On Tuesday Christianity Today Weblog noted that, thanks to a major reprinting of the works of C.S. Lewis—as well as a controversial proposal for new Narnia novels—the author's books are expected to post impressive sales figures this year. Weblog also noted that the works of Lewis's fellow "Inklings" will likely enjoy a boost related to the reprints and to the upcoming film version of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. "Even fantasies by the lesser-known Inkling, Charles Williams, and the spiritual mentor to the Inklings, George MacDonald … are expected to sell well," the Detriot Free Press reported.

Weblog (aka the founding editor of this newsletter, Ted Olsen) and I, having attended the college (Wheaton) where Lewis's wardrobe resides, can throw around a term like "Inkling" without really thinking about it. I think I slipped it into our new Dante issue twice. But for anyone who's not familiar with the insider reference, here's the back story on one of the most fascinating extracurricular clubs in history.

Without doubt, Lewis's creative and theological genius was stimulated by his weekly meetings with the Inklings, a collection of thinkers and friends who gathered regularly to critique each other's writing and to discuss current events and life in general. The name of the group was transferred from a defunct Oxford literary society of which Lewis and Tolkien had been members to a group of friends who gathered in Lewis's rooms at Magdalen College every Thursday night. Usually present were C.S. Lewis, his brother Warren Lewis, Tolkien, Dr. R.E. Havard, and Charles Williams. Other attenders included Nevill Coghill, Hugo Dyson, Owen Barfield, and Adam Fox.

In the Inklings' heyday, C.S. Lewis held a fellowship ...

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