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C. S. Lewis and Dante’s Paradise

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

The strong influence of Dante’s Paradise in the life and writing of C. S. Lewis has gone almost unnoticed until now.

I. Dante’s Paradise in the Life of C. S. Lewis

C. S. Lewis read Dante’s Inferno in Italian when he was in his teens, and he read Dante’s Purgatory in the hospital when he was recovering from wounds he received in the inferno of World War One. When he was twenty-three he mentioned in his diary that he disbelieved in immortality and that Dante’s “facts” were outdated. (At that time his brother Warren was reading Dante.) Six years later, in the spring of 1929, Lewis reluctantly decided that there is a God; but he did not yet believe in Christianity or an afterlife.

At the beginning of January in 1930 C. S. Lewis visited his friend Owen Barfield for a few days, and the two did “some solid reading together.” After lunch they would take a walk, then read Dante’s Paradise (in Italian) the rest of the day.

Afterward, Lewis described this experience to his friend Arthur Greeves:

“[Paradise] has really opened a new world to me. I don’t know whether it is really very different from the Inferno (B. says it is as different as chalk from cheese — heaven from hell, would be more appropriate!) or whether I was specially receptive, but it certainly seemed to me that I had never seen at all what Dante was like before. Unfortunately, the impression is one so unlike anything else that I can hardly describe it for your benefit — a sort of mixture of intense, even crabbed, complexity of language and thought with (what seems impossible) at the very same time a feeling of spacious gliding movement, like a slow dance, or like flying. It is like the stars — endless mathematical subtility of orb, cycle, epicycle and ecliptic, unthinkable & unpicturable yet at the same time the freedom and liquidity of empty space and the triumphant certainty of movement. I should describe it as feeling more important than any poetry I have ever read.”

Lewis suggested that Greeves might try it in English translation, but warned him “If you do, I think the great point is to give up any idea of reading it in long stretches… instead, read a small daily portion, in rather a liturgical manner, letting the images and the purely intellectual conceptions sink well into the mind…. It is not really like any of the things we know.”

Six months later, Lewis told Greeves he had visited Barfield again and they had finished Paradise. “I think it reaches heights of poetry which you get nowhere else; an ether almost too fine to breathe. It is a pity I can give you no notion what it is like. Can you imagine Shelley at his most ecstatic combined with Milton at his most solemn & rigid? It sounds impossible I know, but that is what Dante has done.”

The year after he first read Paradise, C. S. Lewis became a believing Christian, and he was clearly influenced by Dante for the rest of his life. There are traces of The Divine Comedy throughout his writing, from The Pilgrim’s Regress, his first Christian book, to Letters to Malcolm, his last.

II. Dante’s Paradise in the Writings of C. S. Lewis

The Pilgrim’s Regress

C. S. Lewis became a believing Christian in 1931, wrote The Pilgrim’s Regress in 1932, and published it in 1933. Early in this allegory a man named John awakens in a wood and realizes that he wants out. After an adventurous journey in which he learns many lessons, he approaches at last the true object of his deepest desire. That is not an original plot outline; it is the outline of Dante’s Divine Comedy.

There is also a specific allusion to The Divine Comedy within Pilgrim’s Regress, and it is highly significant. In Book 9, chapter 1, of Regress, the sleeping pilgrim is awakened by the light of a woman who introduces herself as Contemplation and says “Rise and come with me.” They travel far through the air together in a sphere of light that is finally swallowed up in an ocean of light (reminiscent of the ocean of light in Paradise). There light runs down like a river too bright to look at, and it sings with a very loud voice. Many people are traveling with them with happiness on their faces, moving together toward great castle gates at the summit. This journey is obviously composed of images from Paradise.

In Regress the journey with Contemplation is only a dream, and the pilgrim awakens to his old terror of death; his real arrival at his destination comes a bit later in the story, in Book 10. Thus Lewis’s allegorical dream journey with Contemplation is a thinly veiled account of his contemplative foretaste of Christian faith in 1931 when he read Paradise. (Hence, Lewis is allegorizing Dante’s allegory.)

