Friday, March 15, 2013

The C.S. Lewis and Inklings Society Conference

Once again, with Easter on the horizon, it’s time for another C.S. Lewis and Inklings Conference. This is their 16th annual gathering, and the sixth I’ve attended. This time, the conference is being hosted by Le Tourneau University in Longview, Texas, during the weekend of 21–23 March 2013, with variations on the theme, “Fairytales in the Age of iPads: Inklings, Imagination, and Technology”. If I still lived in Dallas, this would have been the closest one yet — only a two-hour drive. But since I’ve moved to Washington, it’s now the furthest one yet.

But I had to attend. Not only is it a wonderful event, a chance to see old friends, and a chance to return to Dallas to see a completely different set of old friends, but — and I’ll try to feign some decorum and an appropriate sense of modest embarrassment at this — I’ve won their first prize for best scholar essay again. That’s right. Best in Show four years in a row, every year, in fact, that the prize has been given. So I simply couldn’t refuse the honor. :)

For anyone who might be in the area, it’s not too late to join us. Dr. Ralph Wood is the guest of honor and will be giving two plenary speeches, one of C.S. Lewis and one on J.R.R. Tolkien. The rest of the schedule (somewhat abbreviated here; follow this link for the whole thing) looks to be just as good. And by the way, my vote for best paper title definitely goes to “The Palantír Stones as Sauron’s Social Media: How to Avoid Getting Poked by the Dark Lord”. Bravo!


Film: The Fellows Hip: Rise of the Gamers


Plenary Session 1
Dr. Ralph Wood, Professor of Theology & Literature, Baylor University
“A Long Obedience in the Right Direction: J.R.R. Tolkien on Adventures and Quests”

Section A: Inklings and Social Technology
“Electric Fairy Tales: The Importance of Mythopoetic Thought in the Age of New Media”, Jeremy Johnson, Goddard College
“The Palantír Stones as Sauron’s Social Media: How to Avoid Getting Poked by the Dark Lord”, Philip Fitzsimmons, Southwestern Oklahoma State University
“Is There Death in the [iPad]? The Influence of iPads on Us as Sub-Creators”, Joshua Boyd, Baylor University

Section B: Inklings and Film
The Fellows Hip: Rise of the Gamers — An Adaptor’s View of Tolkien Adaptation”, Cole Matson, University of St. Andrews
“Divine Intervention, CGI, and the Mythopoeic Aesthetic in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings Trilogy”, Jim Stockton, Boise State University
“Whiner or Warrior? Susan Pevensie’s Role in Novel and Film Versions of The Chronicles of Narnia”, Dr. Eleanor Hersey Nickel, Fresno Pacific University


Plenary Session 2
Dr. Ralph Wood, Professor of Theology & Literature, Baylor University
“C.S. Lewis and Theosis: The Christian Life as Divinization in The Great Divorce

Section C: Myth and Modern Life
“Tales from Eternity: Fairy Tales as ‘Equipment for Living’”, Dr. William Epperson, Oral Roberts University
“The Gold is God’s, Wherever It Is Found: An Augustinian Reading of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Poem ‘Mythopoeia’”, Jeremy Larson, Baylor University
“Lev Grossman’s The Magicians: Narnia Under Fire?”, Dr. Amanda Himes, John Brown University

Section D: Technology, Creation, and Consumption
“Men, Machine, and Mortality in Dorothy L. Sayers The Nine Taylors”, Denise Galloway Crews, Baylor University
“Tinkering with the God in the Machine: Technology and Consumption in The Lord of the Rings”, Corbin Lockmiller, University of Texas, Arlington
“Techne — to Create or Destroy: J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings — the New iPhone 5”, Dr. Harvey Solganick, The College at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Section E: Education, Reading, and Modernity in C.S. Lewis
“Not a Tame Lewis: Towards Putting Lewis into Conversation with Postmodernism”, Michael Muth, Wesleyan College
“The Abolition and Preservation of Man”, Dr. David Rozema, University of Nebraska at Kearney
“C.S. Lewis on Self Transcendence Through Reading”, Aaron Cassidy, Texas Woman’s University

Section F: The Mind, the Soul, and the
“The Mind Plays Tricks: Remembering God with C.S. Lewis and St. Augustine”, David Smith, Baylor University
“Representations of the Tripartite Soul in Lewis’s Space Trilogy”, Dr. Hayden Head, College of the Ozarks
“‘The Shadow Knows’: The Doppelganger as a Literary Motif in the Works of George MacDonald and J.R.R. Tolkien”, Dr. Mark Hall, Oral Roberts University

Section G: Myth and Allegory
“Mythical Fact: C.S. Lewis’s Ideas on Mythology”, Sarah Clower, Hardin-Simmons University
“Orual’s Bildungsroman Through a Myth Retold in C.S. Lewis’s Till We Have Faces”, Ashley Simpson, Hardin-Simmons University
“Pattern of Leaves: Eucatastrophe and Allegory in Tolkien”, Carley Robinson, LeTourneau University


Paper Contest Awards


Section H: Tales about the Tellers
“Lindskoog vs. Hooper (Part I)”, Dr. Joe R. Christopher, Tarleton State University
“C.S. Lewis’s Intense Dislike of T.S. Eliot: Truth or Fiction?”, Dr. Janice Brown, Grove City College

Section I: Tolkien as Philologist and Illustrator
“J.R.R. Tolkien: The Foolhardy Philologist”, Jason Fisher, Independent Scholar
“An Illustrious Illustrator: J.R.R. Tolkien as Artist and Calligrapher”, Kathryne Hall, Oral Roberts University

Section J: C.S. Lewis on Will, Emotion and Reason
“C.S. Lewis’s The Abolition of Man and Sylvan Tompkin’s Script Theory Psychology”, Dr. Larry E. Fink, Hardin-Simmons University
“Self Will and Emotion in Five of C.S. Lewis’s Works”, Rachel Bales, Hardin-Simmons University
“C.S. Lewis and the Art of Courtly Love”, Dr. Salwa Khoddam, Oklahoma City University

Section K: Tempation and Repentance
“Meeting the Best of Knowledge: The Spiritual Fate of Male and Female Academics in Two Novels of Charles Williams”, Dr. Keith Dorwick, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette
“The Psychology of Screwtape”, Kayla Hastings, Hardin-Simmons University
“Mr. Vane and Lilith: Two Roads to Repentance?”, Dr. Jonathan Himes, John Brown University

Section L: Inklings and The Environment
“Tom Bombadil and Treebeard: The Adaptation of Medieval Concepts of Nature in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings”, Dawn Martin, LeTourneau University
“The Green Mystic: Tolkien's Otherworldly Love of Trees”, Felipe Vogel, LeTourneau University
“George MacDonald and Ecology”, David L. Neuhouser, Taylor University


  1. Will the proceedings be published online? If so, when and where? Keep us posted!

  2. It’s entirely possible, John. This conference has produced two collections thus far. One was assembled from highlights of its first ten years; the other was essentially a proceedings of the 2010 conference (though never so called). Both were published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing, and I imagine they’d be interested in another in the series. If you’re interested in links to the first two, let me know. Otherwise, yes, I’ll definitely keep you posted!

  3. Good news that the proceedings may be available; also congratulations re: your award. No need to be embarrassed! Quality always sells, they say :)

  4. Congratulations on the award. You deserved every bit of it.

    The conference sounds great. What a pity I can't make it.

  5. Thanks, Saranna and Cirdan! I’ll report back on it, probably late next week.