Invitation to a Smackdown

I’m delighted that Doug Jackson discovered The Company They Keep and took time to review it in his blog:

Jackson summarizes the book this way: “Diana Glyer’s The Company They Keep: C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien as Writers in Community argues, in the face of almost unanimous scholarly opinion, that the members of the informal Oxford club known as the Inklings greatly influenced one another’s writing. To accomplish this feat, she offers the reader at least two wonderful gifts: a new tool for thinking about the Inklings and a creative treatment of the idea of “influence.” Along the way, she invents a new category of literary influence and sparks hopes of an ongoing conversation with other Inklings scholars.”

I like the way he describes the book. I like the extent to which he really understands what it is about. And I love the fact that he read all the footnotes. If you promise not to tell anyone, I’ll tell you a secret about those footnotes. They are not, as one reviewer surmised, a misguided attempt to prop up my argument with clunky academic apparatus. They are a holding place for discoveries that were so delicious that I couldn’t bear to leave them out. But, on the whole, these lovely bits proved somewhat distracting. They cluttered up the story I was trying to tell, so, in a final edit, I snipped them out and tucked them into endnotes at the end of each chapter.

Perhaps the most intriguing part of Jackson’s review is this invitation to a smackdown:

“I am intrigued by considering Glyer’s arguments in light of the views expressed by Malcolm Guite of Cambridge in the introductory lecture of his series, “The Inklings: Fantasists or Prophets?” (For the entire, highly valuable series, see Guite commends Glyer’s work in moving beyond Carpenter’s reigning “just friends” take on the Inklings, and agrees with her about their mutual influence, but goes on to argue that the group saw themselves in conscious and deliberate reaction against the high modernism that ultimately won the day. It would be a great favor to Inklings students if some enterprising blogger (say William O’Flaherty’s “All About Jack” or Lancia Smith’s “Cultivating the Good, the True, and the Beautiful) would bring the two together for an MMA smackdown on the subject.”

Guite v. Glyer? No telling where that kinda mischief may lead.

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