The FellowshipPosted: December 15, 2015
The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings: J.R.R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams
Philip Zaleski and Carol Zaleski
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (June 2, 2015), 657 pages
Kindle edition $16.99, Amazon Hardcover $22.08
Whew! This was a slog.
The print edition of the The Fellowship is 657 pages, although the notes begin on page 512. And while the book is heavily annotated, there are no links to the notes in the Kindle edition, so accessing the references real time while reading on my iPad Kindle app was virtually impossible, and I didn’t try. Of course, even if you read the print edition you would have to keep one finger in the notes at the back to keep up.
While the Zaleskis have created a comprehensive reference work here, it was more detail than I needed. Still, there were some interesting bits. While it is widely known that Lewis lived much of his life with “Mrs. Moore,” the mother of his close friend who was killed in battle in World War I, it turns out there was, in fact, a Mr. Moore. Where he was or what he did is not explained, presumably because the Zaleskis were not able to unearth any information. Though it seems that both Lewis and Mrs. Moore complained regularly about Mr. Moore not doing whatever it was he was supposed to be doing. Then there was the fact that Lewis’s marriage to Joy Davidman, his love late in his life, was a pragmatic matter related to her illnesses.
Likewise, there is a lot of interesting information about the what it took for J.R.R. Tolkien to complete The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings. The short answer: a lot. And although Lewis’s older brother Warnie’s name is not mentioned in the title, he was in fact an integral part of the Inklings group, which met regularly and shared their work with each other.
I think that I would have been better served reading the well-regarded The Inklings: C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien and Their Friends, which, though out of print, is readily available as a used book from Amazon and no doubt other sources.
Still, I now know a few things that I didn’t when I began the book.