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The Loss and the Silence

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Revision as of 16:12, 12 October 2012

The Loss and the Silence: Aspects of Modernism in the Works of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien & Charles Williams
The Loss and the Silence.png
AuthorMargaret Hiley
IllustratorMargaret Hiley (front cover)
PublisherWalking Tree Publishers
Released2 November 2011
SeriesCormarë Series
Preceded byThe Ecological Augury in the Works of JRR Tolkien
Followed byHobbit Place-names

The Loss and the Silence: Aspects of Modernism in the Works of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien & Charles Williams is a 2011 book investigating the topic of modernism in the writings of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Charles Williams. It is published as No. 22 in the Cormarë Series.


  • Introduction
  • Chapter One: Inklings and Modernists – Shared Contexts
    • The Modernist Movement
    • Inklings and Modernists: The Biographical Connections
    • Shared Literary Concerns
  • Chapter Two: War
    • Modern War, Modern Literature
    • Fantasy and War
    • The Inklings at War
    • Charles Williams, David Jones and the Matter of Britain
    • Celtic Literature of Defeat
    • Waste Lands
    • Bodies and Corpses
    • Heroes
    • War, Language and Liturgy
  • Chapter Three: History
    • Modernist Histories: Yeats's Historical Models
    • Fantastic Cycles: Tolkien's History of Middle-earth
    • Myth and History
    • Nationalist Histories
    • Escapes from History and Time
    • "Lateness"

From the publisher

Traditionally, the "Inklings" C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and Charles Williams have been seen as separate from the literature of their time: as innovative in an idiosyncratic way at best, and as reactionary and in deliberate opposition to contemporary progressive writing at worst. Recent years have seen a gradual change in this view, but few studies to date have attempted to read Lewis, Tolkien and Williams alongside their most famous contemporaries: the literary modernists.

This monograph represents the first full-length study to draw explicit and indepth comparisons between the Inklings and writers such as T.S. Eliot, W.B. Yeats, James Joyce, and David Jones among others. An examination of both thematic and structural concerns reveals a number of shared issues that go beyond mere responses to the cataclysmic events of the first half of the twentieth century. Myth as theme and structuring device, world-building as an attempt to render the author's subjective reality objective and authoritative, writing as an (unsuccessful) attempt to overcome the nightmare of history, and language as both the paradoxical means of creation and the reason creation must fail: these concerns and tensions are central to the works of both Inklings and modernists. In establishing that the works of Lewis, Tolkien and Williams contain aspects that can be termed 'modernist', this study also hopes to show that certain aspects of modernism might very well be termed "fantastic".

About the author

Margaret Hiley studied at the Universities of Regensburg and Glasgow, specialising in fantasy, science fiction and literary modernism. She has taught, lectured and published on these topics both in the UK and abroad. Since 2007 she has taught at the University Centre Peterborough, where she also coordinated the degree programmes in the Arts and Sciences before establishing a new career as an academic and literary translator. Please visit her website at for more information.

External links

Cormarë Series volumes
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