The Lewis Legacy-Issue 77, Summer 1998 From the Mailbag

The Lewis Legacy-Issue 77, Summer 1998 From the Mailbag The C.S. Lewis Institute for Truth in Publishing

In Samarkand recently I visited the old observatory built by Ulugh Beg in the 1420’s. In a museum there we saw copies of many paintings from that era depicting people of military life, their equipment, their clothing and uniforms, etc. They looked like they had just stepped out of Narnia and Tashbaan! Pauline Baynes’s illustrations of the Calormenes must have been inspired by paintings like these. It was a fascinating comparison. Later, in Bukhara, I saw a number of similar paintings. Reading some books and articles on “The Great Game” between England and Russia in Central Asia during the 19th century made me realize how fascinated the English had been over life and history in that area. I can well imagine how C.S. Lewis might have been strongly influenced by the dramatic stories and descriptions that came out of that era. His naming Tashbaan after Tashkent is perhaps an evidence of that influence.

Wes Brenneman, Aukland, New Zealand

I’ve now bought a copy of the C. S. Lewis Journal. I’m staggered that Eagle have paid you such a paltry sum for your research, which is most interesting. On the whole, the photos, as you say, have little to do with Lewis. It looks as if Eagle asked a photo library to supply them out of stock with a few pretty Oxford views. They print C. S. Lewis as a boy in a sailor suit on the steps at Glenmachan several times. We have now traced the original! It’s a glass negative owned by the descendants of the Ewart family of Glenmachan.

James O’Fee, Bangor, Northern Ireland

In your Autumn 1996 issue, someone asks for the Lewis quote [“Prayer does not prepare us for the great work: prayer is the great work.”] That’s not Lewis; it’s Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest.

Name Accidentally Lost

Your C. S. Lewis Hoax is my favorite book.

Bonnie-Jean Douglas, Manchester, CT

* Six years ago, I converted from an apathetic agnosticism to Evangelical Christianity. A motivating factor in my conversion was my struggle with unwanted homosexual desires which seemed an insurmountable problem in my life. My conversion was supported by several precious friends who demonstrated the love of Christ. At the same time the writings of C. S. Lewis ministered to an intellectual need. Lewis’s work also came to mean a great deal to me because it was a place of agreement between my father and me. My father, a devout Catholic, and I, an over-zealous Evangelical, disagreed about much in our newly opened dialogue about faith, but Lewis was one author whom we both admired.

Bill Dolan, Portland, OR

I thoroughly enjoyed the reprint of Barbara Parsons Linville’s essay on allegory and myth in the latest Legacy. As I wrote you some time ago, I can see evidence of certain thematic elements of The Dark Tower having been carried over from Shepherd of Hermas — a work which would have been familiar to someone with a background as a divinity student.

Darek Barefoot, Grand Junction, CO

I saw in an issue of Lewis Legacy a letter in which someone who had lived for a while in England suggested that the real reason the British government wanted Davidman out of the country was not political (as she told Lewis) but social: they simply didn’t want a single woman with two children and no visible means of income living off the government. I would definitely second that theory. I’ve seen it happen in Canada time and again over the 25 years I’ve been familiar with the system there – and the Canadian system is still based very closely on the British system. They’re extremely touchy about renewing permits for people with even a hint of lack of self-sufficiency or means of support.

Marian Van Til, Lewiston, NY

Georgetown College here in Kentucky has purchased the flat above the Eagle & Child in Oxford for use by “alumni and friends” while in Oxford… My pastor is the consultant for study leaves, and he may be able to get me free use of the flat when I go over!

Just purchased these long-looked-for books: G. L. Brook, ed., Selections >From Layaman’s “Brut” (with intro by Lewis); Martha Sammons, A Guide Through Narnia; David W. Soper, These Found the Way: Thirteen Converts to Protestant Christianty (Davidman & Gresham, with dust jacket); and R. S. Wright, Asking Them Questions, the 3rd edition with article by CSL. I found the following in Innocence & Experience, Essays and Conversations on Children’s Literature (ed. Barbara Harrison & Gregory Maguire; Lothrup, Lee & Shepard Books, 1987). In an article by Katherine Paterson, “Where is Terabithia?”, she writes “Well, at the time I was to check the final galleys for the book, I happened to reread The Voyage of the Dawn Treader in C. S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia. As you all know, there is an island in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader named Terebinthia. T-e-r-e-b-i-n-t-h-i-a. I was appalled. I had pinched my word right out of Narnia. At first, I thought I would have to change it. I didn’t want everyone complaining that I was hanging on to Lewis’s coattails…. Besides, Lewis obviously got the name for his island from the terebinth tree in the Old Testament. It wasn’t really original with Lewis, either.”