Out of the Silent Planet

C. S. Lewis published his first novel, a tale of space travel, in 1938. He apparently had both the beginning of Psalm 19 and the beginning of Canto 27 of Paradise in mind when he described the heavens in the fifth chapter of Out of the Silent Planet:

“He [Ransom] had read of ‘Space’: at the back of his thinking for years had lurked the dismal fancy of the black, cold vacuity, the utter deadness, which was supposed to separate the worlds. He had not known how much it affected him till now — now that the very name ‘Space’ seemed a blasphemous libel for this empyrean ocean of radiance in which they swam. He could not call it ‘dead’; he felt life pouring into him from it every moment. He had thought it barren: he saw now that it was the womb of the worlds, whose blazing and innumerable offspring looked down nightly even upon the earth with many eyes… Older thinkers had been wiser when they named it simply the heavens — the heavens which declared the glory…”

This eyewitness account by Ransom agrees with the eyewitness account by Dante in Canto 27: “All Paradise began to ring with the sweet strain “Glory be to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit!” — which intoxicated me. I seemed to see the entire universe smile, and I was enraptured by both sound and sight. O joy! O indescribable ecstasy! O life of perfect love and peace! O endless unlimited riches!” Dante was consciously portraying Psalm19:1, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands,” and C. S. Lewis would have realized that.

In 1931 Lewis had written to Arthur Greeves, “I think [Paradise] reaches heights of poetry which you get nowhere else.” In 1938 he published Out of the Silent Planet. And in 1958 he published Reflections on the Psalms, where he said of Psalm 19, “I take this to be the greatest poem in the Psalter and one of the greatest lyrics in the world.”

The Problem of Pain

The final chapter in Lewis’s first book of straightforward Christian apologetics, The Problem of Pain (1940), is also the first of his evocative descriptions of Heaven. There he wrote of “that something which you were born desiring”:

All the things that have ever deeply possessed your soul have been but hints of it — tantalizing glimpses, promises never quite fulfilled, echoes that died away just as they caught your ear. But if it should ever really become manifest — if there ever came an echo that did not die away but swelled to the sound itself — you would know it. Beyond all possibility of doubt you would say ‘Here at last is the thing I was made for’. 

From Canto 1 to Canto 33 of Paradise, that promise was Dante’s theme. In Canto 33 Dante said “Anyone who sees that Light becomes a person who would not possibly consent to turn away to any other sight; for the good that is the object of all desires is ingathered there in its fullness, and elsewhere it falls short of its perfection.”

“The Weight of Glory”

C. S. Lewis delivered his famous sermon “The Weight of Glory” in 1941, eleven years after first reading Paradise; and “The Weight of Glory” is like a vivid summary of Dante’s most important points in Paradise. Lewis stresses that God wants us to strongly desire our own blessedness, glory and joy. The sermon is obviously based on Corinthians 4:17, “For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison…”

Lewis explains at length the nature of our personal glory in Heaven. “I suddenly remembered that no one can enter heaven except as a child; and nothing is so obvious in a child — not in a conceited child, but in a good child — as its great and undisguised pleasure in being praised. Not only in a child, either, but even in a dog or a horse…. Perfect humility dispenses with modesty.” Dante clearly demonstrated this humility in Canto 24 after being quizzed by St. Peter about faith. “Like a master who embraces his servant as soon as he hears good news that causes him to rejoice, so the light of that apostle at whose command I had spoken circled me three times, blessing me in song. That is how much my answer pleased him.” Like a child, Dante was happy that St. Peter glorified him with song and dance in response to his correct answers.

Lewis warns that it may be possible to think too much of one’s future glory in Heaven, but it is hardly possible to think too often or too deeply of the future glory of other people (“everlasting splendours”). “The load, or weight, or burden of my neighbour’s glory should be laid daily on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken.” This is like Dante’s initial reaction to Peter and James in Canto 25. There James told Dante “Look up and be confident, for it befits anyone who ascends here from the mortal world to ripen in our radiance.” As Dante told it, “This comforting word from the second flame caused me to lift my head up toward the mountains that had bent me down with their great weight.” This mountain image is an allusion to Psalm 120:1, “I will lift up my eyes to the mountains, the source of my help.” Peter and James were the mountains Dante was looking to for help, but he was in such awe of their radiant majesty that he had bent his head as if the weight of their light was more than he could bear.

