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The Inklings of Oxford: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and their Friends

4.06  ·  Rating Details ·  178 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
Oxford s fabled streets echo with the names of such key figures in English history as Edmund Halley, John Wycliffe, and John and Charles Wesley. Of more recent times are those of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the other members of the renowned literary circle to which they belonged, the Inklings. What would it be like to walk this medieval city s narrow lanes in the ...more
Paperback, 171 pages
Published June 28th 2009 by Zondervan
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The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien by J.R.R. TolkienThe Road to Middle-Earth by Tom ShippeyJ.R.R. Tolkien by Tom ShippeyThe Monsters and the Critics and other essays by J.R.R. TolkienJ.R.R. Tolkien by Humphrey Carpenter
26th out of 62 books — 23 voters
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98th out of 101 books — 3 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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If your fantasies lean in a literary direction—particularly along the lines of mid-twentieth century Christian dons debating in pubs—then I have just the book for you. My sister surprised me with The Inklings of Oxford for my birthday this year. Of course I couldn’t wait to accept the invitation, eager to travel back in time with this most famous literary circle, so dearly beloved by many. The photography is excellent and there are many fine photos throughout. It was fun taking a trip down memor ...more
Kenneth McIntosh
Sep 03, 2014 Kenneth McIntosh rated it really liked it
The text was enjoyable, though nothing that you won't find in other works on these authors: the focus was on the Lewis household and (except for Tolkien) touched only briefly on the other inklings. I could learn as much about Charles Williams from a book jacket, for one example. However the pictures are incredible: artistic and profuse, documenting visually every inch of Oxford where the Inklings walked, lived, ate, drank or worshiped. The text accompanying the pictures is also superb, in fact I ...more
Sep 14, 2009 Pastoralmusings rated it it was amazing
The Inklings of Oxford: C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Their Friends (Paperback)
by Harry Lee Poe
ISBN-10: 0310285038
ISBN-13: 978-0310285038
It has been a while since I have read anything of C.S. Lewis'. I am, however, listening to an audio course that carries one through the life and works of C.S. Lewis. Lewis was a very interesting man, and his writings are the same. One can learn much by reading the writings of Lewis. It is for this reason that I'm g
Rachel Murphy
Apr 08, 2015 Rachel Murphy rated it really liked it
Shelves: mythopoeic, inklings
An absolutely beautifully-photographed book I bought for my mom (you know, one of those gifts that you're actually buying for yourself ;) and it is also a succinct little bio of the Inklings' aasociations with this beautiful city of Oxford ~ truly a city of Dreams for me, which I am dying to visit as soon as humanly possible. This book made the desire even more urgent! And at the end, there are a few Inklings walks mapped out for those who want to see the specific places related to Lewis, ...more
Oct 12, 2011 Karen rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this book once I got into it. The photographs are extraordinary and learning more about the Inklings proved to be insightful. I would recommend this book to anyone who has loved Tolkien and Lewis' writings. Altogether a very enjoyable book.
Garrett Cash
While this isn't the most detailed or informative Inklings book you can buy, it serves its own special purpose exceedingly well. The point of the book is allow readers (aimed at Americans, seems like), who don't know Oxford, England to really see the places associated with the Inklings while also reading a brief overview of their history. If you've never been to Oxford and have read works on the Inklings and wondered what Magdalen College or Merton College or the Kilns or the Eagle and Child ...more
Oct 09, 2016 Kevin rated it really liked it
I loved this book and if you are a fan of Lewis's or Tolkien you'll probably enjoy seeing Oxford too.
Sep 19, 2012 Scott rated it really liked it
This was a fast, fascinating, and fun read. I have never been across the pond, and so I appreciated the many, fine, color photographs throughout. Were I more blessed with discretionary cash, I think that particularly after reading this book I would jump the first plane and positively wallow in Oxford's environs for awhile. I would just have to make Blackwell's bookshop my forwarding address.

