Call For Papers: The Inklings and King Arthur

Call for Papers: Edited Volume
The Inklings and King Arthur
edited by 
Sørina Higgins


The recent publication of The Fall of Arthur, an unfinished poem by J.R.R. Tolkien, revealed a startling aspect of the legendarium. The key is found in notes Tolkien left about how he intended the fragmentary Fall of Arthur to continue (included in Christopher Tolkien’s editorial matter). After Arthur was carried away for healing, Lancelot would follow him into the West, never to return.

In other words, Lancelot functions like Eärendel. He sails into the West, seeking a lost paradise. If Tolkien had finished this poem, he could have woven it together with The Silmarillion so that his elvish history mapped onto the legends of Arthur, forming a foundation for “real” English history and language. In addition, he could have collaborated with Lewis, Williams, and Barfield, creating a totalizing myth greater than any they wrote individually.

The publication of this extraordinary poem thus invites an examination of the theological, literary, historical, and linguistic implications of both the actual Arthurian writings by the major Inklings and of an imaginary, composite, Inklings Arthuriad. This collection will compare the Arthurian works, especially the mythological geographies, of Tolkien, Lewis, Williams, Barfield, their predecessors, and their contemporaries.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Survey of Arthurian literature to 1900
  • Arthur in England during the World Wars
  • Spiritual Quest in a Scientific Age
  • On Mythological Geographies
  • Tolkien and/or Lewis as Arthurian scholars
  • Lancelot as Eärendel? The Fall of Arthur andThe Silmarillion
  • Western Isles and and Faerie Land: The Geography of The Fall of Arthur
  • Perelandra: Avalon in the Heavens?
  • That Hideous Strength: Merlin and The Pendragon
  • Williams Anatomical Arthur or Williams’ Occult Arthur
  • Tolkien, Lewis, or Williams as Political Commentators
  • George MacDonald and Faerie
  • G.K. Chesterton and the Historical Arthur
  • James Frazer and Jessie Weston on Romantic Rituals
  • Arthur Machen and Arthur Edward Waite: Occult Arthurs
  • Arthur for Kids: Roger Lancelyn Green
  • Owen Barfield and the Holy Grail
  • World War Arthurs
  • John Cowper Powys’s Glastonbury
  • T.S. Eliots Wasteland
  • Meta-Malory: T.H. White

Submissions are invited from any geographic region, and representing the disciplines of literature, theology, or history. Abstracts should be between 500 and 1000 words and
should include:
• Name(s) and contact information, including institutional affiliation and email address(es);
• A brief introduction to the topic, including scope and texts under consideration;
• The theoretical framework used;
• The main conclusions;
• The implications of this paper for the overall vision of this volume.
In addition, please submit a curriculum vitae, including a list of previous publications.
However, please note that younger and emergent scholars, including promising graduate students, are especially invited to submit, so a shorter list of publications should not deter applications.
Please note: all submissions must represent previously unpublished work.

Interested authors are invited to submit an abstract for a proposed chapter by 1 February 2014 to the collection editor, Sørina Higgins:

Selected authors will be notified by 1 April 2014, and will be invited to contribute a full-length chapter by 1 November 2014. Essays should be between 4,000 and 10,000 wordsand conform to MLA style. All chapters will be peer-reviewed by the collection editor and at least one other external reviewer before submission to the publishing house Editor.

Please direct inquiries and submissions to

Sørina Higgins blogs about Charles Williams at
The Oddest Inkling. She is currently editing The Chapel of the Thorn by Williams (forthcoming from Apocryphile). Her article “Double Affirmation: Medievalism as Christian Apologetic in the Arthurian Poetry of Charles Williams” featured in a topical issue of The Journal of Inklings Studies in October 2013, and her chapter “Is a ‘Christian’ Mystery Story Possible? Charles Williams’ War in Heaven as a Generic Case Study” appears in Christianity & the Detective Story (Cambridge Scholars, 2013). Sørina serves as Review Editor of Sehnsucht: The C. S. Lewis Journal,teaches English at Penn State (Lehigh Valley) and Lehigh Carbon Community College, and holds an M.A. from Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English.