(In Lewis’s 1948 essay “Imagery in the Last Eleven Cantos of Dante’s ‘Comedy'” he says, “…the weight of the mountains (or of the Apostles, for they are momentarily one) which weighs upon the soul is equated with the actual weight which bends the bearer double.” He continues, “…how immensely venerable the Apostles have become first by the mountain image and then by the image of weight which, as it were, grows from it. No direct praise of their wisdom or sanctity could have made us respect them half so much.”)

In the last paragraph of “The Weight of Glory” Lewis concludes that we should conduct all our earthly relationships with awe and circumspection. “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilization — these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit — immortal horrors or everlasting splendours.” In The Divine Comedy Dante showed how awesome all people really are. In Inferno they were immortal horrors, and in Paradise they were everlasting splendours. (In Paradise people who had been competitors or opponents on earth rejoiced with each other. One example of this is the heavenly relationship of Aquinas and Siger of Brabant in Canto 10.)

Lewis’s single main point in “The Weight of Glory” is that we are born with a longing for heaven, but that we tend to misinterpret it. “Now, if we are made for heaven, the desire for our proper place will be already in us, but not yet attached to the true object, and will even appear as the rival of that object.” He elaborates, “If a transpersonal, transfinite good is our real destiny, then any other good on which our desire fixes must be in some degree fallacious, must bear at best only a symbolical relationship to what will truly satisfy.” In the third sentence of Paradise Dante referred to our awareness approaching “the object of its deepest desire,” and later in Canto 1 Beatrice explained that our true desire is often “wrenched aside to earth by some fallacious pleasure.”

Lewis tries to imagine what it will be like to reach the true object of our deepest desire. “What would it be to taste at the fountain-head that stream of which even these lower reaches prove so intoxicating? Yet that, I believe, is what lies before us. The whole man is to drink joy from the fountain of joy.” Dante wrote all of Paradise to say that.


C. S. Lewis published his second space-travel novel, Perelandra, in 1943. In a note at the end of her essay “Dante’s Vision of Heaven” Barbara Reynolds states, “C. S. Lewis, who knew Dante’s poem well, has used the concept of the Great Dance of the universe in the last chapter of Perelandra, which is in fact a descant upon Paradise.” The Great Dance of the Universe was epitomized by Dante in Canto 28: “In the two next-to-last rings of dancers Principalities and Archangels whirl; and the last is made up of Angels frolicking.”

The Great Divorce

Lewis’s Great Divorce (1945) is a profound little fantasy about a bus trip to the outskirts of Heaven. (Lewis told an inquirer that the bus driver is the same angel that descended in Inferno to help Dante on his way.)

In The Great Divorce a resident of Heaven, George MacDonald, assures Lewis that visitors from Hell to Heaven can stay if they want to. “Aye. Ye’ll have heard that the emperor Trajan did.” Readers of Paradise would have heard so. In Canto 10 of Purgatory Dante recounted the kindness of the pagan emperor Trajan to a widow, and in Canto 20 of Paradise he located Trajan in Heaven: “…the one closest to the beak consoled the widow for her son. Now he knows from his experience of this sweet life and its opposite the price of not following Christ.” (According to a medieval tradition, after Trajan spent time in Hell he had a chance to enter Heaven and did so.)

In addition to surprises about who gets into Heaven, according to Lewis and Dante, there will be surprises about the ranking in Heaven. In The Great Divorce Lewis describes a woman named Sarah Smith who had no high position or prominence in her first life. In Heaven she is a great saint: “Love shone not from her face only, but from all her limbs, as if it were some liquid in which she had just been bathing.” Likewise, on earth Beatrice had no high position or prominence, but in heaven her face was indescribably radiant with love. In Canto 31 she was seated forever in the third highest row; “if you look up at the third row from the top you will see her again, on the throne her merit reserved for her.” Both women are brisk, beneficent, and free from sentimentality.

Till We Have Faces

At the end of C. S. Lewis’s finest novel, Till We Have Faces (1956), Orual says “I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer. Before your face questions die away. What other answer would suffice?” Although she did not get the kind of explanation of God’s justice she sought, her real underlying question was answered. (In my opinion, that question was “God, are you good? Do you love us? Can I trust you?” The answer was a resounding yes.)

