A New Discovery: C. S. Lewis Praises Adam

The Lewis Legacy-Issue 86, Autumn 2000 The C.S. Lewis Foundation for Truth in Publishing

In addition to discovering an unknown C. S. Lewis essay in 2000, Perry Bramlett has also discovered an unknown Lewis commendation of a book published in 1961. (Neither the essay nor the book blurb is in Walter Hooper’s Lewis bibliography. ) That book is Adam by David Bolt (The John Day Company).

I think it is splendid. This book does successfully a very difficult thing. To have a sensuous imagination, at once robust and delicate, is much. To embody it in words is more. To do this continually without cloying and suffocating the reader – to combine such richness with such freshness – is more still. But to re-tell the story of Adam as Mr. Bolt has done is most of all. There is no patronage, no parody, no allegorization. The book seems to rise of itself out of prolonged meditation; the author has seen it taking just this shape. We with him, feel it would not have been otherwise. A false step would have been fatal, but the author makes none.

C. S. Lewis

Do these words apply to Lewis’s own Perelandra? Lewis’s poem “Adam at Night” (Punch, 11 May 1949) certainly seems to fit Lewis’s description of Bolt’s book. (Unfortunately, the text of this poem has been altered.)

Bolt is decribed in his book as “born and educated in England, served from 1946 to 1948 in the Indian army and a further two years with the Malayan police. The author of two previously published novels, he is at prsent an author’s agent in London.” The book received rave reviews from Methodist Recorder, British Weekly, John O’ London’s, Church of England Newspaper, Church Times, and Dr. Daniel A. Poling.