Multitudes of readers and movie-goers are familiar with the names and writings of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. Many are also aware that the two literary giants were part of a ‘club’ called The Inklings, though they may not know anything about the group. Fewer realize that there were well over a dozen more Inklings, although some have heard of Christopher Tolkien, Charles Williams, and Owen Barfield. Hardly anyone can name all nineteen, and perhaps nobody has read every single thing ever published by every single one of them – except Dr. Diana Glyer.
From the treasure houses of knowledge accumulated over twenty-plus years of meticulous research, Dr. Glyer presents in Bandersnatch a well-balanced blend of trustworthy factual information and thoughtful insight regarding the individuals who were the Inklings, their personal interactions with one another, and both the public and private workings of the group as a corporate body.
The dual nature of this book makes it particularly helpful: it is not only a genuinely good, accessible biography of the Inklings; it is also an excellent, encouraging guidebook for those who wish to follow their example. Each chapter concludes with a succinct “Doing What They Did” summary, and the final section of the book is an epilogue outlining specific steps for starting a writing group.
Bandersnatch is both a significant contribution to Inklings scholarship and a valuable resource on collaborative creativity. I highly recommend it to Inklings lovers as well as writers and other artists seeking to live and create in community.