Mysterious Modern Man

The Lewis Legacy-Issue 82, Autumn 1999 The C.S. Lewis Foundation for Truth in Publishing

The provenance of “Modern Man and His Categories of Thought” is as peculiar as its weak sentences and illogical content. Walter Hooper published it in 1986 without one word about where he got it. In two 1991 letters Jerry Daniel, an ordained Disciples minister who was then editor of the Bulletin of the New York C. S. Lewis Society, told your editor what he knew about the essay. What he knew only compounded the mystery.

19 February 1991: You class “Modern Man and His Categories of Thought” among questionable posthumous C. S. Lewis essays. I can assure you that it isn’t questionable. I am the person who found a [typescript] copy of that essay moldering in the archives of the Yale Divinity school library. It had been written for the world Council of Churches, though for some reason never published by them. I got it from Yale, photocopied it and sent a copy to Walter Hooper. He wrote back thanking me for it, but declined to let me publish it in our Bulletin.

4 March 1991: First of all, how I found the “Modern Man…” essay. Wherever I go I always look through the card catalog on the off chance that they might have something by or about one of the Inklings which I don’t have. I had already checked the main Yale catalog, but on this occasion I checked the Divinity School, and they had this unpublished item listed. So I asked for it, and they had trouble even finding it — it must’ve been tucked away in an obscure corner of the archives. It was certainly not in the stacks or in any normally traversed part of the library. But eventually they found it and allowed me to photocopy it. Of course it could have been a “plant” — anything’s possible — but I seriously doubt it. No one at Yale seemed to know where they got it, nor when. But I immediately wrote the World Council of Churches, and they, at least by implication, confirmed that it was theirs. They gave me permission to publish it, but W. Hooper declined.