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Tolkien and C. S. Lewis: The Gift of a Friendship

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  789 ratings  ·  43 reviews
Both Tolkien and C.S. Lewis are literary superstars, known around the world as the creators of Middle-earth and Narnia. But few of their readers and fans know about the important and complex friendship between Tolkien and his fellow Oxford academic C.S. Lewis. Without the persistent encouragement of his friend, Tolkien would never have completed The Lord of the Rings. This ...more
Paperback, 244 pages
Published October 8th 2003 by Paulist Press (first published 2003)
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Jen4short
I must say this has been one of my favorite recent reads. And I picked it up for a dollar in the book sale room of my local library! Other reviewers can cite the organizational concept of the book. I'm just going to tell you what I loved about it.

I loved that it gave me a living, breathing view into the relationship that existed between these two literary giants.

I loved that it didn't sugarcoat either their personalities or their stories.

I loved that it explained to me in a way I could understa
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Lisa
Without Tolkien, Lewis may not have become a Christian. Without Lewis's encouragement, Tolkien may not have finished and published The Lord of the Rings. This highly readable and insightful "biography" of their friendship will be of interest to fans of Tolkien's and Lewis's work, presenting the synergy that their relationship created in a synergistic manner of its own. The information about World War I, medieval literature, literary criticism as approached at Oxford and Cambridge, and the person ...more
Robin Tell-Drake
A wonderful biography for readers interested in these two authors' lives and thoughts as well as their works. Lewis and Tolkien were sufficiently entangled with one another's lives that it is difficult to tell the story of only one of them. And anyway the whole is more interesting than its halves taken separately. As with Shelley and Byron, or Wordsworth and Coleridge, the interplay between them is highly revealing of their natures.

Duriez makes his own voice pretty evident, for better or for wor
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Desclian
Alas, all books about amazing people are not amazing themselves. This book read as a biography of both Tolkien and Lewis, though set side by side chronologically. I learned a few new things about Tolkien, and a bit about Lewis, though all of which I would rather read in a full biography, not one on the two men's friendship with one another. Lost in the book was any sense of them being friends, due to the sparsity of quotes from one about the other and also simply the patch-workness of the whole ...more
Andrew
A good biography of the two greatest Christian Fiction writers of the 20th Century - C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien and their friendship together. I didn't find the book too incredibly interesting because I knew a lot about their friendship before, but if you don't I highly recommend it.
Jerome
A well-written history of Tolkien’s and Lewis’ lasting and interesting friendship. Duriez provides great coverage of such topics as their wartime service, their religious and disagreements, their influence on each others’ works, and Tolkien’s role in converting Lewis from atheism to Christianity. We see how CS Lewis came to love Tolkien’s works, while Tolkien’s opinion of Lewis’s work was decidedly mixed. We see how Tolkien was largely responsible for Lewis’s securing of a position at Cambridge ...more
Jamie
(The Inklings Series is a monthly series featuring the works of my two favorites, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, or books about them. But I don’t want it to be just me chatting about these books, so that’s where y’all come in! I’ll announce the book at least four weeks in advance of when the discussion post will go live, so you have plenty of time to get the book and read it. Then, the following month, I’ll post a discussion post and let the fun begin!!)

I wasn’t sure how reading a book not writt
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Miss Clark
Tolkien's diary: "Friendship with Lewis compensates for much, and besides giving constant pleasure and comfort has done me much good from the contact with a man at once honest, brave, intellectual - a scholar, a poet, and a philosopher - and a lover, at last after a long pilgrimage, of Our Lord."

"But as the group (Inklings) expanded, partially by embracing Charles Williams, he began to feel somewhat left out from Lewis's attention. The dynamics of the larger group worked for Lewis, but did not s
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Bianca
Tolkien and Lewis were two very different men. The differences can probably be observed in their most popular works, The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Chronicles of Narnia, respectively. Tolkien's work took his entire life to write it, and is definitely a labour of love. He also criticised Lewis' Narnia - deriding it because it was a fairy tale for children - Tolkien firmly believed magical worlds should be created for adults, not only children. Tolkien also disagreed with the speed in which ...more
John
An enjoyable review of the parallels and intersections of two of the great Oxford scholars of the 20th century. We tend to know more about Lewis, for better or worse, from his many popular theological writings. But Tolkien truly shines in this book as a scholar and creative genius. Some of the techniques the author uses can be distracting (using the present tense to have the reader imagine a particular episode), but overall he helps the reader get to know the two main characters and well as othe ...more
Jim
This chronicles the on again/off again relationship between these two members of the "Inklings", an elite group that met to enjoy each other's erudite company. I believe G. K. Chesterton was also among them, as well as some lesser lights. It also describes Lewis' conversion experience. He and Tolkien had very different ideas on the extent to which the laity ought to publicly speak about the faith. If you're a fan of MiddleEarth and Aslan, you'll probably enjoy this book.
Lauren
As a lover of both Tolkein's Lord of the Rings books,and Lewis' Narnia series (as well as his Chrisitan writings)I was interested in their relationship. I knew a little of Tolkein's influence on Lewis' return to Christianity, so this book was really interesting.
Ms.Wietecha
I like both of these authors so it was really cool to see how their lives have been connected. As Christians and fantasy writers, they had an incredible impact on each other.
Allison
This work compares and contrasts the lives of these two authors and illuminates the influence they had on each other, specifically Tolkien's influence on Lewis regarding Christianity and Lewis's influence on Tolkien regarding fantasy. The frame of this biographical work is set up so that each chapter covers the same period in both writer's lives; the reader is able to "observe" how their lives begin separately in Ireland and England; converge in the academic world at Oxford; and separate gradual ...more
Lisa Mcbroom
Not as much a book on their friendship but how they inspired each other in writing. Still an interesting read!
Joy Verboncouer
Loved reading about the lives and friendship of two ofor my favorite authors.
Diane Heath
This was an interesting look at the friendship of JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis. I did skim sections regarding other members of the Inkilings and such groups that Tolkien and Lewis joined.
Janelle
Jan 11, 2008 Janelle is currently reading it
I am loving this book, though it is definitely not a quick read! I find that this is more of a Sunday-afternoon type book since I don't like reading it at bedtime.

