It’s not often that I pick up a non-fiction book and cannot put it down. But that’s exactly what happened when I started reading The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings by Philip Zaleski and Carol Zaleski.
I purchased the book on a whim because I had been wanting to learn more about Charles Williams. But once I opened the pages, I quickly realized I was onto something much greater than biographical profiles of the Inklings. This book explores the events and people and reading that shaped the art of the Inklings, as well as exploring their relationship to one another and their artistic influence on the group.
I could hardly believe how much the Zaleskis are speaking my language. They start off talking about how each Inkling had a Medieval sensibility and was profoundly shaped by fairy stories and mythology. They further make the case—which I have been arguing for years—that the Inklings tried to counter the onslaught of Modernity by appeals to returning to a Medieval understanding of reality.
In short, I was entirely smitten and ready to stay up all night to finish the book in one giant marathon session.
But I was also taking copious notes and thinking about how this new information fit in with my understanding of the Medieval imagination and in particular the Celtic influence. So, I decided to force myself to slow down and contemplate. And I thought that blogging through the book might help me to do just that.
These blog posts won’t be articles as much as contemplations, rabbit trails, and thinking out loud. I hope that something I note about the book encourages you to think through these ideas as well. We owe a profound debt to the work of the Inklings and I’m excited to think through that influence more deeply.
Feel free to comment on the blog posts as we wrestle through these ideas together.