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C. S. Lewis and His CircleEssays and Memoirs from the Oxford C.S. Lewis Society$
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Roger White, Judith Wolfe, and Brendan Wolfe

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780190214340

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190214340.001.0001

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W. H. Auden and the Inklings

W. H. Auden and the Inklings

Chapter:
(p.122) 8 W. H. Auden and the Inklings
Source:
C. S. Lewis and His Circle
Author(s):

Michael Piret

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190214340.003.0008

Although one of W. H. Auden’s last poems formally records his indebtedness to ‘Williams and Lewis’ for guiding him back to Christianity, his affinities with the Inklings are easily overlooked. He and Lewis were kindred spirits in several ways, including their liturgical conservatism, their shared affirmation of a moral law which all acknowledge and none obey, their belief in the relevance of traditional doctrine to the modern predicament, and in their great appreciation for the writings of George MacDonald, Charles Williams, and J. R. R. Tolkien. Auden’s enthusiastic reception of The Lord of the Rings, hardly the norm among 1950s literati, welcomed the books as a signal achievement in the Quest genre. While Tolkien rejected Auden’s characterization of the tale as a representation of subjective experience, he was nonetheless grateful for his support, and Auden’s distinctly personal approach shows how resonant the books were for him, as a man and as a poet.

Keywords:   W. H. Auden, J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Charles Williams, quest

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