Walter Hooper’s C.S. Lewis: Companion and Guide $40
This 940-page volume from Harper-San Francisco is the first by Hooper that does not lead off with his fictitious secretaryship and/or deep friendship with Lewis. Instead, the book flaps identify Hooper as an eminent Lewis scholar, a trustee of his estate, and editor of Letters of C. S. Lewis (the collection originally edited by Warren Lewis). In CSL James Como says that if Hooper were British, this book “would merit him a knighthood.”
ln his enthusiastic section on The Dark Tower (pp. 215-219), Hooper identifies the shoddy story as “an ingenious fragment.” He quotes some key passages including the attack on “modern” women. He does not quote at all from Chapter 7, which tests out as the only part of the story written by Lewis.
From the Mailbag
I was amazed to see on page 7 of the latest Legacy the name “Cleaver Keenan.” Cleaver looked after Mary when Rod was born in Swadlincote. He was our family doctor and a very important part of our church when I was in the ministry there. I knew he had gone to Canada. He was like a whirlwind, of tremendous energy. Somewhere we have a photo of his wife. I remember their telling about experiences in Sierra Leone.Ian Macmurdo, Leicester, England
Just finished your book Fakes, Frauds, and Other Malarkey. Thoroughly enjoyed it! The first few chapters were so humorous that my wife said I could not read it in bed as my laughing kept her awake! I am a member of the Toastmasters Club and if you don’t object would like to use some of the stories when giving humorous talks at out local club.Darvin Weakley, Beaver, AR
When I bought Light in the Shadowlands last week I did not know it was an update of Hoax. At first I was a little disappointed because I already have Hoax, which gave me all the proof I need. However, as I read those things which have happened since Hoax, I was amazed that there is still a controversy. Your case is so thorough and strong. Money or power seems to be at the heart of the deception. Personally, I will never buy a book with Hooper as the editor or author. I will never, never read The Dark Tower. Lewis speaks to me as no other Christian writer ever has. A Grief Observed ministered to me in a difficult time. I cannot believe it was made up. And A Severe Mercy is among my favorite books. You have a mission, Mrs. Lindskoog. History will be your witness. Don’t give up.Nancy Carter McGough, Calgary, BC
A few weeks ago I was reading Thomas Harris’s I’m OK, You’re OK, an extension of the Transactional Analysis framework first described in Eric Berne’s Games People Play, and was pleased to read “It has been said that love is not gazing at each other, but looking outward together in the same direction’…”I am sure it comes from The Four Loves. Yes?Jonathan Brewer, Cornwall, England
I may be completely off-base here, but the reason the Home Office wanted to send Joy Gresham back to America may not have been as politically motivated as Doug Gresham and Robert Sellers suspect. I am an American who lived in England and was made to understand that, like many countries, the government is very wary of anyone from another country who might arrive on its shores and become a burden to the State. I had to prove to them that I had the financial resources to live and work there for a year without going on the dole. It was up to the discretion of the Home Office to decide whether or not I could stay on past that year. (My wife and I returned to America before the issue arose.) Perhaps it was different in the 50’s, but it seems to me that the Home Office was probably concerned about Joy who was a single Mom with two children who had no obvious means of income. The decision not to renew her visa and to force her to leave was probably a practical one and had little to do with her political affiliations. Of course, I may be wrong. One can never be sure with governments in any situation. A side-note: when Dietrich Bonhoeffer studied in the United States from 1930-31, he and fellow-student Jean Lasserre took a trip to Mexico from New York. They very nearly weren’t allowed back into the United States by the Immigration Officials at the border for fear that they were sneaking in to rob Americans of work. It required the intervention of the German Ambassador in Mexico and a telegram from Paul Lehman at Union Seminary to assure the powers-that-be that Dietrich and Jean indeed had tickets to return to their respective countries and wouldn’t be a burden to the depressed labor market in America. Again, it wasn’t politics, it was mere practicality.Paul McCusker, Colorado Springs, CO
One correction I could make to an item in the summer Legacy. There was much talk about casting Tom Hanks in the lead role in “Primary Colors,” but when he was offered the role, he turned it down.Wendell Wagner, Greenbelt, MD
Timur is a student I met over a year ago in the English Library that I was working in. We got to know each other but not closely until around Christmas last year when he started to visit me at my house more often. Most of the foreign English teachers in this country have avoided the largest university, his university, for the political problems there. A few years ago the students protested against the government and the police became involved, killing at least 20. Since then all the missionaries have avoided the school (which has over 30,000 students). Timur helped me start an English Club on that campus.
