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Starting in the early 1930s, a small group of academics and writers met weekly in a pub in Oxford, England to discuss literature, religion, and ideas. Known as the Inklings, it was in part from their companionship that some of the greatest works of twentieth-century literature were produced. In their book The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings: J.R.R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2016), Philip Zaleski and Carol Zaleski focus on four key members of the group to show how their interactions shaped the development of their thinking and of the writings they produced.

As Carol Zaleski explains, the four men came to Oxford from different backgrounds and professing different ideas, all of which were at play in their wide-ranging conversations. In gatherings in Lewis’s rooms at Magdalen College they read aloud drafts of their works, with their subsequent suggestions helping such works as Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings and Lewis’s Out of the Silent Planet taking the forms by which readers know them today. Through their writings and their growing public celebrity, Zaleski demonstrates, their relationships helped to transform Christian faith and Western culture in ways still being felt today.

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