In Canto 19 of Paradise, Dante was deeply concerned about the fate of virtuous unbelievers. The eagle rebuked him;

“Who are you to sit in a judgment seat a thousand miles away when you can’t see farther than a handbreadth?…. O earthly animals! O doltish minds! The Primal Will, goodness itself, never deviates from itself, which is Supreme Good. All that is just harmonizes with it; it does not approximate any created good, but gives rise to that good by beaming forth its rays.”

When Dante wrote Canto 19 of Paradise he was consciously echoing the crux of the book of Job, and when Lewis wrote Till We Have Faces he was consciously echoing both Job and Paradise. In all three accounts, the answer to rational human questions about divine justice is a transrational revelation of the wisdom and goodness of God.

The Last Battle

In 1956 Lewis published his seventh Narnian Chronicle, The Last Battle. There a virtuous pagan soldier named Emeth dies bravely and awakens to find himself in Heaven with the very God he has been taught to oppose. In my opinion, Lewis had in mind Dante’s claim in Canto 20 of Paradise that a virtuous pagan soldier named Ripheus was taken to Heaven, saved by God’s inscrutable grace.

At the end of The Last Battle the children are in Heaven and one of them says, “I see… world within world, Narnia within Narnia…” “‘Yes,’ said Mr. Tumnus, ‘like an onion: except that as you go in and in, each circle is larger than the last.'” Perhaps Lewis has in mind Canto 28 of Paradise, where Dante discovered that each of the nine concentric spheres was larger than the sphere enclosing it, and the Point in the very center enwrapped them all.

“A Panegyric for Dorothy L. Sayers”

Dorothy Sayers died in December 1957, and C. S. Lewis wrote a tribute to be read at her memorial service in January 1958. In it he said, “She died instead; went, as one may in all humility hope, to learn more of Heaven than even the Paradiso could tell her.”

A Grief Observed

After the death of C. S. Lewis’s wife in 1960, he kept a heartwrenching journal that he published under the title A Grief Observed. The last paragraph ends with a sentence from Paradise: “How wicked it would be, if we could, to call the dead back! She said not to me but to the chaplain, ‘I am at peace with God.’ She smiled, but not at me. Poi si torno all’ eterna fontana.” This is from Canto 31, where Dante described Beatrice looking at him for the last time in Paradise: “So I prayed; and as distant as she was, she smiled and gazed at me. Then she turned back to the Eternal Fountain.”

Letters to Malcolm

In C. S. Lewis’s last book, Letters to Malcolm (1964), he is still referring to Dante’s Paradise. He reflects “But when Dante saw the great apostles in heaven they affected him like mountains. There’s lots to be said against devotions to saints; but at least they keep on reminding us that we are very small people compared to them. How much smaller before their Master?” Here Lewis also connects the crushing weight of the mountains’ light with the intolerable weight on the backs of the proud on the First Terrace of Mount Purgatory (see Canto 13 of Purgatory). There Dante feared that his own back would be bent double someday because of pride, his besetting sin. In my opinion, the comforting words of St. James in Canto 25 of Paradise were an assurance to Dante that his pride had been replaced by humility, obviating his need to be cleansed of pride after death. Like Dante, Lewis considered pride to be his own setting sin.

(In Lewis’s 1948 essay “Imagery in the Last Eleven Cantos of Dante’s ‘Comedy'” he says, “…the weight of the mountains [or of the Apostles, for they are momentarily one] which weighs upon the soul is equated with the actual weight which bends the bearer double.”)

In additon to Lewis’s overt reference to Dante’s Paradise in Letters to Malcolm, there are at least five specific correspondences between the two books that may or may not be significant:

(1) In chapter 13 Lewis describes the paradoxical nature of grace in an untitled poem about prayer. (Lewis’s version of this poem does not appear in his posthumous poetry collection.) The first kind of grace is God’s actively reaching out to His beloved creature, and the second kind of grace is God’s helping the beloved creature to reach back. In Canto 20 of Paradise Dante made a fleeting reference to these two kinds of grace in explaining the salvation of Ripheus : “[Ripheus], by the grace that wells up from such a deep spring that no created eye has ever plumbed the depths of its source, set all his love below on righteousness; and therefore, by grace on grace, God let him see our future redemption.”