Through this work we became better friends and he began to ask many questions about Christ and Christianity. Gradually he met students in my group from our church and for the first time he was confronted with people who had left Islam to follow Christ. Timur, named after the famed Amir Timur, or Tamerlane, is now a solid Christian believer in a Muslim country.
I introduced him to some Lewis books that have been translated to Russian, among those Mere Christianity. When he saw the name “Clive Staples Lewis,” as it is written in Russian, he said, “I’ve read some other books by this man.” After some discussion I discovered that he had the entire Russian Narnia Chronicles at home and that his family had read them, including his cousins!
All of this has taken place this year in Central Asia, more specifically Tashkent which to my knowledge is the namesake of Tash in The Last Battle. One of the most anti-Christian lands on earth became a theme for C.S. Lewis to use in his Chronicles of Narnia, and now the Chronicles are read there.Name Withheld, as from Tashkent
I have just sent the Narnia video series to a Roman Catholic nun I correspond with in Calcutta, a Lewis fan. She like me is also a Scott Peck fan.Cleaver Keenan, Espana, Ontario
A friend of mine is looking for the source of a C. S. Lewis quotation: “Prayer does not prepare us for the great work: prayer is the great work.”Vickie Danielsen, Englewood, CO
News and Views
Sheldon Vanauken, author of A Severe Mercy, was diagnosed with cancer at the end of summer and died 28 October. He was a friend of Lewis’s and will be sorely missed by many friends and Lewis enthusiasts.
MYTHCON 1997 at Pepperdine University, Malibu CA., 8-11 August: “J.R.R. Tolkien, the Achievement of His Literary Life.”
MYTHCON 1998 at the Wade Center in Wheaton IL, 8-13 August: “C.S. LEWIS: A CENTENARY CELEBRATION.” This promises to be a memorable event.
Over forty books about Lewis and his writing are reportedly scheduled for release by the end of his centennial in 1998.
C. S. Lewis: Writer, Dreamer and Mentor by Lionel Adey (professor emeritus, University of Victoria) is in preparation at Eerdmans.
Testimonials sought by Dr. Phillip G. Rykan of Wheaton College about the role C. S. Lewis played in your conversion or pilgrimage, for a book he is writing -Leland.Ryken@wheaton.edu
Narnia on the Undernet: IRC chats Mondays and Wednesdays from 3 to 5p.m. and 9 to 12 p.m. EST. If you don’t know how to use IRC or Undernet, contact your system administrator or go to http:www.undernet.org.
In the Steps of C. S. Lewis tour, 3-12 June 1997, $3000. Meet George Sayer, Douglas Gresham, Walter Hooper; see the Bodleian, the Kilns, Magdalen College, the Bird and Baby, Holy Trinity, etc. For information contact Will Vaus, 17 Gidding Court, Irmo, SC 29063. Phone or Fax 803-749-3688.
C. S. Lewis: Mere Christian (Harold Shaw, 1987) has been out ofprint for several years, and Cornerstone Press Chicago intends to releas ea new, updated edition in 1997.
Hooper’s Hooch is the name of a popular new alcoholic beverage in Britain. It comes in cans and is one of the new “alcopops” aimed at the youth market.
STOP AND SHOP
The Politics of Revelation and Reason: Religion and Civic Life in the New Nation by John West (University Press of Kansas, 1996) is an especially handsome and timely volume that sheds light on the controversial subject of church/state relations, for readers who want scholarship rather than polemic. Heavily documented, but highly readable. West examines Christian political activism from 1800 to 1835, focusing on evangelical challenges to such questionable practices as Cherokee removal, the delivery of Sunday mail, and dueling. West is an assistant professor of political science at Seattle Pacific University and a senior fellow of the Discovery Insitute, where he directs the Program on Religion, Liberty, and Civic Life. In that capacity he is starting a C.S. Lewis Web Page.
Body, Soul, and Bioethics by Gilbert Meilaender (Notre Dame Press,$21.95). Moral discourse about the metaphyical and religious aspects of bioethics.
Creative Writing for People Who Can’t Not Write by Kathryn Lindskoog is in its fifth printing by Zondervan. Chapter 10 is titled “C.S. Lewis’s Free Advice to Hopeful Writers.” Available through bookstores or from Lindskoog directly. $18.95.
