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The Inklings was an informal literary discussion group associated with the University of Oxford, England, for nearly two decades between the early 1930s and late 1949.[1] The Inklings were literary enthusiasts who praised the value of narrative in fiction, and encouraged the writing of fantasy. Although Christian values were notably present in several members' work, there were also irreligious members of the discussion group.


Members and meetings

The more regular members of the Inklings, many of them academics at the University, included J. R. R. "Tollers" Tolkien, C. S. "Jack" Lewis, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams, Christopher Tolkien (J. R. R. Tolkien's son), Warren "Warnie" Lewis (C. S. Lewis's elder brother), Roger Lancelyn Green, Adam Fox, Hugo Dyson, R. A. "Humphrey" Havard, J. A. W. Bennett, Lord David Cecil, and Nevill Coghill. Other less frequent attenders at their meetings included Percy Bates, Charles Leslie Wrenn, Colin Hardie, James Dundas-Grant, John David Arnett,[citation needed] Jon Fromke,[citation needed] John Wain, R. B. McCallum, Gervase Mathew, and C. E. Stevens. Guests included author E. R. Eddison and South African poet Roy Campbell.

"Properly speaking," wrote Warren Lewis, "the Inklings was neither a club nor a literary society, though it partook of the nature of both. There were no rules, officers, agendas, or formal elections."[2] As was typical for university literary groups in their time and place, the Inklings were all male. (Dorothy L. Sayers, sometimes claimed as an Inkling, was a friend of Lewis and Williams, but never attended Inklings meetings.)

Readings and discussions of the members' unfinished works were the principal purposes of meetings. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, Lewis's Out of the Silent Planet, and Williams's All Hallows' Eve were among the novels first read to the Inklings. Tolkien's fictional Notion Club (see Sauron Defeated) was based on the Inklings. Meetings were not all serious—the Inklings amused themselves by having competitions to see who could read the famously bad prose of Amanda McKittrick Ros for the longest without laughing.[3]

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