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The Inklings: C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, Charles Williams, and Their Friends MP3 CD – Audiobook, 20 Jul 2012


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Product details

  • MP3 CD
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks; MP3 Una edition (20 July 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1455158194
  • ISBN-13: 978-1455158195
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 13.5 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,402,724 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By T. Hooker on 17 Jun 2010
Format: Paperback
Through the years, I've had numerous friends who've been fascinated/inspired by the life and works of C.S. Lewis. Due to that, I read both Screwtape Letters and Mere Christianity while in college, though I didn't really enjoy them until I reread these works in 2009. I also enjoyed the 1993 film Shadowlands, but didn't have a great interest into learning about Lewis' life until more recently. Two issues of Christian History whet my appetite, and I eventually read The Narnian earlier this year. C.S. Lewis not only had a voluminous literary output, but his life itself proved a strong example of Christian faith in action. Yet, how did his books come together?

The Inklings, Humphrey Carpenter's engaging work from 1978, sets out to answer that question. It shows how Lewis benefited greatly from the feedback of others, and how the creator of Narnia conversely aided fellow authors with their respective works. This text also gives the reader helpful insight into how Lewis and Tolkien's philosophical and theological differences led to their regrettable estrangement. It further demonstrates how lesser-known characters, such as Charles Williams, played a role in Lewis' intellectual journey and social life.

If one is looking for an extensive biography on Tolkien, this is probably not the best place to go. Humphrey Carpenter wrote a much-praised volume about him one year before The Inklings, so Tolkien's interactions with fellow Inklings are a primary focus here. As part of that, the reader does get the feeling that C.S. Lewis helped to make the Lord of the Rings a reality through his constant encouragement. At the end of The Inklings, it's obvious that Tolkien never forgot Lewis' personal and professional contributions to his own life story.

This work is full of other "nuggets" as well, including one chapter devoted to creating a hypothetical Inklings meeting. If you're in the market for a Lewis-related biography, you won't go wrong here.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By David Agnew's windowcleaner on 9 Nov 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Humphrey Carpenter's "The Inklings" charts the lives of the Inklings, and the lifetime of the group itself.

It begins with potted biographies of CS Lewis, and Charles Williams. Tolkien's life is alluded to throughout the book, but he doesn't get this level of attention, apparently because Carpenter wrote a more detailed biography of him. This is the one disappointment of the book.

We get to see Lewis in a different light. Less the dusty academic and more doing jobs around the house for the older woman he had a complex relationship with. We don't usually associate him with DIY.

For me, the potted biography of Williams was really informative. This Inkling is someone we all tend to know much less about. I am reading some of his "supernatural thrillers" and can't help feeling he's been unfairly forgotten.

The book then goes on to explain the Inkling meetings at the zenith of their activity, in Oxford in the 1940s. It even goes as far as to "reconstruct" a typical Inklings meeting - featuring reported conversations but fictionalised. This is very illuminating. This is how "Lord of the Rings", "All Hallow's Eve" and much of Lewis's output got developed.

Just one word of warning about the book itself - the print is very small and difficult on the eyes. Admittedly I read this book a little too late at night, but the print is still too small for very intense reading.

But on the whole, this is a fascinating read.
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36 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Colin Harper on 21 Jan 2001
Format: Paperback
Having read this book just prior to working on my own commission - a biography of folk singer Bert Jansch within the context of the British folk and blues scenes of the early 60s (published as 'Dazzling stranger: Bert Jansch and the British folk and blues revival', bloomsbury 2000) - I found it immensely inspirational. The content, of course, had no bearing on my own work but Carpenter's book gave me confidence that complex interweaving of what are effectively multiple biographies within one book and within a single, binding and (most importantly) eminently readable narrative thrust COULD be done. Further, Carpenter's lean and accessible writing style belies the comprehensiveness of his research. True, one can find more detailed biography on Tolkien and Lewis as individuals elsewhere but Carpenter paints a particularly intriguing portrait of the relatively obscure Charles Williams and builds up a compelling portrait of these writers' interactions from minimal documentary sources but filling the gaps of formal knowledge with great insight and convincing conjecture. His recreation in one chapter, for example, of a typical Inklings meeting in Lewis' rooms is brilliantly done through recreating as conversation views known to have been held by all the participants and, as far as possible, by importing actual sentences and arguments from the various letters and writings of each one. This kind of work is rarely successful in my judgement, but Carpenter pulls it off wonderfully. This book is both a good read for those casually interested in the main protagonists, and - in my view - an inspirational work of research and realisation for other biographical writers. Brilliant!
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By cname on 10 April 2006
Format: Paperback
I'm currently doing a research paper on the Inklings and I found Carpenter's biography extremely useful, easy to read, and exciting. He has an incredible way of taking you back to the past and making it come alive.
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