklings, Arthur, and Prophetic Insight.
—Malcolm Guite
I'll also admit that my reading and book-buying habits have been directed more towards J.R.R. Tolkien and scholarship about his life and works. However, I'm working on expanding from there, and this definitely looks like a book to get. All I know about most of the other Inklings comes from the Humphrey Carpenter book of the same name, although recently I've bought another book or two on the topic.


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