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The Lewis Legacy-Issue 77, Summer 1998

Facts, Factoids, or Fictions Original Article

According to Perry Bramlett, Sam Wellman’s 1997 biography C. S. Lewis (Barbour Books) is part of a conservative evangelical “Heroes of the Faith” series that includes Luther, Wesley, Spurgeon, and Corrie ten Boom. He says Wellman writes with a flourish and is influenced by William Griffin’s older biography, C. S. Lewis: A Dramatic Life (Harper, 1986), from which he sometimes quotes.
Like Griffin, Wellman presents imaginary conversations as if they were fact; this is entertaining, but often misleading. Wellman claims that after the Anscombe debate at the Socratic Club, Lewis said, “Lord, how will one ever communicate right and wrong, much less the glory of Christ, with the modern philosophers and their unfortunate disciples?” (There is no such statement on record.) And instead of mentioning that Miss Anscombe was (is) a committed Roman Catholic Christian, Mr. Wellman follows the unkind lead
of others in labeling her only as a “logical postivist”, a “large and
beefy” woman “who wore pants and smoked cigars.”

Till We Have Faces is “far too complicated for any ordinary reader to
understand.” The Abolition of Man “missed the mark” and was “too detached, too scholarly.” Warren Lewis is pictured most often as a person who was always on alcoholic “binges” and who criticized Mrs. Moore, rather than a kind, dedicated Christian, much loved by all who knew him. Wellman claims that after Lewis turned 50 in 1948, “life turned sour for him” because: “Tolkien was peevish and disagreeable”, “he couldn’t change the fact that Williams was dead”, and “the Oxford he saw every day was more and more hostile.”