(2) Lewis observes, “God is not in space, but space is in God.” Dante made this concept famous by depicting it in Cantos 28-30 of Paradise. In Canto 30 he referred to God as “the Point… which seems to be enclosed by what It encloses.”

(3) Lewis says, “Joy is the serious business of Heaven.” Dante’s entire Paradise is a mounting crescendo of that joy. In Canto 31 Dante declared, “And even if I had a wealth of words and an imagination to match, I would not endeavor to describe the smallest part of that delight.”

(4) Lewis claims, “The angels never knew (from within) the meaning of the word ought, and the blessed dead have long since gladly forgotten it.” Dante’s final sentence in Paradise (and the entire Comedy) ends with “but my desire and will were being turned already, like a wheel in perfect balance, by the Love that moves the sun and other stars.” In Heaven Dante’s desire and will were miraculously conformed to the will of God.

(5) C. S. Lewis speculates about time and timelessness in heaven:

“I certainly believe that to be God is to enjoy an infinite present, where nothing has yet passed away and nothing is still to come. Does it follow that we can say the same of saints and angels? Or at any rate exactly the same? The dead might experience a time which is not so linear as ours — it might, so to speak, have thickness as well as length. Already in this life we get some thickness whenever we learn to attend to more than one thing at once. One can suppose this increased to any extent, so that though, for them as for us, the present is always becoming the past, yet each present contains unimaginably more than ours. I feel… that to make the life of the blessed dead strictly timeless is inconsistent with the resurrection of the body.” Although Dante describes Heaven as beyond time and space, his saints there seem to experience time. In canto 32 St. Bernard says to Dante, “But since the time for your vision grows short, let us stop here, like a careful tailor who cuts out a garment according to the amount of cloth he has…”

There is one more rather poignant connection between Letters to Malcolm and Paradise that I have noticed. Just as Dante died before there was time for Paradise to be copied and read, C. S. Lewis died before there was time for Letters to Malcolm to be published and read. Both books were completed when their authors were unaware that they were on the very brink of the eternity they were both describing.

One of Kathryn Lindskoog’s latest books is Dante’s Divine Comedy: Paradise (Mercer University Press, 1998). Part I of this essay is the introduction of that book. This essay appeared in the spring 1999 issue of the Canadian C. S. Lewis Journal.

A C. S. Lewis chronology

(2 Famous forgeries and unlikely Lewis literature)



“The Man Born Blind” written by Lewis in the late 1920s, according to Barfield


“The Most Substantial People” novel begun by Lewis circa 1927


2 “Encyclopedia Boxoniana” allegedly started by Lewis in September


2 “Encyclopedia Boxoniana” allegedly finished by Lewis in April



Purchase of the Kilns by the Lewis brothers and Mrs. Moore


C.S. Lewis and Warren Lewis separately embrace Christianity

Walter Hooper born March 27 in Reidsville, North Carolina


2 Master forger Thomas J. Wise, England’s “Prince of Bibliographers,” exposed


Out of the Silent Planet published

2The Dark Tower allegedly written by Lewis as sequel to Silent Planet



Publication of The Screwtape Letters makes Lewis a popular author


Lewis delivers warning, “The Inner Ring”


2 “Mussolini’s diary” forgery fools the Sunday Times


Publication of C.S. Lewis, Apostle to Skeptics by Chad Walsh (first Lewis study)



2 Lewis allegedly writes “Finchley Avenue”

Joy Davidman Gresham’s first letter to Lewis


Lewis invites Roger Lancelyn Green to write his future biography


Mrs. Hooker poses as Lewis’s wife


Hooper receives his B.A. and enters the United States army


Hooper’s first letter to Lewis, expressing appreciation

Lewis accepts chair at University of Cambridge, departs University of Oxford


Lewis’s first year at University of Cambridge


Civil marriage of C. S. Lewis and Joy Davidman Gresham in April

Hooper leaves the army and begins graduate studies

Joy’s cancer strikes


Lewis’s bedside marriage in March, Joy’s gradual recovery

Hooper receives M.A., enters seminary

Hooper’s second letter to Lewis, hoping to meet Lewis someday


“Forms of Things Unknown” idea appears on cover of American magazine


Hooper leaves Virginia Episcopal Seminary, teaches in a boys’ boarding school



= Death of Joy Davidman Gresham Lewis


A Grief Observed published

Hooper begins teaching at the University of Kentucky


Hooper’s third and fourth letters to Lewis, requesting a 1963 meeting


2 Lewis allegedly writes “Introductory Letter”

Hooper meets Lewis June 7, lives at Exeter College during six-week summer program

