The Lewis Legacy-Issue 62, Autumn 1994 From the Mailbag

The Lewis Legacy-Issue 62, Autumn 1994 The C.S. Lewis Foundation for Truth in Publishing

While I was in Oxford [this year], I went on a tour of the Kilns on May 24th conducted by Walter Hooper as part of the Oxford C. S. Lewis Society. This was in the evening, so I didn’t see much of the outside of the Kilns. The interior looks nicely kept up, with newly painted walls and new floors, although they don’t look typical of Lewis’s lifetime to me.

Wendell Wagner, Greenbelt, MD

In your recent summer issue, you say, in reference to Jack’s “Most Substantial People” (“Dr Easley”) fragment, that the “Wade Center did not know that this novel was in its collection until Hooper informed Michael Logsdon that it was there.” In all fairness, Kay, you really should have informed your readers that said fragment is, in fact, in the Lewis Papers (vol IX, 291-300), which, it should also not be forgotten, the Wade has in the original. The real wonder, Kay, is that the Wade would have had such a priceless set of Lewisiana in its holdings for “over twenty years” and NOT have assiduously and meticulously documented, itemised, and cross-referenced every single page. Walter was only informing me of something he (and I) thought the Wade and its countless visitor-researchers would have come across years ago. By the way: what of the “Magdalen College Appendix”? In the same summer 1994 issue of my Newsletter that you announce the “Dr Easley” fragment to be genuine, you also claim a change of mind on the “Appendix,” stating that it, too, is no longer suspect. Your readers need to know about this, as well.

M.J. Logsdon, Salinas CA

Editor’s Note: Michael Logsdon’s letter is included at his request. When he wrote, the subjects were already clearly covered in Light in the Shadowlands: Protecting the Real C.S. Lewis, in Chapter 5 and Appendix 2.

I loved the long article on the relationship between Janie Moore and Spirits in Bondage.

Gracia Fay Ellwood, Altadena, CA

I have been enjoying the summer issue and re-studying the John Bremer article. I look forward to Light in the Shadowlands.

Larry Repass, Guatemala City

Returning from a summer of teaching in Japan I found the summer issue of Legacy waiting for me, and I plunged into reading it. I enjoy all the issues but this one seemed especially good, in particular John Bremer’s analysis of Spirits in Bondage (I’ve read no sustained discussion of that book before). I did have questions about two things: on p. 11 (second column) he speaks of Wormwood as a demonic spokesman. Doesn’t he mean Screwtape — he is the author of Screwtape Letters. Also, he refers on the top of p. 17 (second column) to sadism in Lewis. I would have said masochism — perhaps an unnecessary clarification. Thank you for such a valuable contribution to Lewis studies.

Corbin Carnell, Gainesville, FL

All the issues of Legacy which you sent me contain very important material which I am glad to have. I have never before had to cope with a journal of this length produced in newsletter format, and I have frequently lost my way. Might I suggest that you reserve the first column on the front page in every issue for a short editorial and an index? You have an uncritical review of William Holz’s book on Rose Wilder Lane, without noting that his arguments have been generally rejected or even suggesting that an A.Q. Morton test be done on Rose’s own books and on those of her mother’s which she is supposed to have ghosted.

John Docherty, Forest Row, Sussex

Editor’s Note: This inefficient format came about by historical accident; perhaps Issue 63 will be improved. What is the latest on Rose Wilder Lane?

In the new edition of Letters of C. S. Lewis, on page 16 Warren Lewis states: “…after his death we [sic] found among his papers any number of childish but ambitious beginnings of histories, stories, poems, nearly all of them dealing with our private fantasy world of Animal-Land or Boxen.” This tells me that Major Lewis examined the unfinished writings, which supports his statement that there was no fourth Ransom novel.

James Long, Sunnyvale, CA

I just read, during lunch, Bremer’s “From Despoina to Diotima” and liked it very much. (That does not mean that I totally agree with it!) I wish I had been sensible enough in my article [in the summer Canadian C. S. Lewis Journal] to set out the chronology as clearly… I also found significant Bremer’s explanation of the reason Lewis was growing monastic about the Flesh while in the army…

Joe Christoper, Stephenville, TX

I don’t know how you managed to get the summer issue out, what with the phase of Light in the Shadowlands you must have been in. Some great Notes & Quotes this time. I enjoyed John Bremer’s piece, too. His modest presentation aside, I imagine that this will be the definitive word on the subject (unless Hooper waxes creative and starts finding letters that Arthur Greeves didn’t destroy after all). We don’t venerate the bones of CSL’s physical “tent,” so isn’t it even more pointless to try to make a time capsule out of the real estate he happened to inhabit? It would take a lot more than a tacky tile cross on the roof of a pile of bricks to obliterate the real Lewis legacy. Your work on the integrity of the Lewis canon is of principal importance.

