The Inklings & King Arthur Roundtable

This past Monday, Signum University hosted a Signum Symposium roundtable discussion celebrating the release of The Inklings and King Arthur. You can watch the recording of the event here:

Promo for the Book: 

Will King Arthur ever return to England? He already has.

In the midst of war-torn Britain, King Arthur returned in the writings of the Oxford Inklings. Learn how J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Charles Williams, and Owen Barfield brought hope to their times and our own in their Arthurian literature. Although studies of the “Oxford Inklings” abound, astonishingly enough, none has yet examined their great body of Arthurian work. Yet each of these major writers tackled serious and relevant questions about government, gender, violence, imperialism, secularism, and spirituality through their stories of the Quest for the Holy Grail.

This rigorous and sophisticated volume of studies does so for the first time. It is edited by Sørina Higgins, with a chapter by Brenton Dickieson (Signum faculty member) and one by alumna Alyssa House-Thomas, contributions from such Inklings luminaries as Malcolm Guite and Holly Ordway, and endorsements by Michael Ward, Owen A. Barfield, Tom ShippeyVerlyn Flieger, Carol and Philip Zaleski, Michael Drout, Janet Brennan Croft, John Rateliff, and our own Corey Olsen. The cover design is by Signum student Emily Austin. Listen in to hear the editor and contributors talk about this exciting new book!

Participant Bios

Sørina Higgins is the Chair of the Department of Language and Literature at Signum University and a Ph.D. candidate, Teacher of Record, and Presidential Scholar at Baylor University. At Signum, she serves as Thesis Coordinator, Host of Signum Symposia, and Preceptor for courses on the Inklings. Her interests include British Modernism, the works of the Inklings, Arthuriana, and magic. She holds an M.A. from Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English, where she wrote about Sehnsucht in the works of C. S. Lewis. She blogs about British poet Charles Williams at The Oddest Inkling. In addition to editing The Inklings and King Arthur(Apocryphile, 2018), Sørina wrote the introduction to a new edition of Charles Williams’s Taliessin through Logres(Apocryphile, 2016) and published an edition of The Chapel of the Thorn by Charles Williams (Apocryphile, 2014). As a creative writer, Sørina has published two books of poetry, The Significance of Swans (2007) and Caduceus (2012), and would be working on a novel or two if she weren’t, you know, in grad school.

Brenton Dickieson is Adjunct Professor in Theology at Maritime Christian College, Sessional Professor at the Centre for the Study of Christianity and Culture at the University of Prince Edward Island, and Instructor in Spiritual Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, BC. He also does freelance speaking and writing and is the author of the popular Faith and Fiction blog After completing a Masters degree in New Testament Studies at Regent College, Brenton moved with his wife Kerry and his son Nicolas to their native home in Charlottetown, PEI. His academic interests include how the creation of fictional universes helps in spiritual formation, theological exploration, and cultural criticism. He is now working on a PhD at the University of Chester, focusing his work on C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the Inklings.

Malcolm Guite: Poet-Priest Malcolm Guite is Chaplain of Girton College, Cambridge, and teaches at the Faculty of Divinity at the University of Cambridge. He lectures widely in England and North America on Theology and Literature and has published poetry, theology, and literary criticism and has worked as a librettist. His books include: Love, Remember(November 2017); Mariner, a spiritual biography of Samuel Taylor Coleridge (February 2017); Parable and Paradox (2016); The Singing Bowl (2013); Sounding the Seasons (2012); Theology and the Poetic Imagination (2010) and Faith Hope and Poetry (2006). Malcolm has edited two poetry anthologies for Lent and Advent: The Word in the Wilderness(2014) and Waiting on the Word (2015). Malcolm also writes Poet’s Corner, a weekly column in the Church Times. Malcolm has a particular interest in the imagination as a truth-bearing faculty and continues to reflect deeply on how poetry can stimulate and re-awaken our prayer life. Malcolm enjoys sailing, walking, old books, live music, riding his Harley Davidson motorbike and all the varieties of the British countryside and weather. Malcolm is also part of the rock band Mystery Train, regularly performing gigs at Grantchester, Cambridge and other places around Cambridgeshire.

Suggested Readings

Brenton’s A Pilgrim In Narnia blog is doing a 12-part series on Inklings and Arthur, running mid-January through March.

You may also want to grab one or more of the key texts that we will be discussing:

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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4 Responses to The Inklings & King Arthur Roundtable

  1. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    Wow – great: thanks!


  2. Reblogged this on A Pilgrim in Narnia and commented:
    As a follow-up to my post last week about the Inklings and Arthur roundtable, editor Sørina Higgins has posted the video of the discussion. It was a lot of fun to be a part of, and I think you’ll find it an engaging way to think about the Arthurian influences of Lewis, Tolkien, and the Inklings.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. David began his comment with the word, Wow! and I concur entirely. There is a popular radio programme that goes out weekly on the BBC called, “In our Time”. In it three well regarded academics discuss a subject of current research. Increasingly I have found myself frustrated by a sense in which they so often seem to miss the possibilities of their research and turn instead to the reductive and the banal. This seminar had the opposite effect upon me. To use Brenton’s glorious image of the hyperlink it was as if each contribution in this seminar was a celebration of possibility. I think that Sorina wonderfully captured that at the end with her reference to Sensucht, to longing. I loved the way in which the book you discussed is both a wonderful distillation of scholarship but also an invitation to new conversation and exploration.
    Malcolm expressed this powerfully when he spoke of the unresolved debate between Ransom and Merlin about the participative science that is innate to Merlin but about which we are rightly cautious. I think that this caution is powerfully expressed in the scene in The Lord of the Rings in which the Witch King enters the gates of Minas Tirith and is confronted by Gandalf. Tolkien draws back from making this the climactic moment by making the Rohirrim arrive at that point.. Even Sauron is confused by this. “What rules are we playing by? Are the Valar a part of this story or not? And what about Eru, the One?” There is so much that is hidden. The resolution of this debate is not just about getting the footnotes right in a scholarly article but about the very future of humankind, something you also touched upon in this discussion.
    Believing, as I do, that the saints who enjoy the nearer presence of God pray for us, I believe that you are deeply connected in what you are doing to the discussions in Oxford in the mid twentieth century and held by their prayers. I feel very privileged to have encountered the work you are doing and will do what I can to publicise this book and to encourage the conversations that will emerge from it. We really are in danger of the abolition of humankind and so the conversations are absolutely vital.


  4. Reblogged this on Wisdom from The Lord of the Rings and commented:
    This is one of the most exciting and important broadcasts that you will hear. Read my comment on Sorina Higgins’ site to see why I think so and listen to the discussion by clicking this link.


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