NOTES AND QUOTES
I was glad to have Warren Hamilton Lewis as a friend during the last nine years of his life, visiting with him frequently when I was in England and carrying on correspondence with him. I found him a man of the “old school,” a gentleman in a sense almost unknown in our time. He, like his famous brother C. S. Lewis, was a lover of the best in music, in literature and in art and architecture. This love was direct and intimate, a necessity to right living rather than an added-on “culture.” Like his brother, he had a never-failing sense of right conduct, a sense that remained intact in spite of his well-known problem with alcohol. Warren had a Christian experience not unlike his brother’s. And again like his brother he was basically a kind-hearted man.Clyde S. Kilby, 1975 letter to Lindskoog
Granted, the contemplation of the sick and ugly side of life is disconcerting and unpleasant. Our task is to recognize what is there, however, and then bring the healing beam of God’s presence into it. What we refuse to see can never be healed by the light we have been given.Morton T. Kelsey
Integrity is not integrity unless it forces you at times to stand up against what everybody else is saying. If you always end up, just by coincidence, doing the popular thing, that’s a pretty clear sign that you lack integrity. Integrity requires you to risk something. You have to have something at stake, something you can lose. You can’t live a life of integrity unless you are sometimes willing to stand up and say “I know all of my friends believe this,” or, “My society believes this. But I believe something entirely different, and here it is; take your best shot.” It’s so much easier to sit back. It’s exhausting to stand up when people criticize you and when you are viewed as odd. but that’s precisely when integrity is tested.”Stephen Carter, author of Integrity, as interviewed by Michael Cromartie in Books and Culture, May/June 1996
Books may preach when the Author cannot, when the Author may not, when the Author dares not. Yea, what is much more, when the Author is not.Thomas Brooks, 1654
Footsteps of Skocal
In a special spring 1996 issue of the leading North American journal of cultural studies, Social Text (a publication of Duke University Press), a New York University physicist named Alan Sokal published a scholarly article titled “Transgressing the Boundaries: Toward a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity.” Like other articles in this esoteric branch of academia, the article was heavily documented and written in impenetrable prose. It was a call “to demystify and democratize the production of scientific knowledge.”
Sokal’s article argued against the idea that there is an external and knowable world. Even physics, he assured readers, was simply another field of cultural criticism. “In quantum gravity, as we shall see, the space-time manifold ceases to exist as an objective physical reality; geometry becomes relational and contextual; and the foundational conceptual categories of prior science — among them existence itself — become problemaized and relativized. This conceptual revolution, I will argue, has profound implications for the content of a future post-modern and liberatory science.”
Sokal referred to “the crisis of late-capitalist production relations. “His article was eagerly accepted by a powerful little group of political academics who currently present themselves as the true theorists of the”academic left.” (Sokal’s real political sympathies happen to be left of center.)
Once his article was published, Sokal announced in Lingua Franca that it was all a parody of the nonsensical gibberish and jargon that pass for “progressive” thought in Social Text. The spoof ended up on the first page of the New York Times.
After the humiliating expose, Stanley Fish, a prominent English professor and executive director of Duke University Press, charged that Alan Sokal is a threat to “intellectual standards.” (Thanks to R. O. Evans.)
Footsteps of Molesworth
Who’s Who in Library Service, 4th ed., 1966, included an entry for Nigel Molesworth, born in Devon on 1 April 1932 to Zeal Monachorum and Ermintrude Entwhistle Molesworth. He majored in Latin at St. Custard’s (1951-1954), and went on to a master’s degree in Library Science in Chicago (1961). Inshort order he won St. Custard’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 1961; worked for the CIA in Washington, D.C.; became permanent Librarian and Archivist of the Molesworth Institute in New Brunswick, NJ; served the UN on the trust territory of the Pacific Islands and was Advisor to Her Majesty Queen Saloteon the Royal Library of Tonga in 1964. His languages included Latin, Greek, French, Russian, Spanish, and Treen.
The perpetrator of this hoax, Norman Stevens, had a lifelong hobby of collecting and publishing (and, obviously, creating) library humor. At the time of this hoax, he was acting director of the library at Rutgers; and the location he gave for the Molesworth Institute was the location of his office at Rutgers. In addition to creating the totally fictitious character of Nigel Molesworth, Stevens also slipped into his own sketch a statement that he was, among other things, director of the Molesworth Institute. Having committed the perfect reference crime, he had to call attention to it by a letter in Library Journal, complaining about an alleged minor error in the Molesworth sketch as an example of sloppy editing. (Thanks to Lawrence Crumb.)