Brenda Griffing, Fort Lauderdale, FL

I stopped at the Bodleian Library in Oxford and got permission to read the manuscript of The Dark Tower. I was there May 24th, 25th, 26th, and 27th, and I spent about two hours each day with the manuscript…. First, I noticed that according to the sign-out sheet in the manuscript box beginning June 20, 1991, I was the thirteenth person to examine the manuscript. (One person had the manuscript twice.) Second, one can see the progression from the pages at the top having the most aging to the ones at the bottom having the least aging. (The aging consists mostly of small dark spots on the paper.) None of the 62 pages has been crumpled, though the page edges are worn. Third, the ink would start dark and slowly lighten, and after 7 to 25 words the writer would have to dip the pen again. The manuscript is not by any means a fair copy. In the 6000 words I studied (the first 2000 words of chapters 1, 3, and 5) I counted 14 crossed-out passages, 13 added passages (above the line, with a carat at the insertion point), and 22 places with both something crossed out and something added. The passages added or deleted range from one word to several sentences. Most of the differences between the manuscript and the published text are the minor corrections one would expect a copy editor to make. Commas are added or deleted, capitals are changed to small letters, hyphens are added or deleted, and colons are changed to semicolons. In several cases a word is replaced by one the writer obviously intended. On the back of page 1 there is a paragraph that would appear to be a first draft of the opening of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Upside down at the bottom of the page is what appears to be the outline for a non-fiction work. On the back of page 2 are two paragraphs which appear to be the beginning of a first draft of Surprised by Joy. On the back of page 7 is some arithmetic. On the back of page 8 are some doodles which appear to have something to do with a rocket going around a planet. (Isn’t there something far too neat and clever about these pages?)

Wendell Wagner, Greenbelt, MD

On p. 9 of the spring Legacy you list Milton along with other Anglicans. I don’t really think you should. I am not entirely certain what to say about Milton’s religious affiliations, but he was a bit left of most Anglicans, and besides when he was Latin Secretary for Cromwell the church of England was in stasis. My other tentative evidence — that as Latin Secretary he wrote the official response to Dr. Gauden’s Eikon Basilke and the next year (1650) a response to Salmasius’ Pro Populo Anglican Defensio. Not very important, but I could not resist. I saw Shadowlands. I think my wife liked it better than I did. There was a bit too much deathbed sentimentality to suit my tastes. Of course I was sorry to see Joy die as she did, but it reminded me too much of Desdemona’s death in Othello. Took far too long. I once asked Ants Oras, who held an Oxford degree (B Litt) why CSL never received a professorship at Oxford. He answered “Gordon.” I took him to mean that Gordon, who was a very powerful figure in Oxford, though I forget which was his college, disapproved of Lewis for some reason. But from what I have known of the Brits it could have been anything from a scandalous thought to a dislike of Lewis’s taste in sherry. We shall never know. Tolkien was of course a rather fierce man, if a model of politeness. I heard a lot about him from Dr. Auvo Kurvinen who did her D Phil under him. Tolkien once said, so I have been told, that she was his best student, meaning of course her mindset and her feelings for medieval literature (and language). I always meant to ask her more on the subject, but she died rather unexpectedly before I had a chance. We were once colleagues at the Univ. of Helsinki. Dr. K had a very low opinion of Tolkien’s summer fiction, as we once called it. My own interest in CSL circulated mostly around his great ability as a scholar. The Allegory of Love and the Oxford History remain unsurpassed contributions to human enlightenment.

Robert O. Evans, Lexington, KY

I have a comment about a statement on page 23 of the spring issue, that CSL “was never at any time a High Church Anglican.” While certainly you and many others know much more about Lewis than I, perhaps I (as a High Church Anglican) can shed a little light from within the household, so to speak. I think it likely that Lewis never identified with any particular party within the Church, in keeping with his stated purpose of writing about “mere Christianity” to general audiences. However, his statement “I am a Protestant” would likely mean something quite different in England from what it means in the US. In the US, the term Protestant refers to a particular expression of the Christian religion. Although similarly used in England, it also refers to the Established Church as distinct from Roman Catholicism. Therefore although few high churchmen would say, “I am a Protestant,” the statement does not imply that Lewis was not a High Church Anglican. (Of course, neither does it imply that he was one.} There is evidence, however, that elements of Anglicanism which are vital to high churchmen were important to CSL. For example, at the end of his sermon “The Weight of Glory” Lewis wrote “Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses. If he is your Christian neighbour, he is holy in almost the same way, for in him the Christ vere latitat — the glorifier and the glorified, Glory Himself — is truly hidden.” Similarly his poem “No Beauty We Could Desire” teaches the High Church doctrine of the value of the Presence of Christ in Holy Communion in the context of personal devotion. Although not suitable for inclusion in books such as Mere Christianity, these statements in context show where his devotion lay in at least the area of Holy Communion — decidedly High Church.

Father David Baumann, Placentia, CA

Editor’s Note: More insights (Lewis’s various comments included) on the ambiguous term “High Church” are welcome. The rest of Fr. Baumann’s helpful letter will appear in Legacy 63 along with relevant news and photos of Lewis’s parish church, Holy Trinity.