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Bandersnatch: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and the Creative Collaboration of the Inklings

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  470 ratings  ·  116 reviews
An inspiring look at the Inklings and their creative process

C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the Inklings met each week to read and discuss each other's work-in-progress, offering both encouragement and blistering critique. How did these conversations shape the books they were writing? How does creative collaboration enhance individual talent? And what can we learn from the
Paperback, 192 pages
Published January 4th 2016 by Kent State Univ
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Diana Glyer haha! The title comes from a remark by C. S.Lewis. He once said, "No-one ever influenced Tolkien. You might as well try to influence a bandersnatch."…morehaha! The title comes from a remark by C. S.Lewis. He once said, "No-one ever influenced Tolkien. You might as well try to influence a bandersnatch." But is that really true?
Diana Glyer Yes: It is paperback and eBook (Kindle, Nook, and iBooks). Audiobook is due later in 2016.

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Sherwood Smith
Copy provided by Kent State University Press.

In The Company They Keep, Diana Pavlac Glyer established herself among the foremost Inklings scholars. It’s one of those rarities, a deeply academic book that is also immensely readable.

That book proved that the Inklings really were a collaborative group, and not a bunch of lone geniuses who got together regularly to read bits then retreated to their man caves for more solitary labor.

In Bandersnatch, she shows how they did it. To do so, Glyer uses th
Doug Jackson
Nov 07, 2015 marked it as to-read
Recommends it for: pastors, students, writers
"Community" is all the rage these days: There's the atheist community and the art community, the scrapbooking community and the UFO community, the homeless community and the homeschool community. But having a common interest or grievance does not forge a set of disconnected individuals into a genuinely connected union. Churches, too, if you're into that kind of thing, have started using the term "community" a lot, though we pretty much just mean the same thing as when we talked about our "member ...more
Abigayle Claire
Dec 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My only complaint is the lack of chronology. Everything else was incredible. I expected the book to be a biography on the Inklings group (and it is that, as the author had the context to understand the members and their writings).

But more than the WHO, the book addresses the HOW of the group. How did the Inklings impact one another? How did the group operate and for so long?

The most impactful part for me was the WHY. Why did they have a group at all? And why on earth did it become the writing g
Richard Derus
Nov 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gifted
Rating: 3.5* of five, rounded up for the scrummy illustrations

It's #Booksgiving! Start getting your bookish friends their read on...this book is perfect for your LotR-obsessed friend who's read every word Tolkien wrote already.

Diana Pavlac Glyer, author of the also-excellent The Company They Keep: C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien as Writers in Community, gives us a combination of cautionary tale for writers' groups, a group biography of the Inklings, and a meditation on what creativity, in the end,
Aug 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: impacted-me
CALLING ALL TOLKIEN AND LEWIS FANS! This book tells the story of Lewis and Tolkien’s friendship and how it brought about so much of their widely read work. If you’re wondering who wanted to punch who when they first met, this book is for you. My basic knowledge of these two great writers was enriched from reading this book. There are men behind the mythologies, get to know them.
Joseph Bentz
Aug 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this book for many reasons--for its stories of the workings of the Inklings, for its insights into the creative process, and for its practical suggestions for writers and other creative people.

For those who love the works of J. R. R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, could anything be more inspiring than to enter into the creative relationship of these two friends to see how they influenced one another? This book opens a door to that friendship and to the relationships among the other members of
Malcolm Guite
Nov 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is much more than just a popular version of Glyers' great Scholarly work on the Inkings -The Company They Keep- this is a book that encourages new writers just as much as it tells the story of great writers in the past -its a call to collaboration full of inspiring stories and practical tips, so that we not only admire the Inklings as a writers group, we are given every opportunity and encouragement to learn from them
Rebekah Choat
Nov 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned, inklings
Multitudes of readers and movie-goers are familiar with the names and writings of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. Many are also aware that the two literary giants were part of a ‘club’ called The Inklings, though they may not know anything about the group. Fewer realize that there were well over a dozen more Inklings, although some have heard of Christopher Tolkien, Charles Williams, and Owen Barfield. Hardly anyone can name all nineteen, and perhaps nobody has read every single thing ever publis ...more
Andrew Lazo
Nov 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A glory upon glory. If Diana Pavlac Glyer's monumental The Company They Keep weren't enough to establish her in the echelon of the very best thinkers and writers on the Inklings, along comes Bandersnatch to cinch the deal for scholars and general readers alike, mapping out a collaborative model that cannot help but enrich every life lucky enough to delve into its pages. A MUST-HAVE, for many re-reads, for years to come!
Dec 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
How shall I start this post? How about this book is fabulous, interesting, encouraging and a must read for Inkling fans and writers? Yes, let’s start there!

