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The Company They Keep by Diana Pavlac Glyer

It has been widely and vehemently put forth that the Inklings, a group comprised mainly of writers (including J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, and Charles Williams) who met regularly to read their works to each other over the course of more than fifteen years, was simply and solely a social club. Biographers, scholars, and in some cases the Inklings themselves have denied that the members of the group either exerted influence over or were influenced by the others. Ms. Glyer, however, presents a convincing argument that it is a gross error to take such statements at face value.

In The Company They Keep, Ms. Glyer defines and delineates a number of areas in which the various Inklings did indeed have an impact not only on each other’s personal lives as friends, but also on their professional lives and works as colleagues. Exhaustive evidence is provided to support these claims, demonstrating how these men acted and reacted upon each other as resonators, encouragers, sometime opponents, editors, collaborators, and referents.

In the course of proving the influence of the Inklings on one another, Ms. Glyer makes a strong case for the importance of community in the life of every writer.

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