Inklings and Arthur Series Introduction by David Llewellyn Dodds

Brenton Dickieson is running a series of blog posts, edited by David Llwellyn Dodds, over on Pilgrim in Narnia. Please have a look!

A Pilgrim in Narnia

It was as an ‘Arthurian’ that I first consciously encountered Charles Williams, with that adjective applying to both him and me. (I, ever since I was given Emma Gelders Sterne and Barbara Lindsay’s retelling, King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table,  as a little fellow, however hair-raising were Gustaf Tenggren’s depictions of Lancelot’s sword splitting Meliagrance’s helmeted head in half and the giant Taulurd’s severed arm in mid-air as Sir Tor hewed it off.)  It was only later that I realized I had already happily encountered him, enriching Dorothy Sayers’ notes in her translation of Dante’s Comedy.

However, it was not until I thought to ‘work on him’ seriously that I came to learn how many of Williams’ Arthurian writings were still unpublished. In this adventure of reading I ended up as a textual editor. But I have also been in awe of that other kind…

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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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15 Responses to Inklings and Arthur Series Introduction by David Llewellyn Dodds

  1. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    We’re off to an excellent start, with an post by Suzanne Bray complementary to her essay in the book – do have a look!


  2. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    And do cast your eye over and consider adding your voice to the second post Stephen Winter on That Hideous Strength and “our haunting” and the comments so far…


  3. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    Dr. Gabriel Schenk, who, in a footnote, enriches Sørina’s fine discussion of Owen Barfield’s Arthurian works, has now treated us to a fascinating survey of, and reflection upon, Lewis’s (and Dorothy L. Sayers’) thoughts on King Arthur: come and see!


  4. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    This week, you may be as delightfully surprised as I was to see how Lewis not only thought deeply about Arthur himself, but encouraged a prize-winning young poet-friend to write an epic about him, when Professor Dale Nelson introduces us to Martyn Skinner’s The Return of Arthur: A Poem of the Future!


  5. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    Another week has flown by and the attention has (mostly) shifted from Lewis to Tolkien in a wonderfully rich and varied look by Professor Ethan Campbell at “Wood-Woses: Tolkien’s Wild Men and the Green Knight”. Enjoy (and pick any of dozens of things to comment on)!


  6. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    It’s hard to believe that the cover-design for The Inklings and King Arthur was only decided after the North American total eclipse last August, but in this week’s post, the artist and designer, Emily Austin, lets us know and see how she came to make it. However discerning your enjoyment of it is already, I warrant it will be deepened and increased, as mine was, by reading her account and seeing the final form take shape.


  7. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    This week, Emily Austin’s own design and her discussion of Beardsley and Tolkien, and Art Nouveau play with mediaeval sources and styles last week, find some interesting matter for comparison as Dale Nelson introduces us to Arthurian Literature and the Old Everyman’s Library, with accents on Lewis and Tolkien nicely complementing Sørina’s attention to Barfield and the Everyman Malory edition in The Inklings and King Arthur.


  8. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    Those who have already read Charles Huttar’s exhilarating, magnificent contribution to The Inklings and King Arthur, may find a deft, concentrated, thought-provoking complement to it in today’s post – Filling the Gaps in History: Mythopoesis as Deep Insight – while those who have not, yet, will find a spur to long to do so the sooner.


  9. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    If you enjoyed J. Cameron Moore’s ‘“All Men Live by Tales”: Chesterton’s Arthurian Poems’ in The Inklings and King Arthur, you will savour his contribution this week, ‘Chesterton, Arthur, and Enchanting England’ – otherwise, this fine post will leave you looking forward to what else he has to say about those poems.


  10. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    Today, Josiah Peterson notes that Lewis’s passion for the Norse preceded his love for Malory by at least three years, and gives an impetus to any number of interesting discussions by wondering what Lewis would have thought of the Marvel movie, Thor:Ragnarok – do come join or start one, or more!


  11. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    Today, it is our great privilege and delight to have his biographer and fellow-poet, Grevel Lindop, give us a very lucid and lively introduction to Charles Williams’s little-known first fruits as an Arthurian, his Commonplace Book (entitled The Holy Grail on its spine) – illustrated with 4 photos of pages published in a Portuguese dissertation and rarely seen in the English-speaking world.


  12. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    Many will remember Sørina’s paper playfully entitled ‘King Arthur was an Elf!’, which she has described as “the seed” of The Inklings and King Arthur. But how have various Arthurian writers down the ages envisaged elves – and other ‘folk’ – such as, ‘Tiny Fairies’? Earlier in the series, Dale Nelson introduced us to Lewis’s young friend, Martyn Skinner, and the lively futuristic epic poem Lewis encouraged him to write, The Return of King Arthur. Now Dale takes us back to the 1930s to encounter Skinner’s first book, another long poem in a distinctly different Arthurian setting, with intriguing points of contact with both Lewis’s scholarship and, especially, Tolkien’s varying practice and theory. Come have a look!


  13. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    As our series draws near its close, blog host Brenton Dickieson shares part of his survey of Lewis’s Arthuriad published in The Inklings and King Arthur – and then also takes some time to speculate in a way he can’t do in a book, and invites us to join in: what might Lewis have written, had he lived past his besetting illness of 1963 – and how Arthurian might it have been, explicitly or in less obvious ways? Do surf along and enjoy this thought-provoking gem of a post!


  14. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    And, to finish, I’ve taken us ‘beyond the baker’s dozen’, tying together various threads, from Suzanne Bray, Emily Austin, and Grevel Lindop, among others, with more questions than answers about the Holy Grail, its depiction and treatment, especially in the romances of Chretien and Wolfram, and what the Inklings may have known about the two most likely known claimants to have been Vessels on the Table at the Last Supper. But maybe you can tell the rest of us more than I’ve discovered – do have a look!

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