The Lewis Legacy-Issue 83, Winter 2000
From the Mailbag
The C.S. Lewis Foundation for Truth in Publishing
January 1, 2000
* Well, no sooner do I write to you than I get a new Lewis Legacy. I had
somehow not heard about "the announcement that there is post-1950 ink on the 1938 manuscript of the Dark Tower"! And so now, all of a sudden, the manuscript appears to have been written "circa 1958"! Beautiful. I suppose they have some evidence for the change in the estimated date.
I don't see how any informed reader can have a lot of confidence, anymore, that any posthumously-discovered Lewis works really are Lewis works -- which is a terrible situation. Consider my signature on the C. S. Lewis petition underlined.
--Tim Powers, San Bernardino, CA
* Have just finished reading -- nay, devouring Light in the Shadowlands.
Every footnote! Although I own and love several other books by you
(Creative Writing, Malarkey, Hoax), I had not quite realized the depth of
your Christian charity, specifically in the light of the shameless ad
hominem attacks you have endured from supporters of Mr. Hooper -- twenty years or more. I'd like to thank you specifically for opening my eyes to the spiritual importance of understanding fraud: the desire to hoodwink, the comfort of deception, the passion to undeceive. Am I wrong in understanding that the Lewis Legacy Online (http://www.discover.org/lewis/lewisleagcy.html) has not been updated since Spring 1998? I am interested in learning what news there may be. Has anyone connected with the Lewis estate responded in a forthright manner? Did the petition--signed by so many literary worthies--go completely ignored?
In Christ, our Light in the Shadowlands
* You were discussing Hawthorne's influence on C. S. Lewis. I just
discovered a delightful quote in They Stand Together. After reading House
of Seven Gables Lewis wrote: "I intend to read all Hawthorne after this.
What a pity such a genius should be a beastly American!"
--Doug Beyer, Dodge City, KA (temporary)
* Your book "Lion of Judah in Never-Never Land" was, years ago, my first
introduction to C.S. Lewis. Wandering through the library at random, how
could I turn away from a title like that? That was the beginning of a
lifetime, joyful addiction. My happiest and most educational times have
been reading Lewis' many books and articles. I recently introduced my 14
year old son to the Narnia series and he has absconded with all 7 volumes from my library. So two generations of my family thank you.
--William D. Calhoun, e-mail
* Walter [Hooper] remains intractable in opposing publication of [Owen
Barfield's] great unpublished novel English People and his late ecological
novel Eager Spring.
--John Docherty, Forest Row, Sussex
* In Arthur C. Clarke's latest book, Greetings, Carbon-Based Bipeds!
Collected Esssays 1934-1998, he mentions (in an essay titled "Dunsany, Lord of Fantasy"), "As I take farewell of Lord Dunsany, I am happy to report
that our correspondence has recently been located and will soon be
published, together with my much more extensive exchange of letters with C. S. Lewis. I have not seen it for decades and fear that some embarrassments await."
He mentions Lewis and his writings with great admiration several times in the book. In an article titled "Credo", Clarke writes: "Let me offer an
analogy, based on a conversation I once had with C. S. Lewis. We science fiction writers are always picking each other's brain, and Lewis asked me what the horizon would look like (ignoring atmospheric absorption) on a really enormous planet -- one not thousands, but millions, of kilometers in radius."
And in an essay titled "Aspects of Science Fiction": "Nothing could be more ridiculous, therefore, than the accusation sometimes made against science fiction that it is merely escapist. That charge can indeed be made against much fantasy -- but so what? There are times (this century has provided a more than ample supply) when some form of escape is essential, and any art form that supplies it is not to be despised. And as C. S. Lewis (creator of both superb science fiction and fantasy) once remarked to me: 'Who are the people most opposed to escapism? Jailors!'" C. S. Lewis had made national TV again... Tonight, on the popular game show "The New Hollywood Squares", one of the questions was "C. S. Lewis wrote a popular children's book with the title, The Lion, the Witch, and the... what? The guest celebrity, the comedienne Caroline Rhea, answered something like, "Oh, I know that one, and it's the greatest book in the world! The Wardrobe!" The contestant agreed with her and won the square. Right after that, CSL started spinning very rapidly in his final resting place.
--Perry Bramlett, Louisville, KY