Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

"Is everything sad going to come untrue?": The Inklings' Mystery of Joy and the Postmodern Mind
by Bordelon, Claire Elizabeth, Ph.D., University of Louisiana at Lafayette, 2016, 215; 10163315
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation examines the work of four members of the group of twentieth-century intellectuals collectively known as the Inklings: Charles Williams, Owen Barfield, C.S. Lewis, and J.R.R. Tolkien. In this inquiry, the Inklings are separated from their traditional characterization as modernists and recast as significant participants and useful points of discussion in the philosophy of postmodernism. Beginning with an examination of the romantic roots of modern fantasy in general, this dissertation discusses the ways in which seven principles of romanticism were adopted first by George MacDonald, an influential figure in modern fantasy, and then passed forward to the Inklings themselves. Having established the link between modern fantasy and romanticism, this inquiry discusses the ways in which this inherited romantic vision encapsulates an essential joyfulness that the Inklings will then develop in both their critical and creative texts. This joyfulness becomes the foundation of the Inklings’ participation in a process of re-mystification that in turn connects them to the postmodernists’ quest to counter the de-mystifying impulse of modernism. While the Inklings seek to re-enchant the codified realities of the modernist, their inherent system of joy, connected both implicitly and explicitly to their understanding of Christianity and, in Tolkien’s case, Roman Catholicism, creates a more consistent process of re-mystification than the postmodernist, who eventually becomes what he most denies and falls prey to the same process of codification and organization that he sought to overcome. The Inklings’ Christian sensibilities allow a comfort with mystery that preserves them from the impulse to counter attacks of childishness, foolishness, and the danger of not understanding which will eventually become the downfall of the postmodernist.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Geer, Jennifer
Commitee: Vaught, Jennifer, Wilson, Mary Ann
School: University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Department: English
School Location: United States -- Louisiana
Source: DAI-A 78/04(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Literature, British and Irish literature
Keywords: Barfield, Owen, Christian joy, Inklings, Lewis, C.S., Postmodernism, Tolkien, J. R. R.
Publication Number: 10163315
ISBN: 9781369180077
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