Lewis’s near-fatal attack July 15 that temporarily deranges him

Hooper begins helping Lewis with correspondence

Lewis allegedly tells Hooper A Grief Observed is fiction, gives him juvenilia

Hooper sorts through Lewis’s papers alone in Cambridge in mid-August

Hooper returns to Kentucky in late August, resumes teaching

Hooper arranges to visit Lewis between semesters in January 1964

= Death of C.S. Lewis on November 22


In January Hooper moves to England, resigns from University of Kentucky

In January Hooper allegedly saves trunkloads of Lewis manuscripts from a three-day bonfire

In mid-February Hooper meets Warren Lewis for the first time

Hooper begins editing C.S. Lewis’s posthumous books, beginning with poetry

2 Publication of Poems, in which half are altered and Hooper introduces himself as Lewis’s personal secretary


Clyde S. Kilby starts Wheaton College C.S. Lewis collection (later called the Marion E. Wade Center)

Hooper is ordained an Angican priest in Oxford by a diocese in Kentucky

Someone places “Preface to Screwtape Proposes a Toast” in publisher’s files


2 Hooper includes “Forms of Things Unknown” in Of Other Worlds

2 Hooper includes “On Criticism” in Of Other Worlds

Hooper reveals existence of The Dark Tower in preface to Of Other Worlds

Light on C.S. Lewis (U.S.) incorrectly says Hooper met Lewis in 1956, lived with the brothers

Clyde Kilby meets Warren Lewis for the first time


Hooper founds C.S. Lewis collection at the Bodleian Library

Glen GoodKnight founds Mythopoeic Society (source of the journal Mythlore)


Warren twice challenges Hooper about The Dark Tower ‘s existence


Warren protests Hooper ascendancy in Lewis affairs

Henry Noel founds New York C.S. Lewis Society (source of the bulletin CSL)



Hooper becomes Co-Trustee of Lewis Estate


2 Photos of handwritten Narnia scraps appear in Imagination and the Spirit

2 Clifford Irving forgery of Howard Hughes documents exposed


Terri Williams and Carole Sperou found Portland C.S. Lewis Society (source of The Chronicle)


= Death of Warren Lewis

= Death of J.R.R. Tolkien

2 Anonymous Tolkien obituary in London’s Times (later copyrighted by Lewis Estate)

Wade Center inherits Warren Lewis’s papers

Tony Marchington enters Brasenose College in Oxford to study science

The Thirsks buy the Kilns

2 Bodleian luminary Sir Edmund Backhouse (1873-1944) exposed as criminal forger


Green/Hooper biography C.S. Lewis (includes first description of Dark Tower story)

After publication of biography, Green sees Hooper’s claims in final chapter, disapproves

“Forms of Things Unknown” praised by Hooper in biography

Colin Hardie and others preview Dark Tower in typescript


Tony Marchington visits North Carolina with Hooper

Hooper says in tape-recorded lecture that he learned to forge Lewis penmanship

Hooper visits California, tells of 1964 bonfire for the first time


Paul Ford founds Southern California C.S. Lewis Society (source of The Lamp-Post)

Anonymous purchase of the Lewis Estate from David and Douglas Gresham


2 The Dark Tower title story published and explained by Hooper

2 “The Man Born Blind” published in The Dark Tower

Fred Paxford denies bonfire story in signed letter


Publication of They Stand Together (attack upon Warren Lewis and double entendre cover)

Filming of “Through Joy and Beyond”