I enjoyed the bird's-eye view of the Inklings as given by Poe. It was engrossing to read how time and circ
May 10, 2015 Deborah rated it really liked it
This is not a dust-gathering coffee table book. It is exactly as Harry Lee Poe describes it in the opening lines of chapter one. "This book is not an ordinary book. It is both a picture book and a storybook. It tells all about a place and the friends who lived there."

I bought this book and read it in one sitting. In 171 pages Poe invites you into the intimate friendships between C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and the other Inklings. You meet not the stalwart historical figures but the men who come t
Peter Holford
Jan 03, 2015 Peter Holford rated it really liked it
I'm giving this book four stars because of the beautiful photographs and the walking tours included in the back of the book (which look good, although I haven't tried them yet). The text is ordinary - an unremarkable account which cannot replace the text of the classic title, 'The Inklings' by Humphrey Carpenter, which I have read (although a long time ago). The text was also disadvantaged in my estimation given that I was reading a new biography of Lewis at the same time (which I thought was ...more
J. Aleksandr Wootton
May 07, 2014 J. Aleksandr Wootton rated it it was ok
This is a coffeetable book - half photos of Inklings-related sites in and around Oxford, half biographical, with a few maps in the back of suggested walking tours of Oxford for Inklings enthusiasts.

Not bad, but the photo quality is just okay for a book that was published as recently as 2009, for a photographer as experienced as Veneman. Hardly "lavish" as the description claims.

After the first chapter or so, the text is similarly uninspiring. Its title purports to be about the Inklings, but the
Jun 22, 2009 Andy rated it really liked it
This "coffee table book" is beautiful. Plain and simple. Jim Veneman's photographs of Oxford and its environs are enchanting. The accompanying text by Harry Poe is a concise telling of the Inklings' story, from the group's beginning to its members' deaths. I have not read much about the Inklings, so most of the information was fresh for me. I imagine an Inklings aficionado might not be as impressed with the text, but the point of the book is to look at the photographs. This large-format picture ...more
Dwight Davis
Feb 09, 2011 Dwight Davis rated it it was amazing
I had to read this for Dr. Poe's (the author of the book) class on C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the Inklings. Both the writer and photographer teach at my college and I know (and am close friends with) most of the other photographers as well. Thought I would get my bias out of the way first.

I thought this was a magnificent introduction to the Inklings. Not too scholarly, and perfect if you know nothing about this influential literary club. The photos are beautiful (and didn't help with my ov
Oct 16, 2015 April rated it really liked it
I didn't read this book word-for-word (except for the first couple chapters) but I still really enjoyed looking at all of the pictures, reading the captions ("The great oak tree in the cloister quad of New College where Professor Moody turned Dracy Malfoy into a ferret"), and skimming the story of the Inklings. The book is part tour guide, part Inkling Biography, part beautiful-pictures-of-Oxford.

This is a book I would be happy to buy for myself and revisit. A must read for any Lewis/Tolkien lo
Apr 25, 2013 Kate rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tolkien, kindle-books
This is essentially a travelog book, a sort-of pictorial history of the lives of Lewis and Tolkien (and friends) while at Oxford. The photographs are lovely, though the kindle version often separated the caption from the photo in odd ways. It might well be valuable to have while touring Oxford, but the biographical material does not seem to me to be 100% accurate (and I am only an amateur when it comes to Inkling biography). But it would make an interesting pictorial companion to any other ...more
Karen Foster
Not quite what I was expecting, but a quick read. I am kind of a little obsessed with Oxford.. as a gorgeous city to visit, as a college I wished I'd attended, and as the setting for films, tv shows and of course books that I love.... and this definitely gave me my fix pictorially. But the text was a little lack luster for me. Lots of info, but no flair. Great as a travelogue, and possible a walking tour guide, but I was hoping for a little more magic in the text, to mirror the authors it ...more
Melissa Moore
Jan 15, 2013 Melissa Moore rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Great book! I loved the pictures, as many have commented -- it really helps to "see" what Oxford is like, for someone like me who has never been. But I also loved the text -- getting a sense of the fluidity of the group which called themselves the Inklings, what they accomplished, where they ate, and how they edified one another. Makes me wish terribly for a like-minded group here in 21st century Jackson, TN.
Oct 24, 2014 Kathy rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
This is a beautiful book, the photos are wonderful.
The second paragraph of the introduction gives a look into the book.
"Everyone needs a special place all their own, even if they do not own it. Everyone needs friends who are always there, even if they are not there with us. What makes a place special for a person does not depend upon the place, but upon the person. What makes a person special is not so much the person, but the people who think they are special: their friends."

