“Most Substantial People” Lewis Fragment Discovered

The Lewis Legacy-Issue 61, Summer 1994 The C.S. Lewis Foundation for Truth in Publishing

Incredible as it seems, there is an important unfinished novel by C.S.Lewis still waiting to be read. For over twenty years this 5,333-word gem has been stored in the Wade Center with Warren Lewis’s other gifts intended for everyone who cares about Lewis. It combines Lewis’s masterful style and readability with his usual focus on truth and goodness. Ironically, one Lewis expert after another has died without knowing it was there and without getting to read it. Instead, in 1977 they were misled into buying and trying to read The Dark Tower. (In his 1977 introduction Walter Hooper assured book buyers that with the addition of this new volume they would own “the complete fiction of C.S. Lewis.”)

The Wade Center did not know that this novel was in its collection until Hooper informed Michael Logsdon that it was there. When Lindskoog inquired, the Wade said that this story and some 1922-1923 unpublished diary passages could be obtained by hand copying them. Clyde Kilby’s friend Dean Picton underwrote the cost of hiring an Illinois editor to hand copy these materials in April 1994. The task took her twenty-five hours, including several trips. (The Wade Center closes at 4:30 on weekdays and is open only three hours on weekends, which slows down off-campus researchers.)

“The Most Substantial People” is described in detail and analyzed in an appendix to Light in the Shadowlands: Protecting the Real C.S. Lewis. Enjoy!