Bandersnatch: A Review

     Recently, I had the pleasure of reading Bandersnatch by Diana Pavlac Glyer, a professor of mine and a mind I admire greatly. The short review: the book did not disappoint. Bandersnatch
 takes its title from a quote of CS Lewis' on his friend, JRR Tolkien: "No one ever influenced Tolkien. You may has well try to influence a Bandersnatch." Glyer argues that Lewis not only influenced Tolkien, but was one of the greatest forces behind the completion of The Lord of the Rings. Beyond that, she argues that collaborative creativity is the key to the success of the Inklings (the group of scholars and writers Tolkien and Lewis belonged to and founded). The book is brilliantly orchestrated and makes its points clearly; every concept is readily applicable for the creative mind.
     However, I believe that the strength of the book lies partially in the completeness of the picture it paints. Glyer not only praises the Inklings for their creative collaboration, but also alerts the readers to reasons the Inklings were less effective than they could have been. An example of this is Hugo Dyson's discouragement regarding the completion of LOTR; this discouragement, to some extent, corrupted the pureness of the Inklings' creative environment. In addition to showing strengths and weaknesses, Glyer also shows the reader that the Inklings are a case study. Anyone engaging in any sort of creative work can engage in what the Inklings did. As a musician as well as writer, I knew creating in community was more effective than creating alone, but I immediately shouted "YES!" (silently, in my head) when I finally understood why it works so much better than the creative lone wolf. The wolf devours its own work, its own confidence, and does not know when it has hit upon the right trail. Actually, wolf may be the wrong analogy. Perhaps, in fact, it is the lone Bandersnatch. 
     If you create, you should read Bandersnatch. If you have ever wanted to create, you should read Bandersnatch. If you do not speak English, you should attempt it anyway.