Dousing a Manuscript Bonfire
In the late 1940s Henry Roth (author of the 1934 novel Call It Sleep) reportedly built a bonfire on his Maine farm and burned all his writing. This past spring Roth’s literary executor announced that at Roth’s home in Albuquerque he has found 75 file-folders, approximately 3500 pages of Roth’s writing.
Footsteps behind The Dark Tower?
Wendell Wagner reports that he has been thinking about two films that could have been a conscious or unconscious influence on The Dark Tower if it was really written in the 1960s as now suspected. (Wagner probably was not aware that Walter Hooper is an enthusiastic patron of popular films, a fact that fits well in this scenario.)
The 1953 thriller “Invaders from Mars” used to trigger nightmares in boys Wagner’s age, who watched it repeatedly. It has scenes in which a giant brain controls people by planting something in their necks. This could have inspired the Big Brain in The Dark Tower and the Sting thrust into people’s spines to turn them into robots. (Hooper was 21 years old when “Invaders from Mars” created a sensation in 1953.)
In the 1963 French film “La Jetee” travel in outer space has become impossible after a nuclear war, and experimenters investigate time travel as an alternative. A man is forced to undergo mental time travel while a group of four or five experimenters observe him. This bears an uncanny resemblance to the four or five experimenters observing time travel in Dark Tower and to Hooper’s explanation for that in the preface. (S/F buff Wagner considers both explanations silly, but he likes “La Jetee” and dislikes Dark Tower. )
If Dark Tower was written in the 1960s as suspected, “La Jetee” certainly could have inspired it. Wagner speculates that a 1963 viewer of “La Jetee” could have connected its excuse for time travel with the last sentence of Out of the Silent Planet and combined it with part of the plot of “Invaders from Mars.” Only alert viewers of those films with an interest in The Dark Tower would notice the connection.
Wagner says “Invaders from Mars” is easy to find on videotape.”La Jetee” can now be ordered from Facets Video (1-800-331-6197) for about $20. He hopes others interested in The Dark Tower will view “Invaders from Mars” and “La Jetee” and comment upon their possible connection to Dark Tower.
Scotsman to fly once more [photo]
A volunteer at work (above) on the legendary Flying Scotsman, which is being restored to its original condition (left) under the supervision of a new owner, businessman Dr. Tony Marchington. The project — carried out by volunteer enthusiasts — will take another two years to complete, but the locomotive — designed by Sir Nigel Gresley and built in 1923 — should be back on the rails in 1998. Photograph: Alison McDougall]
Letter to the Editor
Mythprint, August 1995
Wendell Wagner, Jr., 9146 Edmonston Road, Apt. 201, Greenbelt MD 20770
While I largely agree ~with David Bratman’s ” review of Light in the Shadowlands in the November/December 1994 Myth print when it says that both parties in the Lewis controversies seem to be just making “murky accusations” against each other, I think it understates the strength of Kathryn Lindskoog’s arguments against Walter Hooper’s story of the provenance of The Dark Tower. In her new book Lindskoog has provided an even stronger case against there ever having been a fire from which Hooper. could have rescued the manuscript of The Dark Tower. Not only did Fred Paxford deny ever having burned any important papers of C.S. Lewis, but Lindskoog shows that Hooper’s time scheme for the bonfire is impossible. Hooper claims that the bonfire occurred in January of 1964 and that he brought the rescued papers back to his rooms at Keble College. (He also claims to have spent three weeks during that month working with Warren Lewis on C.S.Lewis’s letters.) But it’s clear from Warren’s letters that Warren and Hooper didn’t even meet until Warren returned from Ireland in February of 1964, by which time Hooper had moved from Keble to Wycliffe Hall. To place any credence in Hooper’s story, we would have to believe that he got the month of the bonfire and the place he was living at the time wrong and that Paxford had somehow forgotten the bonfire entirely. Lindskoog has also discovered that in a published interview in 1979 Hooper forgot the bonfire story and claimed that he found the manuscript when he and Douglas Gresham cleaned out Lewis’s rooms at Cambridge in the summer of 1963.
Having seen the manuscript of The Dark Tower when I was in Oxford last year, I think it’s unlikely that anyone will ever find a “smoking gun” in the manuscript itself that would convince Hooper’s defenders of its falseness. If it’s a fake, it’s a very good fake. The oddest thing about it to me are the supposed first drafts of the first paragraphs of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe and Surprised by Joy on the backs of the first and second pages of the manuscript. There’s something too clever and convenient about this, like the sort of interesting detail that a forger who’s trying too hard would add. But this is an argument from psychological probability, like the one that says that The Dark Tower just doesn’t sound like Lewis, and thus this isn’t likely to persuade anyone who isn’t already convinced.
