In the summer of 2010 I was privileged to share lunch with my son-in-law at the renowned little Oxford Pub, The Eagle and the Child. For almost 20 years J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, with a few others, met there every Tuesday morning from 10:00 to 12:00 to drink beer and read and critique each other’s writings. They called themselves “The Inklings.”
Little did they, or anyone else, know that out of this little gathering of friends would come some of the greatest literature of the twentieth century. At the time they were unknown, struggling, Oxford Dons bound together by a common love of Christ and literature.
|The Plaque at the Eagle and Child|
I was initially unimpressed. The pub was small, seating maybe fifty, un-remodeled, and looking probably just as it did fifty years ago. In one corner was a small plaque announcing that this was the table at which the “Inklings” routinely sat. My son-in-law and I grabbed a traditional English lunch, beef and potatoes, a pint of good English ale, and sat down to enjoy our meal at this revered table. A few minutes later a group of tourists arrived, headed for our corner, and began snapping pics, so we moved to another table.
Despite this it was a special day.
Christianity Today just published an article on the life of J.R.R. Tolkien. Anyone who has read his epic works will want to take a moment to read this important chronicle. It doesn’t discuss “The Inklings,” but compensates by detailing his love life, family, and some of the influences that produced “Middle Earth.”