Perry Bramlett, Louisville, KY

The Dark Tower only sells because people think Lewis wrote it. If he did not, selling it under his name constitutes fraud, and those doing so would want to avoid legal discovery like poison. Thus someone could “publish” Dark Tower on Internet, contending that, since Lewis did not write it and did not “hire” its writing, Lewis Pte does not own it. Would they dare to take the “publisher” to court? Given their rabid defense of copyright, they would be in a no-win situation.

Name Withheld

I came across your book Mere Christian and sensed through that and my own intuition that there was something amiss. I’m glad you’ve taken steps to rectify the situation. I talked to Stan Mattson on the phone once while inquiring about an association mentioned in Hooper’s Companion and Guide. I stopped sending him contributions even before I read your Light in the Shadowlands. Luckily, I never sent him much.

Robert Svitek, Pittsburgh PA

As I prepare to teach a continuing education course on the life and works of C. S. Lewis, I realized I was as obligated as interested to read Light in the Shadowlands, the continuation of your work I had read years earlier. I send my appreciation for this boldly illuminating treatise. I do pray your forthrightness rallies others to the cause.

Thomas Pitchford, Louisiana College

Last year we in the C. S. Lewis Centenary Group turned up a copy of Arthur Greeves’ will (Arthur mentions CSL in it). This year we found a copy of C. S. Lewis’s own will in Belfast. Some points to emerge:

Lewis owned property in Belfast at the time of his death

Lewis devotes as much attention to the disposal of the portraits of his two grandfathers as to the disposal of his copyrights – the last must have generated an income stream of many millions of dollars over the years. [Incidentally, the portrait of Lewis’s maternal grandfather may be seen today at St Mark’s Church, Dundela, Belfast.]

It is believed that Lewis donated over two-thirds of his income from his writing to charity. Yet there is no provision for charitable giving in his will. Lewis signed the will on 2nd November 1961. His witnesses were M. Miller, 15 Kiln Lane, and E. Stowell, 22 Chestnut Avenue, both in Headington, Oxford. The named executors were Arthur Owen Barfield and Alfred Cecil Harwood.

James O’Fee, Bangor, Northern Ireland

I’d like to say I’ve just finished Light in the Shadowlands and am deeply impressed. I am ashamed to have to say that I had shied away from this subject for decades because, I think, of reluctance to have to admit that there could be such shenanigans with the estate of the arch-Mere Christian.

In the apparent absence of any detailed answers to the questions you have raised, I consider your case very strong indeed and expect that however great the disappointments you may have suffered during these last two decades, you can be pretty confident that the conclusions of your painstaking scholarship will be vindicated. Those of us who have tried to ignore or evade the hard questions you raise, will have to pronounce our “mea culpa.”

I have just read the piece from The Lewis Legacy about the “Chanson d’Adventure”. This was of special interest to me because, wanting to make some small gesture of appreciation for what C. S. Lewis has given me, I had donated for the Centenary Stone. Nevertheless, I had felt some discomfort about the Stone itself, because I thought the poem a somewhat embarrassing example of Lewis’s literary achievements. The two things I thought especially awful were the title and the last verse, which you have identified as different from the version published by Lewis himself. I agree with you that the latter is (while itself not great poetry) a much better work.

David R. Patterson, San Salvador

The measure of one’s work and impact is not the measure of one’s physical strength or capacities. It is in the heart and soul.

Terri Williams, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Actually, I first learned of your research several years ago in Christianity and Literature. It is unfortunate that the questions you raised in the 80’s have yet to be answered in any satisfactory way. {Still haven’t laid hands on Hoax in either of its incarnations.}

Michael A. Warner, Bay Shore, NY

In the Bodleian Library there are some documents from the Geoffrey Bles Publishing Company, evidently from their file concerning C. S. Lewis. In a folder marked 1965 there is a typewritten list of people who contributed to Light on C. S. Lewis, and with it there is the following identification of Walter Hooper (apparently a work of imaginative autobiography): “Walter Hooper is an American who met Lewis some ten years ago, having received a grant from an American University to study Lewis’s writings. Eventually, about a year before Lewis’s death, Hooper became his secretary and lived in his house with Lewis and his brother Warren. Hooper is now Chaplain of Wadham College, Oxford, having taken Holy Orders. He has edited a book of Lewis’s medieval pieces, which is being published by the Cambridge University Press next May.” (The book of medieval pieces would be Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Literature, published by Cambridge University Press in June 1966.)

That passage is evidently the origin of misinformation on the back of the 1966 book Light on C. S. Lewis: “An American scholar when he first met Lewis some ten years ago on a grant that enabled him to study Lewis’s work, Hooper eventually became Lewis’s secretary, and lived with him and his brother.”

Checking Lewis manuscripts in the Bodleian, I discovered that the letters “f” and “g” in “Encyclopedia Boxoniana” are different from the letters “f” and “g” in “Finchley Avenue.” The “f” in the bonfire fragment of That Hideous Strength (in which the heroine’s name is Jane Ruddock instead of Jane Studdock) matches the one in “Finchley Avenue.”

