CS Lewis Web
The Lewis Legacy-Issue 76, Spring 1998
From the Mailbag
By: Kathryn Lindskoog
The C.S. Lewis Foundation for Truth in Publishing
March 1, 1998

From the Mailbag

* There's a 1 June 1951 reference in Brothers and Friends to Warren visiting Gervase Mathew at Blackfriars in Oxford, admiring the chapel but not knowing that it was Dominican. He thought it was Benedictine. If Mathew had been in the Inklings since 1939 or 1940, as Hooper indicates in The Dark Tower, wouldn't you think Warren would have realised which order the man was in? Mathew suffered from emphysema for several years and died in April 1976. The Dark Tower was published in February 1977. I find the 1977 claim about Mathew invalid. --E. Shyaty, England

* Is it true that Douglas Gresham is a member of Jehovah's Witnesses? I found his name in a list of JW members on Internet. --Name Withheld

Editor's reply: Douglas H. Gresham of Ireland is on that list, but he may be there in error. Doug is an outspoken Christian who does not reveal his current affiliation. Like JWs, he abjures all standard churches and reportedly avoids visiting both Catholic and Protestant services when he travels; yet he says he attends church "religiously." He leads "Rathvinden Ministries" in his home.

* Nancy Cole must realize by now that she was backing the wrong horse. Her move is to distance herself from the Mattson [C. S. Lewis Foundation] camp and get on with her life. Hooper's shift of position in Companion and Guide may be an important crack in the dike. But who knows what it will take for Hooper's dark tower of lies to go nonlinear. --Brenda Griffing, Lakeland, FL

* If, as Doug Gresham claims, the proposed $560 one-volume limited edition of the Narnian Chronicles is going to appreciate greatly in value, why won't HarperCollins publish it without a certain number of purchasers registering in advance? HarperCollins might as well publish the limited edition, save the books until their value increases, and make all the profit themselves. --Name Withheld

* I have read "Kipling's World" in They Asked for a Paper. One of Kipling's characters mentioned there is McPhee. Lewis says the reason he finds Kipling so suffocating to read in large doses is that every story is about inner rings, which Lewis disapproves of in general. This is a strike against The Dark Tower, which is about an inner ring and casts it in a favorable light. Is The Dark Tower written only on one side of each sheet of paper? Since CSL was so frugal and it was supposedly written during the great depression, I would have thought that he would have as a matter of course used both sides of the paper. -James Long, Sunnyvale, CA

Editor's reply: Indeed, the Dark Tower manuscript that Walter Hooper made public in 1989 is written on one side only.

* The Lewis Legacy remains consistently readable and informative. I don't know what publishing plans you have for the future. Obviously a new updated edition of Light in the Shadowlands (including an all important index!) would be great news. However, another very useful item would be some sort of handbook on the "posthumous" writings of C. S. Lewis. This could consist of a few pages on each article -- with information on provenance, content, and its status. I, for one, would wish to order quite a few copies. --George Gorniak, Grayswood, Surrey

* David Holbrook, author of the Freudian book Skeleton in the Wardrobe, was a student of F. R. Leavis at Cambridge, with whom CSL had spirited literary battles, and I'd bet my mortgage that his hostility to Lewis is grounded in hero worship for his own mentor... How Freudian can you get? --Perry Bramlett, Louisville, KY

* I never read more than a chapter of The Dark Tower, simply because -- not knowing about the "hoax"-- I thought it was very badly written, completely uncharacteristic of Lewis. --Robert Gregg, Ft. Lauderdale, FL

* Most publishers these days are greedy and mendacious idiots; when it comes to Lewis, he is seen as a "cash-cow" whom they will milk as much as possible but for whom (and for whose readers) they have ignorant contempt. "And so the world goes on, to good malignant, to bad men benign" (Milton, Paradise Lost). --Name Withheld

* C. S. Lewis seems to have rarely signed letters with Jack, using instead either C. S. Lewis or just his initials, C. S. L. In the first edition copy of The Problem of Pain which he gave to Barfield (now in the Edwin J. Brown collection at Taylor University), the salutation of the accompanying letter is "My dear Barfield," and the signature is "C. S. Lewis". On the other hand, in my copy of the 1950 reprint of Dymer, he wrote, "To Owen Barfield from Jack Lewis". I've seen only a miniscule sample of Lewis's letters and signed books over the years, but among all that I have seen, "Jack" was used only a few times. --Ed Brown, Indianapolis, IN

* I've been re-reading Lord of the Rings and noted a few correlations with Lewis's Narnian books. Here are three examples: 1. "Bree was the chief village" (Tolkien) "...can I call you Bree?" (Lewis) 2. "Wanderers in the shadowed land" (Tolkien) "...as you used to call it in the Shadowlands" (Lewis) 3. "...to the ford of Bruinen" (Tolkien) "...at the ford of Beruna" (Lewis) We also find a Dark Tower in Lord of the Rings: "The Dark Tower had been rebuilt..." --Jonathan Brewer, Cornwall, England

* I was quite pleased to see the piece on the young Lewises and the construction of the Olympic and Titanic. Reading about these sights and sounds really helped bring their youth to life. A. L. Rowse sounds like the sort of "crusty teacher, whom everyone is a little afraid of and everyone makes fun of and nobody really dislikes." --Gracia Fay Ellwood, Altadena, CA