The Influence and Limits of the Inklings

Authored by: Trevor Hart

The Routledge Companion to Literature and Religion

Print publication date:  May  2016
Online publication date:  April  2016

Print ISBN: 9780415834056
eBook ISBN: 9780203498910
Adobe ISBN: 9781135051105

10.4324/9780203498910.ch4

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Abstract

It is just possible, I suppose, that some readers, even of a volume on literature and religion, have not heard of the Inklings. Others may have heard the name, and have a vaguely formed impression of dreaming spires, tobacco smoke, and men in tweed, topped off with a liberal dose of muscular Christianity and elves. Like most caricatures, this one contains more than a grain of truth but dissolves upon closer inspection to reveal a much more complicated and interesting version of things. In fact, insofar as reference to the Inklings suggests either a tightly bounded set or a consistent school of thought on matters literary or otherwise, it is somewhat misleading. Some form of family resemblance rather than essentialism is the order of the day, and the list of those who might reasonably be counted as an Inkling is a contested one.

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