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Romantic Theology

Honorary Inklings: Dorothy Sayers, G.K. Chesterton, George MacDonald, Warren Lewis, Joy Davidman,



Terry Glaspey 

Crystal Hurd, Ed. D. 

Course Description

The Oxford Inklings distinguished themselves as a group of literary enthusiasts, loosely
joined in mutual admiration for the written word. Throughout their existence, members
invited others—be they students, colleagues, or acquaintances—to share drafts in various
stages of preparation for critical feedback. The Inklings began as a casual group of men
who met twice a week: one to share manuscripts in progress and the other to drink and
enjoy one another’s company. The core members included C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien,
Christopher Tolkien, Owen Barfield, Warren Lewis, Hugo Dyson, Adam Fox, Roger
Lancelyn Green, Lord David Cecil, Robert Havard, Camille Smith, Nevill Coghill, Jack A. W.
Bennett, and J. H. Grant III. Others were always welcome by invitation and were considered
members who could attend at any time. Walter Hooper was invited by Lewis and also
became an honorary member. The group met for several years; the most active years were
between 1931 and 1949. Those who did not attend, but still contributed to the works of
this core group, are named “Honorary Inklings.” These individuals either served as
influences and predecessors for members, while others, women included, were connected
to the group by sharing the same core values and literary enthusiasm as members, albeit
without attending meetings. Although women were not allowed to join at this time due
more to cultural tradition than innate misogyny), Dorothy L. Sayers and Joy Davidman
enjoyed intimate friendships with several of the Inklings and served as critical sounding
boards for their works. In fact, Lewis cites Sayers’s religious plays as one of his favorites in
an interview with Decision magazine shortly before his death; and Williams relied on her

scholarship and translation of Dante. While they did not distribute drafts, or drain drafts at
a local pub, these individuals helped to shape contemporary literature with their
contributions to popular and spiritual works. With burgeoning interest in the Inklings,
many have widened the circle of influence to include members who resided in the
“suburbs” of this core group of men. Those who espoused similar beliefs, who explored
various religious topics with fervor, and who displayed a unique and extraordinary talent
for romantic poetry, fantasy, fiction, and nonfiction may rightly be called “Honorary

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