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Re: [mythsoc] Rowling - an Inkling??

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  • David S. Bratman
    Of course Rowling isn t an Inkling, because the definition of an Inkling is a person who was an attendee of the (usually) Thursday night reading sessions in
    Message 1 of 31 , Feb 28, 2003
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      Of course Rowling isn't an Inkling, because the definition of an Inkling is
      "a person who was an attendee of the (usually) Thursday night reading
      sessions in (usually) C.S. Lewis's rooms at Oxford in the 1930s and 40s,"
      and as Rowling was about minus 17 when they ceased, it is unlikely that she
      was there.

      What the article means, of course, is whether Rowling's work is _like_ the
      Inklings', to which I'd say "of course not," but if we rephrase the
      question and ask if it's in the _spirit_ of the Inklings, I'd say "maybe
      so: it's worth discussing," and to the related question, "Would the
      Inklings have liked and appreciated it?" my guess is "Lewis might very well
      have; Tolkien would probably be revolted."

      Ernest writes,

      >As I see it, the distinguishing characteristics of the
      >Inklings weren't so much that they were Christians writing Christian
      >books--not all of the Inklings' books were Christian, except if you stretch
      >the application of the adjective "Christian" almost to meaninglessness--but
      >that they were by and large academic men, well-read to a degree that we
      >products of American public schools can only dream about, and possessed a
      >profound knowledge and appreciation for the literature and myths of the
      >past, especially Northern European mythology.

      This seems to me to identify three characteristics of the Inklings: their
      Christianity (both in life and work), their academic approach, and their
      love for mythology, dismissing the first as relatively inconsequential.
      Not in context it isn't. The Inklings were part of Oxford University,
      where being academically learned did not stand out. What stood out was
      their love for mythology (and fantasy -- don't forget fantasy -- these are,
      after all, the guys who invited Charles Williams and E.R. Eddison to visit,
      even before Williams moved to Oxford), and even more, their Christianity.
      They lived in an environment which scoffed at both. The apparent
      irrelevance of some Inklings novels to Christianity disappears, and the
      religious relevance becomes sharp, when you compare their work to the
      thoroughly amoral and pagan literature which was considered the high
      literary achievement of the time: D.H. Lawrence, say. Or consider their
      fondness for plain storytelling, and then compare that with James Joyce.
      Even Williams looks transparent next to him.

      - David Bratman
    • Paul F. Labaki
      Thank you, David, for putting this so aptly. Peace, Paul Labaki From: David S Bratman Reply-To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com Date: Sat, 01
      Message 31 of 31 , Mar 10, 2003
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        Thank you, David, for putting this so aptly.

        Paul Labaki

        From: David S Bratman <dbratman@...>
        Reply-To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
        Date: Sat, 01 Mar 2003 09:33:14 -0800
        To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Rowling - an Inkling??

        Lizzie, what do you mean? That writing in the spirit of the Inklings
        should be currently pertinent? Lewis wouldn't think so. He says somewhere
        that nothing goes out of date faster than that which tries hardest to stay
        up to date. (My own phrasing of this, conceived independently, is "Those
        who live by the cutting edge die by the cutting edge.") The Inklings were
        in search of what was eternally up to date, and that is why their 40 to 70
        year old novels are still meaningful and read today. LOTR in particular
        was considered by many to be ludicrously out of step with the current
        concerns of the 1950s, but the Inklings suspected it would wear better than
        many of the more typical cultural artifacts of the era, and they were
        right. Those who admired it when it was new thought it would be a
        masterpiece at any date.

        That spirit is part of what I'm looking for when I'm searching for new
        books in the spirit of the Inklings. I want books that would have been
        just as good if they were published 50 years ago as they are now, because
        those are the ones that will be just as good 50 years from now.

        - David Bratman

        At 07:23 AM 3/1/2003 -0500, Lizzie Triano wrote:

        >I think it is worth discussing. I don't know what my opinion is on the
        >specific Rowling question, but I have long been developing the opinion that
        >the Inkling Spirit today would be perhaps unrecognizable to the Inklings
        >Then. After all, the churches probably are, post-Vatican-II and ordaining
        >women priests, arguing the various sex and social justice issues, and all
        >sorts of such things. There is surrealism and spirituality in the
        >non-churched (which was of course true in the Victorian era), and there
        >needs must be practicality and stuff in the church (which I would imagine
        >there was among veteran Christians such as Tolkien, more than among today's
        >peace-raised peoples). We are not hungry enough, we are too content. What
        >would the Spirit tell stories about today?

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