One of the members said their group name described “people with vague or half-formed intimations and ideas.” And he said it was for “those who dabble in ink” as they talk about their works in progress.
Members to this dynamic group included Warnie Lewis, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams, Colin Hardie, Adam Fox, Hugo Dyson, Lord David Cecil, and Nevill Coghill. Those names might not ring a bell for you. But there were two other members you might recognize. C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien.
Wow! Talk about some guys who could really dabble in ink.
Imagine the conversations there might have been when C.S. Lewis introduced his “Chronicles of Narnia” to the group. Or when J.R.R. Tolkien introduced “Lord of the Rings.” Of course we think of them now as blockbuster movies. Larger than life. But back then, those writers just thought of them as ideas and manuscripts.
Those guys formed an informal group they called “The Inklings.” And they met in Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, in the 1930s and ’40s.
Warnie Lewis, who was Lewis’s brother Warren, said, “There were no rules, officers, agendas, or formal elections.” Evidently C.S. was the main member, and others in it were mostly his “friends and university colleagues.” And, according to an article I read, “pre-Inkling meetings of Lewis with Barfield and Tolkien had started in the late 1920s, before the group adopted the name.”
The article also said:
“When the group was most active, the Inklings held meetings twice a week, with six to eight members typically attending. On Tuesday mornings they convened at the Eagle and Child pub (commonly known as the ‘Bird and Baby’) in Oxford for beer and wide-ranging conversation. But their most important meetings were Thursday evenings in Lewis’s rooms at Magdalen College.”
I think it would have been fun to listen in on those meetings. Because that’s when “various members read aloud from books or poems they were writing. And other members responded with vigorous critiques and suggestions.” I would have had a blast tearing apart their feeble attempts at “literature.” (cue the facetious instrumental music)
Just imagine being one of the first to hear these works in progress:
The Problem of Pain, The Screwtape Letters, Out of the Silent Planet, The Great Divorce, and Miracles. Those are just a few of C.S. Lewis’ now famous works.
In addition to Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien (or his son Christopher) read chapters from The Lord of the Rings. So little Frodo and Ben were first introduced to other writers in a pub. Wow.
Warren Lewis was quoted saying, “We were no mutual admiration society: praise for good work was unstinted, but censure for bad work, or even not-so-good work, was often brutally frank.”
Of course, these days, with ubiquitous free social media profiles, everybody’s a critic. And that includes everybody who wouldn’t know a coma from an Oxford comma.
But I’m not here to judge.
What am I saying?! Of course, I’m here to judge. But I have other things on my mind, too. Like telling you about an upcoming offer I’m gonna, well, offer. It’s not ready yet. But, this being the so-called “season of giving,” it’s only fair I give you the opportunity to be one of the first to hear about it. Right?
I’m gonna offer a bundle of books for kids at an amazingly low price. For a short time. Just long enough to get them in time for Christmas. You’ll see a bunch of the ways I’ve dabbled in ink, so to speak. And whether you have kids, you ARE a kid, or you know someone with kids, this is an offer you can’t refuse. So, head for the kitchen and keep your eyes peeled. Updates will be forth(and fifth)coming.
Until then, use this link to get my books on Amazon: