Bandersnatch: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the Creative Collaboration of the Inklings Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the Inklings met each week to read and discuss each other's work-in-progress, offering both encouragement and blistering critique. How did these conversations shape the books they were writing? How does creative collaboration enhance individual talent? And what can we learn from their example? Bandersnatch offers an inside look at the Inklings of Oxford, and a seat at their table at the Eagle and Child pub. It shows how encouragement and criticism made all the difference in The Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, and dozens of other books written by the members of their circle. You'll learn what made these writers tick, and more: inspired by their example, you'll discover how collaboration can help your own creative process and lead to genius breakthroughs in whatever work you do.
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|Listening Length||6 hours and 29 minutes|
|Author||Diana Pavlac Glyer|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com.au Release Date||26 September 2016|
|Best Sellers Rank|| 115,669 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
220 in History & Criticism of Science Fiction & Fantasy
225 in Science Fiction History & Criticism
392 in Biographies of Authors (Audible Books & Originals)
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Colin Duriez, author of THE OXFORD INKLINGS, LEWIS, TOLKIEN AND THEIR CIRCLE; J.R.R. TOLKIEN: THE MAKING OF A LEGEND; C.S. LEWIS: A BIOGRAPHY OF FRIENDSHIP; etc.
If you are already an Inklings fan, here is a feast of tasty morsels to savor! The author gives example after example from letters, margin notes, dedications, conversations, diaries and the like to show how the works of members of the Inklings were shaped by the others. For example, Tolkien was floundering in his attempt to produce a “Hobbit sequel” until Lewis gave a piece of advice about which Tolkien recorded: “Mr Lewis says hobbits are only amusing when in unhobbitlike situations.” Suddenly, Tolkien had a new direction for his story, more serious and weighty, and he soon reported that the story “is now flowing along.” This is the kind of detail, complete with specific dating, that the author provides to demonstrate how the Inklings did, indeed, support and influence each other’s work in substantive ways.
But even if you aren’t especially familiar with the Inklings, you will find much in this book to chew on and enjoy. Her description of the creative process in general, with its fits and starts, highs and lows, and different styles of creative work, has implications in many settings. Her insights into what productive collaboration requires and what supports and what hinders it are also widely applicable. At the end of every chapter, the author offers practical comments under the heading of “Doing What They Did.” In one of those sections, her distinction between giving diagnostic feedback vs prescriptive feedback immediately resonated with me (I work in the medical field); it also sparked insights for my personal life. Collaboration is not just for creatives. Or perhaps it is better to say that creativity is required in different forms in different settings, and collaboration is vitally important for it to flourish in any of them.
With gorgeous illustrations by James A Owen and the author’s silky smooth prose, this book is a delight to read. It is clear from many examples that the author practices what she preaches. This book has grown from her own creative collaborations and the “leaf-mould of the mind” (Tolkien’s apt phrase). It is well worth reading and pondering; I highly recommend “Bandersnatch.”
It is interesting that Bandersnatch is a self-reporting product of collaboration. 1. The author met regularly with a group of her students, "Team Bandersnatch", to read the work in progress for their feedback. 2. The book contains 11 beautiful illustrations showing members of the Inklings, with a Bandersnatch someplace in each design. The author worked extensively with the artist. 3. The author mentions, in the text, collaborative work with a colleague on research about creative collaborative groups. 4. And, the front-matter says the author's daughter liked the title.
It is a book discussing the history of a successful creative writing group that contributed both to Tolkien`s The Lord of the Rings and Lewis' Narnia books but also to many worthy but less well known works of other members such as Owen Barfield, Charles Williams, or Lewis' brother Major Warren Lewis.
The book provides an ongoing discussion of the value of creative collaborative groups, of all kinds, and uses characteristics of the Inklings to illustrate what contributes to successful groups. The discussion provides insights from the author's own long and hard-earned experiences participating in and leading collaborative groups. There is a tip at the end of each chapter on how to make or maintain a group.
To sum up, I really enjoyed this book. My opening statement is not hyperbole. I do believe that every public library in the United States should own a copy of this book. In fact, every library that provides information on English literature should do so, either this or its predecessor The Company They Keep (an academic book). I think the contributions of the Inklings to English literature and to contemporary culture are so significant that it makes the study of their history relevant, and this book is a wonderful contribution to the great conversation about the Inklings, their place in history and literature, and the process of how they formed and maintained their creative group.
I highly recommend this. My one disappointment was the final chapter. There was a change in tone, as if she were writing to younger readers rather than adults as in the earlier chapters. I felt a little talked down to, which is not something I've ever experienced when talking to the author in person.
It makes me want to read other books about the Inklings, even though I am primarily a fiction reader. I found myself starting to reread LORD OF THE RINGS in parallel with this. I have been rereading C.S. Lewis recently so don't feel the need to revisit those again. But I'm afraid that not even BANDERSNATCH can make me want to reread Charles Williams!