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The Lewis Legacy-Issue 80, Spring 1999

New Light on Dark Tower, Wrong country; wrong decade

A new kind of evidence has recently come to our attention indicating thatThe Dark Tower was written by Walter Hooper rather than C. S. Lewis.

On the fifth page of the first chapter, the character named Orfieu says to
the character named Ransom, “When you get a mental picture of a little boy
called Ransom in an English public school you at once name it ‘memory’
because you know you are Ransom and were at an English public school.”
(This sentence is one of those that A. Q. Morton tested with cusum
analysis, showing that it was not written by C. S. Lewis.)

Because the term “public school” has opposite meanings in America and
England, Americans preface the term with the word “English” when referring
to what Americans would call a private school. Needless to say, the English
have no need to do so. It is hard to believe that in England in 1939 Lewis
would have used the inappropriate American locution “English public
school.”

Furthermore, the slang term “nellie” (spelled Knellie in The Dark Tower)
originated in America and is an anachronism. According to Partridge’s
Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English it was first heard in
England in 1945. The Oxford English Dictionary traces it in print no
farther back than to 1961 and provides this 1973 definition “There is a
tendency among homophile groups to deplore gays who play visible roles —
the queens and the nellies.” Because Lewis was not a homophile and that is
its exact use in The Dark Tower, this strongly supports the charge that the
story was written by Walter Hooper in the 1960s rather than by C. S Lewis
in 1939.

Today’s most vocal Dark Tower defender, Douglas Gresham, insistently claims
that there is no evidence against it.