Slboland Boland
Mar 21, 2012 Slboland Boland rated it really liked it
Just started this book. I really enjoyed the movie 'Shadowlands' about C.s. Lewis and his relationship with Joy (in this case, the american woman he came to love, not the feeling he often experienced). I am enjoying reading this book to get some background insight to his life and inspirations as well as the Inklings group. Fascinating.
Dec 16, 2010 Derrick rated it really liked it
Full of interesting tidbits, fascinating facts (that I did not know) and several maps for Oxford walking tours, this book allows one to feel a little closer to the writers (namely C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien) who inspired them. I should also mention that if you like the writing you will love the photographs.
May 22, 2014 Danielle rated it it was amazing
Beautiful photos that were so visually appealing. It made me feel like I was there in England!! I learned a lot about C.S. Lewis and Oxford that I did not know before either. Very readable and fast read.
Anne Gazzolo
Apr 19, 2016 Anne Gazzolo rated it liked it
Especially good if you are an admirer of C.S. Lewis, the main focus of the book. Loved the bonus at the end which gives you specific directions for a walking tour of Oxford and surrounds to see all the places associated with the Inklings.
Anthony  Spallone
Aug 20, 2016 Anthony Spallone rated it really liked it
Read this if you live in Oxford!!!!!!!!!! Great book about a beautiful group of friends who were unbelievably talented and gifted.
Aug 11, 2011 Bev rated it liked it
A delightful book full of pictures and information about the Oxford circle that included C S Lewis and J R R Tolkien. Very interesting! Three and a half stars.
Michelle Datiles
May 19, 2011 Michelle Datiles rated it it was amazing
The most gorgeous coffee-table book...that's actually picked up & read. Oxford will always be a place of surprising glory.
Daphne Simpkins
Aug 05, 2016 Daphne Simpkins rated it it was amazing
I love reading about friends who encourage one another, and this book does exactly that--plus pictures! Tolkien and Lewis revisited!
Oct 07, 2010 Kelli rated it really liked it
I love Lewis and Tolkien and England and books. A really awesome coffee table book to have. Informative with interesting pictures to accompany it.
Jun 23, 2013 Micah rated it it was amazing
On the day I visited Oxford I managed to miss all the Inkling related tours. This book was a great alternative.
Lou rated it liked it
Jan 06, 2016
Kyler Schubkegel
Kyler Schubkegel rated it it was amazing
Feb 22, 2015
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“Storytelling explores the problem with people. Stories without conflict are bad stories that no one repeats. Conflict describes the reality of human life and interaction with others. The resolution of the conflict in which everyone lives happily ever after reflects the human yearning for hope.” 0 likes
“be the most special place because of the friends who made that place special. At an important time in life when people were changing from children into grownups, a few people shared in the amazing transformation. While the places where we live and work do not define us or determine who and what we will become, they do form the context in which we flourish, wither, or merely subsist. The places of our lives either nourish us or drain us. Places do not make us, but they provide the physical space in which we relate to the people who play such an important role, for good or ill, in shaping who we become. The special place of this book is the university and city of Oxford. The special people are a group of friends who lived there and called themselves the Inklings.” 0 likes
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