American Spectator Report

The Lewis Legacy-Issue 78, Autumn 1998 The C.S. Lewis Foundation for Truth in Publishing

In September’s American Spectator. Tom Bethell’s two-page article”Controversy in the Shadowlands: Questioning the authorshp of some C. S. Lewis works” quotes John Bremer (from the C. S. Lewis Readers’ Encyclopedia): “[The Dark Tower] gives the impression of having been written by an undergraduate fascinated with homosexuality.”

To be even-handed, Bethell praises Walter Hooper’s C. S. Lewis: Companion and Guide “a true labor of love” and mentions “Even Lindskoog says that ‘anyone with the Companion and Guide and Readers’ Encyclopedia has a wonderful wealth of information that we didn’t have before.'”

But Bethell’s very next point is that the Companion omits the bonfire story. “Its four pages on The Dark Tower say nothing about its provenance. And the two pages on Paxford make no mention of the bonfire. The omission strikes me as significant because so large a volume, with perhaps half as many words again as the Encyclopedia, could easily have accommodated so important an event, and should have done so if the bonfire really happened. The events surrounding it are all we know of the origin of several Lewis manuscripts. Warren also emerges from the story with an oddly cavalier attitude toward his brother’s papers. The omission of this event by the person who first disclosed it therefore seems incriminatory.”

He continues, “If the Lewis canon has indeed been tampered with by the man to whom his literary legacy was in part entrusted, the C. S. Lewis estate might incur legal liability. Forged works sold under his name could cause a problem. Who owns the C. S. Lewis estate? John G. West, an editor of the Readers’ Encyclopedia, tells me that considerable mystery surrounds this subject. ‘It would be interesting if someone could find out who owns it,’ he told me.”