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The Lewis Legacy-Issue 77, Summer 1998

How Far Does Lewis Lore Change Over Time? Original Article

In the spring 1998 issue of The Canadian C. S. Lewis Journal there is an article by Lionel Adey titled “How Far Did C. S. Lewis Change Over Time?” There he attributes the idea that Lewis and Janie Moore were lovers, “a conjecture I find simply incredible,” to A. N. Wilson, although it originated in The C. S. Lewis Hoax in 1988, not in the Wilson biography a couple of years later. Further, Adey seems unaware that since then (1) Walter Hooper tentatively confirmed the idea in All My Road Before Me, and (2) George Sayer strongly confirmed it in the revised edition of his Lewis biography Jack.
Adey also says “The switch after 1948 from argumentative to ethical and devotional writing, in The Four Loves, Reflections on the Psalms and Letters to Malcolm resulted from his defeat in debate over his proposition in Miracles that ‘Naturalism is self-refuting.'” Adey’s endnote says “For more detail, see my C. S. Lewis: Writer, Dreamer and Mentor (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998), 234-35, and Wilson, 211-214.” But Mentor depends upon the same passage in Wilson’s notoriously corrupt biography. Adey is an admirable contributor to Lewisiana, and his new book is most impressive. But writers of books about Lewis should be well aware of Wilson’s unreliability, and if they cite him they do well to warn readers about it.

In his book, Adey (a Legacy subscriber) says of Lewis’s poems, “The problem of varying texts and titles is complex and frustrating.” “It seems beyond belief that a student briefly acquainted with a famous and dying author could within a few months secure control of manuscripts and issue an edition, let alone be at liberty to alter titles and texts.” “We can hardly dismiss all the revisions as those of one exhausted by age, grief, and ill health if Lewis set about them in 1954, when at the height of his powers. Whoever may have been responsible for the alterations, some were disastrous.”