The histories of these two remarkable authors are woven together beautifully from childhood. I love to see not only the parallels between these men, but also the influences that are apparent in their writings, particularly those of the fantasy genre. I am only now reading about their early friendship at Oxford and I look forward to del
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Emily
Interesting subject, but somewhat dryly presented.
Kerri
This not a good book. It bounces around and adds information about other people that I don't care to know. I will say the book identified that I wanted to know more about L&T and read more if their respective works, just not by this writer.
Mic
So I'm sort of a Tolkien/Lewis geek. I read all of their books in high school and fell in love with their writing style and content. This book is sort of a look into their friendship. It is extremely interesting and very easy to read. To hear about their relationship and how they challenged each other. You also get a glimpse of Tolkien's wit and Lewis' wisdom. Check it out.
Cliff
Good biography of Lewis and Tolkien. I especially like the way it weaves together their lives and gives some good coverage to many of the milestones. One drawback is that the narrative switches back and forth from Tolkien to Lewis, which takes some getting used to in the early chapters. Overall, a good text for the classroom or the personal library.
Paul Wright
An excellent account of the friendship between C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien and how these two master storytellers inspired and challenged each other to grow in their writings, literary teaching work, Christian faith, critical thinking, and the quest for an understanding of how God writes an epic, classic story in the lives and hearts of men.
Gay
I am not a great fan of biography but am fooled once in a while and actually enjoy the read. And I enjoyed this book. Partly I suppose because I am a fan of both authors, partly because I am a fan of their intellects. And partly because Duriez weaves the friendship into a tale and I feel I got to know these two towering figures better.
Jamie
Enjoyed reading about the friendship of these two writers - how their lives intertwined and how they encouraged one another.

"Friendship, like the fantasy tale, gave a person a vantage point to see the world in a fresh way. Friendship with Tolkien, he [Lewis] found, shook him fully awake, out of the cold dream of materialism."
Mary-Kate Spearman
I began this book with little knowledge of the lives of either of these 2 great men. But I like to think that I know and understand them a great deal better after reading this. I enjoyed getting a feel for how Lewis and Tolkien influenced each other.
Diane
This was was good but I would have liked more about what each said their friendship made to each of them and what they saw in and liked about each other. The book does do this but I really wanted more. Maybe that means the author did a good job. I would recommend it.
Allen Turley
I loved this book.! If you're a J.R.R Tolkien AND a C.S. Lewis fan, you will love this book. Their impact and influence on one another was profound. Thank God for good friendships.

I have been reading on this book on and off for quite some time but have finished it today.
Scott Worden
I thought it was interesting how Lewis encouraged Tolkien to write Lord of the Rings while Tolkien helped Lewis realize that God existed. It was sad that their friendship drifted towards the end but they definitely were instrumental in each other's lives.
Spencer
Although the author might have gone a little too far with some of the ideas that he believes Lewis and Tolkien held to (I am no expert on the matter), I greatly enjoyed this read. It has reinforced in my mind the importance of good fiction literature.
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  • The Inklings of Oxford: C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Their Friends
  • The Inklings: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Charles Williams, and Their Friends
  • Splintered Light: Logos and Language in Tolkien's World
  • Mere Humanity: G.K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, and J. R. R. Tolkien on the Human Condition
  • Christian Mythmakers: C.S. Lewis, Madeleine L'Engle, J.R.R. Tolkien, George MacDonald, G.K. Chesterton, Charles Williams, Dante Alighieri, John Bunyan, Walter Wangerin, Robert Siegel, and Hannah Hurnard
  • The Ring of Words: Tolkien and the Oxford English Dictionary
  • J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century
  • The Company They Keep: C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien as Writers in Community
  • The Philosophy of Tolkien: The Worldview Behind the Lord of the Rings
  • Tolkien and the Great War: The Threshold of Middle-earth
  • The Monsters and the Critics and other essays
  • On Stories: And Other Essays on Literature
  • Tolkien's Ordinary Virtues: Exploring the Spiritual Themes of the Lord of the Rings
  • The Gospel According to Tolkien: Visions of the Kingdom in Middle-Earth
  • Tolkien: Man and Myth, a Literary Life
  • Understanding The Lord of the Rings: The Best of Tolkien Criticism
  • On the Shoulders of Hobbits: The Road to Virtue with Tolkien and Lewis
  • Lenten Lands: My Childhood with Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis
Francis Schaeffer: An Authentic Life J. R. R. Tolkien: The Making of a Legend Field Guide to Harry Potter C.S. Lewis: A Biography of Friendship A Field Guide to Narnia

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