I’m going to continue by saying I absolutely loved this book. This is a fabulously read for Inklings fans as well as writers. Let me get back to the Inklings part. The insiders look into the key members of the Inklings is fascinating to read (like what Tolkien and Lewis thought of each other’s works). I really enjoyed learning more about how
Bandersnatch: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the Creative Collaboration of the Inklings is a remarkable account of the relationships of Lewis, Tolkien, and the Inklings as they were interwoven in friendship, faith, and work. Dr. Glyer, the world's leading expert on the influence of the Inklings has written magnificently about this set of relationships in her extraordinary book -The Company They Keep. The Company They Keep: C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien as Writers in Community However, while ...more
Colin Duriez
Dec 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing

Any writer, no matter how talented, can benefit from the creative collaboration of a writing group, in giving honest advice and encouragement. Demonstrating this, Diana Glyer provides a unique, inspiring and captivating resource for the writer-in-group (even a small group) She draws richly upon the experience of the Inklings, one of literature's most well-known groups: their art of collaboration that can still mentor and sustain writers today.
Crystal Hurd
Nov 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
There is something wonderful about good literature. The words, the phrases, the characters, the exciting plot twists – a good story of an amalgamation of many things working together. When we find a story that captures us, that plants its roots firmly in our imaginations, we quickly develop a deep and lasting appreciation for that work.

Have you ever had that feeling? The sensation of being transported to another time, another place? It is nothing short of magical. But how does an author achieve
Nov 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I was so looking forward to the release of this book and it was WELL WORTH THE WAIT! I am a huge fan of Glyer's The Company They Keep: C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien as Writers in Community, so much so that it never occurred to me the book is "scholarly" and therefore "over the heads of" some readers (I personally question that - Diana Glyer writes with such accessibility and her footnotes are full of wonderful information; I wonder if some people are just intimidated by the idea of a book wit ...more
Kirk Manton
Nov 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Bandersnatch -

Wow, this book is a treasure. For a non-academic lover of Lewis and Tolkien, and now the other Inklings, like me, this is a great find. As a practical working person who also has a passion to create and express through design, invention and story, this work brings new direction and hope. Its practical direction and inspiring hope changed my view of my own writing from a little hobby into something that I now know, in community, can grow into something of real significance.

Jan 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
No one else that I know of, save Christopher Tolkien, knows The Inklings like my former professor Diana Glyer. She's devoted much of her life to passionately researching them. Bandersnatch focuses on the communal nature and practices of The Inklings, namely Tolkien and Lewis.

A few surprising facts that stood out to me:
1. There were 19 Inklings in total, and they met for 17 years!
2. The Inklings greatly encouraged one another, even going so far as writing publishers to encourage them to publish
Sep 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is an incredible book that I enjoyed more with every new inside look at the collaboration of the Inklings, and every new insight into how such collaborative friendship can bolster creativity today. The author shows that timeless works like The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia were not solo acts, but impacted and formed by honest critique, witty conversations, and deep friendships. It was fascinating as a reader to enter into the world of these creative masters and follow along ...more
Jul 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Engaging, fascinating, inspiring and full of practical wisdom and encouragement, not just for writers and artists, but for anyone who wants to be a good friend. It will stay on my desk for quick reference and rereading. "There is no such thing as life that does not owe itself to the life and labor of someone else." Thomas Howard on Charles Williams, from Bandersnatch pg. 157
Jana Light
Aug 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
A delightful addition to scholarship on the Inklings. I really enjoyed this particular contribution because it is as much an analysis of the mechanics of the wildly successful writing group as it is about the individual members as writers. It left me longing for a group of friends who are all committed in heart and time to producing quality writing and who happen to thoroughly enjoy each other's company.

Glyer focuses on Charles Williams more than other books I've read on the group, and I am so
Jen H.
Nov 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What new great works might arise if we were to form Inklings-type communities for our own creative projects? Diana Glyer's new book, Bandersnatch, gives aspiring artists a lively birds-eye view into the internal workings of one of the most famous literary groups of all time and provides a roadmap for the aspiring author who dreams of a new "Narnia". Her guidebook provides the impetus for creating in collaboration with others. Based on her own scholarly research over twenty years, Bandersnatch id ...more
Aug 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
I'm not sure whether to be envious of the Inklings as a literary group, or relieved as a writer, I don't have to face such merciless literary criticism!

