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19078Re: The Company They Keep-review

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  • Lynn Maudlin
    Nov 3, 2007
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      My goodness! I'm glad to see the book reviewed but this is the
      weirdest review I've seen yet-- I wonder if the writer actually read
      the book? I guess I don't know much about the Midwest Book Review and
      its purpose, etc., but this feels a bit like damning with faint praise
      to me - except it's not praise, it's more a tiny sample, a
      hodge-podge. It smells like "Henry" skimmed the book, pulled a few
      quotes, and considered that a review. :(

      -- Lynn --

      --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, Joan.Marie.Verba@... wrote:
      >
      > From the November 2007 Midwest Book Review (reprinted by permission):
      >
      > The Company They Keep - C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien as
      > Writers in a Community
      > Diana Pavlac Glyer
      > Kent State U. Press
      > Kent, OH
      > 9780873388900 $45.00 www.kentstateuniveritypress.com
      >
      > The fantasy literature of C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien is so
      > imaginative and idiosyncratic that one accepts that they wrote such
      > lasting works somewhat obstinately and mainly privately almost as
      > a hobby with little hope they would ever be published, much less
      > popular. The picture of J. R. Rowling writing the beginnings of the
      > first Harry Potter book sitting along at a table in an English shop
      > comes to mind with this image of the earlier authors. Lewis and
      > Tolkien are known to be good friends as well as professional
      > colleagues at Oxford University. But as professor of English at
      > Azusa Pacific U. in California Glyer puts forward, Lewis and
      > Tolkien were part of a circle of academics and writers who had a
      > large, discernible, and often documented influence on their works.
      >
      > From diaries, memoirs, letters, and other sources, Glyer finds that
      > this influence is most evident with Tolkien. This circle which
      > acquired the name "The Inklings," "modeled the behavior of poets
      > and storytellers, provided feedback on his drafts, helped him
      > develop his own critical faculties, recommended reading material
      > that supported and shaped his imagination, and suggested that
      > certain pieces be started, reworked, completed, or submitted for
      > publication." Glyer continues, "It is no small matter that all of this
      > early influence took place within a highly interactive group
      > setting." What the author says with respect to Tolkien applies as
      > well to Lewis, though not quite so overtly recognizably. In their
      > turn, Tolkien and Lewis were active participants in the group
      > offering the same support and suggestions to its other members.
      > Shortly after arriving at Oxford as a student, Tolkien founded the
      > literary society named the "Apolausticks."
      >
      > In an appendix by a David Bratman, relevant background on 17
      > members of the Inklings besides Tolkien and Lewis is given. Most
      > became university professors of English or medieval literature or of
      > language studies, with most doing scholarly writings on literary
      > criticism. This work of literary criticism and author biography is
      > obviously timely given the current interest in these authors as
      > evidenced by widely-popular movies made from books of theirs.
      >
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