E. Shyaty, England

My friend in Singapore replied, “I’ve checked about your request concerning the address at 2 Handy Road #07-02 Cathay Bldg, Singapore. I only managed to trace the occupants. Since last year it is occupied by an architect’s firm, Geof Malone International. Prior to that the tenant was Village Road Show.”

Joshua Pong, Hong Kong

NOTE: Is the official Singapore business directory that gives this address for C S Lewis Pte seriously outdated, or is this address possibly a C S Lewis Pte maildrop?

A further Lewis connection with the Titanic has emerged. C. S. Lewis wrote of his cousin, Gundreda Ewart, that she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. After her marriage, Gundreda, her husband and her family – which included her daughter, now Mrs Primrose Henderson – lived for a while in the old Manor House, on the main square in Comber, County Down. Dr Philip Robinson claims that this was the home of the designer of the Titanic, Thomas Andrews. Andrews went down, heroically with his ship, and after his death a hall was built to his memory in Comber. Today it is owned by Andrews Memorial Primary School. (And my neice, Jenny, has just started teaching practice there.)

Spent a very interesting evening with Primrose Henderson, who gave me copies of a dozen photographs with a Lewis interest from her family album. Several of CSL, and one of CSL & Arthur Greeves in a (tennis) party. Primrose gave me as well a card that she found with a wedding present given to her parents by Albert Lewis in 1927. He signs the card ‘Allie’ Lewis, and Primrose always refers to him as ‘Allie’, a common nick-name for ‘Alistair’, but not for ‘Albert’. A wonder that this card has survived!

James O’Fee, Bangor, Northern Ireland

In the September 1989 Lewis Legacy Supplement, Professor Robert Evans wrote: “I knew [Hooper] had come to England expressly to meet Lewis with whom he had corresponded. Since he taught in the spring in Kentucky, he must have left for England shortly after after term closed, perhaps early in June. I ran into him in Oxford on the Turl [Street] and learned that he indeed met Lewis and was then enrolled in a summer course at Exeter College, next door to Lincoln, and was living in rooms there. He told me that he had spent some days with Lewis and had enrolled at Exeter on Lewis’ recommendation.”

This does not fit with real life. This summer school for foreign tourists like Hooper was housed in vacant Exeter rooms by an outside organization based in London and New York. Oxford academics would not know enough about such a course to recommend it. (Besides, Lewis had moved on to Cambridge years earlier.) Lewis did not say a word about Exeter or any summer school in his four letters to Walter Hooper dated November 1954, December 1957, July 1962, and December 1962. These are the only ones he wrote before they met in June 1963. Fees were paid well in advance for this well-organized course; there were no last-minute walk-ins. So the story that Hooper went to England to visit Lewis and then enrolled in the course on Lewis’s recommendation makes no sense. But it would have made Hooper’s summer activities sound more impressive to the American professor.

E. Shyaty, England

Did you know that we here at Broadman & Holman have put through a deal with Simon & Schuster? As you know, they own many of the rights to the C. S. Lewis corpus. Now B&H will be co-publishing 11 Lewis titles. They [Simon & Schuster] will sell them to the general market (the ABA), while we will sell them into the Christian market (the CBA). That means you will have to treat me with only the utmost respect!

Leonard Goss, Nashville, TN

* I recently purchased and read Light in the Shadowlands. I am impressed. Your scholarship is impeccable, your arguments are persuasive, and your style is a delight. Dave Patterson and I have just corresponded about this book; we agree that you have won the battle and that your opponents “just don’t get it,” as my students would say. They resort to ad hominem, argument (in this instance I suppose it should be “ad mulieram”) because reason and evidence are on your side. Are these folks (again, as my students would say) “just clueless”? My congratulations on a contribution to the CSL literature of the utmost importance.

Victor Hill, Williamstown, MA

I’m glad that you had the courage to bring this issue into the open, and to keep it there. While it shouldn’t be any Christian’s desire to see strife for its own sake, as long as Mr. Hooper refuses to acknowledge his deception (or to defend his claims in the face of what now seems obvious fraud), I’m grateful that you are able and willing to remind us that these things have not been resolved. I’m sure your life consists of more than tracking down the misdeeds of functionally delusional “secretaries.”

Robert Gregg, Fort Lauderdale, FLv

In the stack of Lindskoogery on my desk [was] the Winter issue of Legacy, full of delicious bits of news and hammering home the travesty of Hooper’s damage to Lewis’s poetry. I feel a sort of glow at having played a small role in your research, after you asked for my amateur poetry criticism. By the way, as your amateur Latin critic, I should point out that on p. 15 (in comments on line 10) you have sunum bonnum, which I think should be summum bonum (“highest good”).

Walt Hearn, Berkeley, CA