About Sørina Higgins

Sørina Higgins is a PhD student in English and Presidential Scholar at Baylor University. She also serves as Chair of the Language and Literature Department at Signum University, online. Her latest publication is an academic essay collection on "The Inklings and King Arthur" (Apocryphile Press, December 2017). Her interests include British Modernism, the Inklings, Arthuriana, theatre, and magic. She holds an M.A. from Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English. Sørina blogs about British poet Charles Williams at The Oddest Inkling, wrote the introduction to a new edition of Williams’s "Taliessin through Logres" (Apocryphile, 2016), and edited Williams’s "The Chapel of the Thorn" (Apocryphile, 2014). As a creative writer, Sørina has published two books of poetry, "The Significance of Swans" (2007) and "Caduceus" (2012).
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18 Responses to Call For Papers: The Inklings and King Arthur

  1. Sørina, would you like this to be posted on the Legendarium site? I think it could certainly use more exposure?


    • Sørina Higgins says:

      Yes, please! Send me your email address and I’ll send you the 3 versions of the CFP; you can use whichever fits your format. Many thanks.


  2. Ben Utter says:

    Dear Sørina,

    I’m wondering whether I didn’t meet you after a presentation on C. Williams at Kalamazoo in 2011. I remember you (if indeed ’twas you) mentioned that you and your husband were building or had built your own house. Do I have the right person, I wonder?

    In any case, this looks like a splendidly-conceived book, and I’ve already begun drafting a chapter proposal for you (we just won’t tell my dissertation advisor that I’m diverting any of my energies, hm? : )


    U. of Minnesota, English


    • Sørina Higgins says:

      Indeed you did! ‘Twas I. I am thrilled that you are sending an abstract, and I won’t tell your advisor (well, that depends… who is s/he? 😉


      • Ben Utter says:

        Huzzah! Nice to be in touch at last. So glad to see all the fine work you’re doing in Williams studies.

        Stay tuned for a chapter proposal before too long. (Oh, and my advisor is Rebeccah Krug. Not too up on matters Inklings-related, as far as I know, though she’s written beautifully on women’s reading practices and lay piety in the late middle ages, and is hard at work on a Margery Kempe monograph. Extraordinary advisor.)



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  5. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    Dear Sørina,

    I have enjoyed everything by Owen Barfield I have read, but have read far too little. Having now begun to try to find out out more about him and the Holy Grail, all I have encountered so far is an interesting-looking article about his marginalia in his copy of Malory in the Everyman edition, and an entry,’ ‘The Quest of Sangreal’, typescript copy, n.d.’, among the ‘Plays’ among his papers in the Bodleian.

    Before my ‘satiable curtiosity becomes too elephantine, can you tell us more?


    • Sørina Higgins says:

      I don’t know a thing about it, except that it is listed in the Bodleian’s catalog! I’m eagerly awaiting a paper proposal on that text.


  6. Anderson says:

    I could not resist commenting. Exceptionally well written.


  7. Anderson says:

    This is a topic that’s close to my heart… Thank you! Exactly where can I find the contact details for questions?


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  11. Wonderful Breton resonances abound in this. “Tolkien”, although Germanic in form, means “rashbold”, a common medieval description of Bretons. “Rohan” is the name of a surviving branch of the Breton sovereign house; Conan “Meriadoc” was the legendary founder of Brittany in AD 383 whose cousin Elen (think “Elanor”, Samwise’s daughter) it’s said married the western emperor Magnus Flavius Clemens Maximus (born on the estate of Count Theodosius in Galicia). “Sir Lancelot” may be based on Count Alan Rufus, a famous knight commander and magnate who led the Bretons in post-Conquest England and was the subject of two letters of admonishment from Anselm of Canterbury to Gunhild (“Guinevere”?) the daughter of King Harold. There’s much more to this, but “the margin is too narrow to relate”.


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