The author sought to find out how much influence each member of the Inklings had over their friends within the group, and found an extraordinary amount of evidence that collaborations, discussions, ideas-sharing, debate, and criticism caused changes in Lewis and Tolkien's works in particular. She spends a lot of time on Tolkien's revisions, most
Julie Davis
Jun 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'd give this 3-1/2 stars but am rounding up for authorly enthusiasm. This is indeed about the many ways the Inklings collaborated with and supported each other's work. I'd say it is also a close-up look at a group of like-minded friends. Many of the points that are lauded, such as writing good reviews of each others' books are the sort of things that I've read about groups of painters doing and so forth.

Overall very enjoyable and a quick read.
Ginger Price
Jan 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: contemporary
My initial impression of this book was that it would be a specific and somewhat thorough examination of the kinds of conversations surrounding Tolkein and Lewis and their seminal texts (i.e. how their conversations with each other and The Inklings influenced the works), but the examination never felt developed; it remained at a very superficial level of discourse. This may be because the author wrote this book for the layman after realizing that her initial text might be too academic. Had I know ...more
Dec 14, 2015 rated it liked it
Like the eponymous Bandersnatch, Glyer's book is something of a chimera. In part, it is a distillation of the research on the collaborative processes that influenced many of the creative works by members of the Inklings she reports in more detail and for a scholarly audience in The Company They Keep: C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien as Writers in Community packaged for the general reader. In part, it is a how-to book for those who wish to create or participate in similar collaborative groups wit ...more
Ryan Putman
Dec 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book has given me a lot of insight to the mastermind dynamics of Tolkien, Lewis, and the other important scholars. Their interaction is at the forefront of Bandersnatch. The process of their writing was demystified. The author's research showed me how much iron sharped iron in the conversations of these writers. Sometimes, there was a spark of creativity. Other times, their personalities just collided. They shared feedback that helped them write lean. Writers could learn something from thei ...more
Steve Miller
Feb 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing
Glyer provided two great services with this book.

First, she provided us with insight into the friendship between Lewis, Tolkien, and others who made up the fellowship of writers who called themselves the Inklings. This is gratifying for those of who have enjoyed their writings.

But beyond that, Glyer teases out what the Inklings did well, and suggests ways to implement those in writers groups today. This gave me ideas how to grow a writers group beyond the ordinary read-and-critique group common
Nov 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult, biography, writing
Dr. Glyer has written a wonderfully researched book about how creative writing happened among the Inklings with original insights, in particular, to the processes used by C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. It holds the reader's interest with food for thought and application. In addition, the illustrations are fabulous! I heard there was an adult coloring book coming out that will feature the illustrations from this book ... and I'll be in line to buy it, too!
Dec 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating and brilliant exploration of some of the greatest literary minds of a generation. If you like these authors and want insight into their motivations and relationships this is a must read.
L.K. Simonds
May 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: misc-nf, on-writing
Diana Pavlac Glyer spent over 20 years seeking and cataloging evidence to make the case that C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien and their lesser known (to us today) friends influenced each other's work. That she does, thoroughly. "Bandersnatch" is the abbreviated version of the fruit of that labor. The full enchilada is "The Company They Keep", which according to the author is more academic. Ms. Glyer calls the Inklings, the group of writers who met from roughly 1937 to 1949, resonators for each o ...more
Mar 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Maybe, like I did, you think you know most of what there is worth knowing about the Inklings. After reading this book, however, I have so much better an understanding of them, and learned things that surprised me. Not just about individual members of the group, but the group as a whole. Bandersnatch is something like a biography of the Inklings as a collective, and a study of how their interaction affected their "individual" works. Glyer, who has clearly done an incredible amount of research on ...more
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Diana Pavlac Glyer thinks that studying faded pencil marks on dusty manuscripts is much more fun than going to Disneyland. That's why she has spent more than 40 years combing through archives and lurking in libraries. She is a leading expert on C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the Inklings. Her book "The Company They Keep" changed the way we talk about these writers. Read more of her work on the In ...more
“The excitement of creating is followed by desperate self-doubt. Courage and inspiration compete with discouragement and despair.” 3 likes
“As he read the long narrative poem, Lewis was struck by two qualities in particular. He admired the realism of Tolkien’s sub-created world, the depth and detail of Middle-earth. He also praised the mythical value of the story, the way the events were good in themselves and yet also suggested deeper layers of meaning to the reader. But” 2 likes
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