“Some Questions in C.S. Lewis Scholarship” in Christianity & Literature

Tony Marchington’s chemical soot analysis hoax prepared on Hooper’s typewriter


“Through Joy and Beyond” film and seminar tour, February-April

Stephen Schofield launches Canadian C.S. Lewis Journal in Surrey, England

2 Publication of Hooper’s Narnia scraps in Past Watchful Dragons

Hooper’s “A Bibliography of the Writings of C.S. Lewis” in C.S. Lewis at the Breakfast Table



Seven launched at Wade Center with Barbara Reynolds as editor

Hooper places 1200 letters in collection at Chapel Hill

Hooper’s and Barfield’s attorney warns Lindskoog not to probe any farther in print

Centaur’s Cavern charity for Mother Teresa prohibited by Lewis Estate


2 First publication of “Preface to Screwtape Proposes a Toast”

Annual Wade Center grants begin

Founding of Oxford C.S. Lewis Society


Douglas Gresham visits Wade Center

Robert Cording begins to launch Kilns Partnership

Stanley Mattson moves to Redlands, California, as a fundraiser

2 Konrad Kujau’s “Hitler diaries” forgery fools Sunday Times


Lindskoog visits the Bodleian, denied view of Hooper’s Dark Tower manuscript

C. S. Lewis stained glass window installed in Monrovia, California

Purchase of the Kilns from the Thirsks by the Kilns Partnership

2 Mark Hofmann exposed as America’s most notorious document forger


“Shadowlands” BBC film success

2 Publication of “Encyclopedia Boxoniana” (in Boxen)


2 Publication of “Modern Man and His Categories of Thought” (in Present Concerns)

Mattson launches C. S. Lewis College Foundation charity

Kilns Partnership becomes Kilns Association charity

C. F. Jones’s “Literary Detective” computer study shows Dark Tower differs from Lewis’s prose

= Death of Clyde S. Kilby (“dean of American Lewis specialists”)


= Death of Roger Lancelyn Green (Lewis’s chosen biographer)


Mattson becomes president of Kilns Association, links it to his own foundation

Hooper converts to Roman Catholicism

The C.S. Lewis Hoax published


Bogus Mattson authentication of Dark Tower fools Sunday Times in January

Lewis Legacy newsletter launched in February

Mattson stages 12-man jury trial of The C.S. Lewis Hoax in April

Hooper donates Dark Tower manuscript to the Bodleian

“Shadowlands” stage play success

= Death of Richard Hodgens (Dark Tower expert)



2 Publication of “Christian Reunion” (in Christian Reunion and Other Essays)

Mattson announces nonexistent Julius Grant chemical analysis of Dark Tower document


A. Q. Morton tests Dark Tower and “Christian Reunion,” both of mixed

= Death of Chad Walsh (first American Lewis specialist)


C. S. Lewis Petition calls for open forum on posthumous Lewis canon

Hooper’s “Supplement to Bibliography” (in C.S. Lewis at the Breakfast Table

M. J. Logsdon launches The Salinas Lewisian newsletter

= Death of Ruth Pitter (distinguished poet, Lewis’s friend )


= Death of Dom Bede Griffiths (old friend of Lewis, dedicatee of Surprised by Joy)

= Death of Jerry Daniel (editor of CSL)

= Death of Stephen Schofield (editor of Canadian C.S. Lewis Journal)


“Shadowlands” film success increases Lewis’s popularity

2 Collected Poems of C. S. Lewis

First edition of Light in the Shadowlands

Stanley Mattson engages Timothy Stoen to quash Light in the Shadowlands


Arthur C. Clarke calls for a Dark Tower probe

Nancy Cole’s bogus examination of Dark Tower manuscript


= Death of Sheldon Vanauken (old friend of Lewis, author of A Severe Mercy)


Nancy Cole’s bogus examination briefly distributed, then permanently withdrawn

= Death of Maureen Moore, Lady Dunbar of Hempriggs (Lewis’s “foster sister”)


C. S. Lewis Centenary celebrations

Publication of The C. S. Lewis Reader’s Encyclopedia

Nancy Coles’ bogus report finally released and promptly exposed

= Death of Owen Barfield (old friend of Lewis, his attorney and trustee of his estate)


= Death of John Lawlor (ex-student of Lewis at Oxford)