Just recently I’ve noticed a new piece of evidence in regard to the dating of The Dark Tower. In both chapter 1 of The Dark Tower and chapter 23 of The Screwtape Letters using a spiritual tool for some minor material purpose is said to be like using “the stairs of heaven as a shortcut to the nearest chemist’s shop [or tobacconist’s]”. It would certainly be very odd if Lewis wanted this comparison to appear twice in his published works, since it is the character of Lewis in The Dark Tower who uses this metaphor. This would make it sound like Lewis is quoting himself. If The Dark Tower is a forgery, this is simply another clever detail the forger has added lo make it sound like Lewis’s work. If Lewis wrote the manuscript in 1938 (as it would appear from the fact that the action seems to follow immediately from that of Out of the Silent Planet) one could argue that Lewis plucked an interesting turn of phrase from a discarded manuscript. If he wrote it in 1946, though (as it would appear from the date of 1946 in the draft of Surprised By Joy on the back), this would indeed be Lewis quoting himself from a book he had written only four years earlier. Has anyone else noticed any passages in The Dark Tower which seem to be quotes from undisputed works of Lewis?
Mythlore: Issue 81 (Spring 1996) Page 57
Kathryn Lindskoog, Finding the Landlord: A Guidebook to C.S. Lewis’s Pilgrim’s Regress (Chicago, Illinois: Cornerstone Press, 1995), 165pp. ISBN: 0-940895-35-8)
C.S. Lewis wrote to Kathryn Lindskoog in 1957, “I hope we shall have some really useful critical works from your hand.” His hopes have been rewarded in Finding the Landlord, partly because Finding the Landlord has been written to be, like some of Lewis’s own most important works, a popular work, that is, intended for the general reader, rather than as a work of detailed literary criticism. The Pilgrim’s Regress, as it happens, was not. Unlike its model, Bunyan’s’ The Pilgrim’s Progress, it requires a sophisticated reader, somebody who has read (or read about) the works he satirizes.
He thus set up a wall exactly where he had meant to open a doorway; he never made this mistake again. All the rest of his books are clearly set out either for the general public or for students of literature. All his works in both categories are immensely readable, except this one, which even he found it necessary (in a subsequently published version) to explain. Following his example, Kay Lindskoog has undertaken to write a very straightforward guide to the symbols and allegorical elements in Regress. and she has succeeded, partly because her Guidebook is neither too detailed nor too didactic.
Readers will really have to read Lewis’s The Pilgrim’s Regress for themselves; this is no crib. But along the way, Lindskoog’s discernments, definitions, and interpretations are really useful, clear, and best of all, lightly laid on rather than heavy-handed. Reading Regress in her company (and you’ll want to read it after you hear what she has to say) is a very good way to address this early and difficult work of Lewis’s.
She begins with a brief summary of Lewis’s early life (of which Regress is an allegorical version), and concludes with a useful discussion of allegory as a form. She adds an intensely annotated bibliography for scholars, some of whom do or do not, and will, or will not, agree with her interpretations (you know who you are). In between, she gives clear comments on the images, sources, and ideas of each of the main sub-sections of Regress. I was struck by the number of scriptural references Lewis used; obviously, nurtured on the Anglican liturgy, he had heard regular readings with every worship service he had attended from boyhood on.
But this book suggests that he had already taken up his custom of regular private Bible reading, as well as his custom of re-reading an “old” book between every “new” book. Regress alludes to many books in each category, and would provide a powerful reading program for the study of Lewis, his own period (pro and con), and the works of previous periods that he valued most.
Along with this, Lindskoog has called attention to the excellence of Lewis’s poetry when it is read in its original place of publication rather than its “collected” version (where so many appear in variant or “revised” as well as re-titled forms). The impression that Lewis was not a very good poet comes, I am beginning to suspect, from the fact that so few of the poems are easily available in their original published form without recourse to massive inter-library searches, something the layreader cannot easily undertake.
So much of what Lewis was always trying to tell us is, in fact, in The Pilgrim’s Regress, that a convenient, brief, and telling guidebook like this one should make a major contribution toward encouraging people to read Regress, surely a contribution Kay Lindskoog’s fellow scholars can, and, indeed, Lewis would have welcomed. Happily recommended.