I am utterly astonished and delighted to announce that The Inklings and King Arthur has won the Mythopoeic Scholarship Award in Inklings Studies! This is a prestigious award that “is given to books on Tolkien, Lewis, and/or Williams that make significant contributions to Inklings scholarship.” Congratulations to all of my chapter-writers for their amazing work. I am happy to see how this book seems to be opening paths in Inklings scholarship, and I hope that continues.
I would like to acknowledge the other nominees for this year. They were:
- Chance, Jane, Tolkien, Self and other: This Queer Creature (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016)
- Coutras, Lisa, Tolkien’s Theology of Beauty: Majesty, Splendor, and Transcendence in Middle-earth (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016)
- Flieger, Verlyn, There Would Always Be a Fairy Tale: More Essays on Tolkien (Kent State University Press, 2017)
- Tolkien, Christopher, ed., Beren and Luthien (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017)
And previous winners are a Who’s Who in Inklings Studies; they have included Philip and Carol Zaleski, Grevel Lindop, Verlyn Flieger, Michael Ward, Dimitra Fimi, Diana Pavlac Glyer, Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull, Janet Brennan Croft, John Garth, Michael D. C. Drout, Tom Shippey, Walter Hooper, David C. Downing, Peter J. Schakel and Charles A. Huttar, Douglas A. Anderson, Christopher Tolkien, Glen Cavaliero, Peter J. Schakel, Paul Ford, Humphrey Carpenter, Roger Lancelyn Green, Kathryn Lindskoog, and Clyde Kilby. You can read a complete list of previous winners here. Mighty company indeed!
Here are my acceptance remarks, which were read for me at Mythcon 49:
The word “mythopoeia,” after which this illustrious society was named, evokes a flash of longing in me. It inspires sehnsucht: a yearning for the long-ago and far-away, for the Classical pantheon or Norse heroism, for Romantic landscapes or glimpses of the divine. At the heart of the vast Arthurian legendarium are tales of longing: questing for the Holy Grail, for love, and for true kingship. And there is a kind of sehnsucht or endless deferral in the making of any book: before it, come the hundreds and thousands of books that raised the questions it seeks to answer, but its very answers raise other questions that must be answered in other books, and so on forever. This is especially true of works of literary scholarship, and most definitely is the case with The Inklings and King Arthur. The contributors and I make but one small fellowship in the great company of writers on Arthuriana and on the Inklings, and we are honored to join this prestigious list of so many mentors, role models, sources, colleagues, and friends.
I would like to thank first of all the nominating committee of the Mythopoeic Society for granting this important award to our book. I would also, of course, like to call attention to all of the writers in this book; I believe this is only the fourth time that an edited collection has been the recipient, and all twenty-one authors deserve the credit! Of course, many others were involved in the creation of such a sizable project, and thanks belong to the staff of libraries and archives where we researched, readers who contributed comments and corrections, contributors to the GoFundMe campaign, and friends and colleagues most numerous. As I say in the book: May all these wise and kind people receive passage from the Grey Havens to the port of their heart’s desire.
~ Sørina Higgins