Hang around any bookstore or writer’s group for more than a few minutes and you are bound to hear something about the Inklings of Oxford. Why? Because the Inklings was a legendary writer’s group that gave birth to such masterpieces as The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia.
But there were more people in the Inklings than just C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien. Let’s take some time and meet a few of the lesser-known Inklings.
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Warren Lewis is best known for being the elder brother of C. S. Lewis, but he was also one of the founders of the Inklings of Oxford, a writer of French history, and secretary for his brother later in life.
Born in Ireland in 1895, Warren blazed a trail that his little brother would follow. When their mother died while the boys were still young, they clung to each other as their father grieved. Together, they imagined, wrote, and illustrated books on the fantasy world of Boxen.
Warren attended an English boarding school outside London, where his brother would join him, under the regime of a harsh headmaster.
After school, Warren joined the military and served for eighteen years, seeing service as a supply officer in WWI and traveling the globe. He retired as a captain in 1932, only to be called up again for service in WWII in 1939 where he served as a major.
At the end WWII, Warren took up residence with C. S. Lewis near Oxford, where they lived together until his younger brother’s death in 1963.
Warren renewed his Christianity in 1931 and was one of the major influences in bringing about his brother’s conversion. He enjoyed walking tours, writing French history (a lifelong passion of his), and quaffing ale at Inklings meetings.
C. S. Lewis described him as “my dearest and closest friend.” But Warren was more than just a friend. Ironically, though most people only know Warren Lewis as the brother of C. S. Lewis, the world would not know C. S. Lewis at all but for Warren, his life, and his influence.