The Lewis Legacy-Issue 69, Summer 1996
Notes and Quotes
The C.S. Lewis Foundation for Truth in Publishing
June 1, 1996
I am not either attacking or defending Evolution. I believe that Christianity can still be believed, even if Evolution is true.... Many who have been or are being moved towards Christianity by my books would be deterred by finding that I was connected with anti-Darwinism.... I can't help sharing a sort of glee with you about the explosion of poor old Piltdown: but I hope no one on the other side [creationists] will rush in and try to exploit it. We might lay ourselves open to very easy replies: (1) That the scientists have not yet been convicted of so many frauds as the Christians -- forged decretals, faked miracles, and all! (2) That they themselves have discovered their own frauds & published them. --C. S. Lewis, in a series of eight letters to anti-Darwinist Bernard Acworth. These letters are in the Wade Center collection, and have appeared in "C. S. Lewis on Creation and Evolution: The Acworth Letters, 1944-1960" by Gary Ferngren and Ronald Numbers, published in Perspectives on Science and the Christian Faith (March 1996) and CSL: Bulletin of the New York C. S. Lewis Society (July-August 1996).
For the latest about "poor old Piltdown," see p. 9!
Throughout this preface boys means boys and girls, and schoolmasters includes schoolmistresses. There is lots to be said for political or economic equality of the sexes: but the claim for grammatical equality of genders is an unmitigated nuisance which should be resisted wherever it is met. --C. S. Lewis, Preface to How Heathen Is Britain by B.C. Sandhurst (8 Nov. 1945).
English scholars disagree on the proper method of editing the works of a modern author. In brief, some insist on printing exactly what the author wrote regardless of whether it contains errors or not. Others maintain that an editor's job is to print what he thinks the author intended. My method has been that of the latter. --Walter Hooper, Preface to Selected Literary Essays, by C. S. Lewis, p. xvii.
The C. S. Lewis Book Club of Lynchburg met at Narnia [the Ribeiro family's woodland home] this past week. We finished Book 7 of The Pilgrim's Regress. What a profound experience and edifying example. (Your guide Finding the Landlord has been very helpful.) The facilitator for our book club, Rev. Ed Hopkins, is also owner of the new bookstore in town, called "Inklings." --Paulo Ribeiro, Lynchburg, VA
Thank you for your insights and your careful research into the handling of the writings of C. S. Lewis. As a student of literature and as a reader of Lewis' writings for the past twenty-four years (since I encountered The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe serialized in a Sunday school periodical), I am particularly concerned with possible inaccuracies and frauds in the Lewis canon. In at least one case, I sensed something was not quite right. After one reading of The Dark Tower, a book I received as a birthday present in 1983, I was troubled, because it simply did not "feel" as if the same person who wrote Perelandra and the Chronicles of Narnia wrote it. I don't suppose in our lifetime there is any chance that another scholar or group of scholars will be permitted to provide a new edition of the poems (and other altered writings) which is more faithful to Lewis' earlier published versions and authentic later revisions [if there are any]. If it were possible I would certainly be willing to volunteer to assist the project. (I think this is the first time I have found the copyright laws to be a frustrating obstacle.) I have ordered and received your volume on Pilgrim's Regress, which will be useful as I prepare a section of my dissertation for presentation to the New York C. S. Lewis Society in November. The presentation will be on "Pilgrimage in the Writings of C. S. Lewis" and will examine his use of traditional pilgrmage patterns in Pilgrim's Regress, The Great Divorce, and Surprised by Joy. I find my experiences presenting to that group to be a rewarding challenge, as most of them know Lewis far better than I -- and their responses and insights add much to the evening. --Charles Franklyn Beach, Nyack College