Good Company

There’s been a small flurry of new reviews by people who love Diana’s book about the Inklings, The Company They Keep.

John Adcox drew comparisons with Humphrey Carpenter’s group biography:

Glyer’s book makes a wonderful companion to Carpenter’s more well known volume, and stands very well on its own. Carpenter’s book is a biography; Glyer’s is an examination of the very significant ways in which, as a community, the Inkings challenged, inspired, influenced, and supported one another. The Company The Keep is a terrific and insightful read.

Jason Fisher said kind things about the book, beginning with this observation about the paperback edition:

This says a lot, actually; most books on Tolkien, Lewis, and the Inklings never get a second printing, or never go from hardcover to soft.

He also praised David Bratman’s contributions:

The appendix and index by David Bratman are, collectively, a work of art, ne plus ultra. Would be bibliographers and indexers should take them as a model.

Steve Hayes came away from The Company They Keep impressed with the value of artistic communities and convinced can be even more readily organized in the age of the internet:

In many ways we have it much easier than the original Inklings. When they read their writings to each other seventy years ago, they did not have the benefit of word processors or even photocopiers. They read from hand-written manuscripts which they brought to meetings stuffed in jacket pockets. But they also lived close to one another, and could meet face to face.

Now we have the Internet, and even if there are no likeminded friends within visiting distance, it should be possible to find people with similar literary interests with almost the whole world open to us. Distance is no longer a barrier.

Hear Diana’s Interview

When Diana was in Wheaton a few weeks ago to do scholarly research at the Marion E. Wade Center a local radio station contacted her for an interview. Diana couldn’t praise the host enough afterwards for making that such an fun experience:

Enter Joy Curry, host of the morning show at WETN, 88.1 FM and  She’s got a voice built for radio: lively, versatile, thoughtful, quick, sparkling. I talked with her on the air this morning, and she did everything right.

Now their talk about C.S. Lewis, and J.R.R. Tolkien, and creativity, and community is available on the WETN website.

New, Improved

HarperOne has revamped its C. S. Lewis website where over 20 top Lewis scholars and writers offer original insights about the author’s stories, theology, and world.

Currently featured on the front page of the new site are the leads of three posts by Michael Ward, David Downing and (hooray!) Diana Glyer, with links to the full text at at the forerunner site. Diana’s post about “C. S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and the Inklings” begins:

There’s a rumor going around that C. S. Lewis was an irritable introvert, isolated and lonely and scared to death of girls. Maybe it all comes from some grim stereotype of smart people or college professors or, maybe, published writers. That whole image is completely wrong.

You should also know that Lewis, like all self-respecting authors, now has his own official Facebook group.

[Thanks to Diana Glyer for the story.]

Where Another Real Writer Worked

Diana stayed at The Kilns, C.S. Lewis’s home, when she visited Oxford in February. Her photo of Lewis’s desk, taken in the wintry daylight pouring through the window of the common room, has been posted on the C.S. Lewis Foundation’s blog together with a poem it inspired Malcolm Guite to quote.

This desk is one of the places where Lewis wrote the Narnia books. You can see how cluttered it is with artifacts, preserving the way his work space actually looked.

That’s why the photo reminded me of – and genuinely belongs to — that set of pictures of well-known writers’ messy offices I collected in “Where Real Writers Work.”

A Pooch at Oxford

Diana has been on a two-week visit to Oxford, staying in C.S. Lewis’s former home, the Kilns, and spending her days burrowing into the Bodleian manuscript collection.

Sierra dispatched a LittlePetShop toy dog named Sally to England with Diana to share the adventure. Tonight I’ll show Sierra all the incredibly cute photos of Sally enjoying the trip – including these:

Sally at the library

Sally at the library.

Sally admiring the gargoyles

Sally admiring the architecture of Oxford.

Sally trying to sneak into the Oxford Union

Sally trying to sneak into the Oxford Union.

Sally on the no 9 bus to Risinghurst

Sally on the number 9 bus to Risinghurst.

Sierra Preps for Mythcon

Diana Glyer and James A. Owen

James A. Owen autographing Sierra and friend with their favorite books

Diana will be Scholar GoH at Mythcon 40, which takes place July 17-20 on the UCLA campus in Los Angeles.

By happy coincidence, she was able to meet Mythcon’s Author GoH, James A. Owen, when he did a signing of his new book The Indigo King at nearby Vroman’s Bookstore on January 19.

Owen is well-known as the artist and writer of the independent comic book Starchild, and of the young adult fantasy Here, There Be Dragons, first novel in the Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica.

Diana got Owen to autograph her copy of The Search for the Red Dragon, second in the series, which he did with a flourish – adding below his name a beautifully-sketched dragon’s head, in red ink.

Sierra went on that adventure with her mother and as you can see, she found a little friend willing to compare notes with her about their favorite books.

Disney Leaves Before Dawn

Disney Studios won’t be a partner in the third Narnia movie, Voyage of the Dawn Treader, industry sources revealed this week.

Getting a new partner to take on half the risk could prove a challenge for Walden given that “Prince Caspian” fell below expectations when it was released in May. The film generated $419 million in worldwide ticket sales, far less than the first “Narnia” movie, “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” which grossed $745 million in 2005.

As in the case of many films, “Prince Caspian” did not earn its money back from ticket sales. But Disney and Walden hope it will become profitable as the result of DVD sales.

Count me in as someone else who hopes they sell a bazillion copies of Prince Caspian. Why? Last July, Diana appeared on-camera at the request of film-makers who are preparing extra feature material for an educational edition of the Prince Caspian DVD, aimed at teachers who want to use the movie in the classroom. The higher profile the commercial release has, the likelier people will be to think of it as a classroom resource.

During the July filming they interviewed her Diana for two hours. They found things going so well that at times the crew forgot the script and became totally caught up in what they were talking about. The camera man and make-up artist told Diana they wanted to go back to school, it was all so interesting.

Ask Father Christmas for This

C.S. Lewis as SantaJust added to Bruce Edwards’ C.S. Lewis-themed blog is “A Christmas Gift Guide for Those Who Love Jack.” On his list of 10 items is the new paperback of The Company They Keep by Diana Glyer ($19.80; pb. Kent State University Press, 2007).

A towering, magnificent work on the Inklings that peers behind the curtain of Lewis and Tolkien’s personal and writing relationships…

This is just the kind of holiday shopping hint that warms our hearts here at File 770 headquarters. I should have suggested it first!