Inklings Magazine of Denver, Colorado
“The unusual name Inklings was selected in the same vein as an Oxford literary company of thinkers, writers, poets and friends during and after World War II. The noted English writers C.S. Lewis, J.R.R, Tolkien, CharlesWilliams and a few of their Oxford friends gathered regularly to recitepoetry, to critique aloud each others’ writing and to invite comments and criticism. Establishing a literary forum for dialogue, discussion, and, above all, friendship, they called themselves the ‘Inklings.’ “We are in need of well-written short stories, poetry, book reviews, and essaysor feature articles on the following themes: “Comedy and the Fool”(May issue, writing deadline: March 15); “Home” August issue, writing deadline: June 15); “Mystery, Suspense and Horror/Grotesque (Nov. issue, writing deadline: Sept. 15). Please send a SASE for writer’s guidelines to Inklings, 1650 Washington St., Denver, CO 80203.”
Alas, the End is Not Near: An Ironic Convergence
The 7 April 1997 issue of Newsweek featured cult-leader “Do”Applewhite on the cover. On p. 42, in his article “Christ and Comets,”religion editor Kenneth Woodward quoted a prominent friend of The Lewis Legacy. Like Do, the Gnostics “had a secret knowledge about God, the universe, where people come from and where they are going, that is not known to the uninitiated,” says Robert Ellwood, a specialist in new American religions at the University of Southern California.
Readers who turn the page find a two-page spread with colored illustrations–an article by Tim Stoen portraying himself as a cult expert who was an innocent victim of Jim Jones 20 years ago. A photo shows Stoen today with lids lowered, face tilted toward the light, beatific smile, and hands clasped in prayer. Legacy readers may recall that thanks to a rich trove of library books and a videotaped 1993 lecture by Stoen, Lindskoog was able to construct and publish a detailed chronology of Tim Stoen’s lurid life in the spring 1995Legacy (64). Needless to say, Stoen’s real story is vastly different from his account in Newsweek. (For a free copy of the bizarre 5-page chronology, send a SASE.) It happens that Robert Ellwood wrote the warm introduction to Lindskoog’s 1994 expose Light in the Shadowlands: Protecting the Real C.S. Lewis. Tim Stoen, Stan Mattson’s friend and chosen attorney for the C. S. Lewis Foundation, immediately threatened timid Questar Publishers with a groundless nuisance suit, causing them to drop the book. Stoen once boasted in print that he is a street-fighter. He is also, like Stan Mattson, a consummate self-promoter.
Lewis Legacy on Internet
On 1 March 1997 an announcement about the Lewis Legacy appeared on MERELEWIS Digest.
From: Kenneth R. Morefield [email protected] Subject: Lewis Legacy on WWW. Beginning in March, back issues of Kathryn Lindskoog’s Lewis Legacy will be available on the internet as http://www.niu.edu/acad/english/krm/lewis.html
Right now about 1/2 of issue #70 is up, and pages are being added daily. Those interested are welcome to check out the website. Also since Ms. Lindskoog’s book has been discussed here and many subscribers do not like repeating topics, we may want to refer those with questions to this site.
This free service was offered by Professor Kenneth Morefield of the Department of English at Northern Illnois University in DeKalb, IL, and gladly accepted by editor Lindskoog. A few Legacy subscribers remain computer illiterate and don’t know the meaning of the jargon on this page. For their information, anyone with the following three tools can learn to read material on the world wide web (WWW), where all kinds of good and bad information are offered.1) a computer (glorified typewriter) 2) a modem (telephone hook-up either attached to the computer or built in) 3) Internet service provided free by one’s institution or purchased from a provider like America On Line.
To subscribe to a free international GEORGE MACDONALD e-mail discussion list, simply send a blank e-mail to [email protected] and type the following command in the SUBJECT line: SUBSCRIBE: MacDonald
MereLewis Digest: Free Lewis E-mail Every Day
C. S. Lewis was skeptical about the much-touted benefits of advanced technology, but he might have been pleased with certain aspects of E-mail. It cuts the time and cost of correspondence and provides immediate delivery. E-mail also provides a glorified form of the round-robin or group letter, such as the one that Steve Schofield used to circulate among his Lewis-related friends, including Sheldon Vanauken, Robert Siegel, Sharon Cregier, Loring Ellis, and Kathryn Lindskoog. The e-mail version of a group letter is called a “list.” The MERELEWIS list now has over 900 subscribers who receive at least one daily “posting” several pages long. Those who choose may submit comments and questions. Over 90% of “subscribers” are in the USA, but Australia, Canada, and Great Britain each have over 20 subscribers. Countries with about five subscribers include Germany, Ireland, Norway, and Singapore. Twenty other countries have one to three subscribers. Recent topics have included poetry, speculation on how Lewis would have reacted to Star Wars and cloning, Lewis’s views on Sartres and Plato, evolution, and the number of Lewis stepsons in “Shadowlands.” (Douglas Gresham is the star participant in MERELEWIS from his home in Ireland.) To subscribe, send an e-mail to [email protected] and say only SUBSCRIBE [space] MERELEWIS [space] your name (such as Joe Smith) [no period]. You will receive simple guidelines for taking part and easy instructions for unsubscribing. No one will know if you subscribe or not unless you go public by offering comments. Debra Walheim is the moderator.
War in Heaven; Fraudulence on Earth
“The telephone bell was ringing wildly, but without result, since there was no-one in the room but the corpse.” An unlikely beginning for a Christian novel written in 1930? War in Heaven is a typical Charles Williams novel. It is full of the occult and altered states of consciousness, full of Christ and His Kingdom made manifest, full of cruelty and redeeming love. It is about the struggle between a happy archdeacon and an evil publisher named Mr. Persimmons. A four-year-old boy and the Holy Grail are central to the cops-and-robbers plot. Another main character is John who wrote the Book of Revelation. There is some peculiar similarity between the real adventures of fictitious Mr. Persimmons in 1930 and the fictitious adventures of the real Carlos Castaneda circa 1970. Castaneda created such a sensation in academia and popular culture that both Time and Psychology Today ran cover stories on him. Most people have never heard that the entire phenomenon proved to be a hoax. For the bizarre facts behind this fake scholarship and naive journalism, read “Footsteps of Castaneda” on pp. 8-9. Carlos Castaneda made a fortune entertaining readers with his fictional stories, and relatively few readers guessed that he didn’t believe in the realities he was writing about. In contrast, C. S. Lewis’s friend CharlesWilliams made little money entertaining readers with his fictional stories, and relatively few readers guessed that he did believe in the realities he was writing about. Likewise, many readers have assumed that Lewis did not believe in the realities he was writing about in Screwtape Letters. But he did.
Food for Thought
In February 1997 Robert MacFarlane asked the following trivia questionin MERELEWIS:
Just reading through That Hideous Strength and came across a reference to food, I think. Has any of you heard of devilled bones? Th epassage follows: “‘No good, Sonny,’ said Miss Hardcastle. ‘We’ve got to get on with it at once. Time for one more drink and you and I’d better go up stairs and begin. We’ll get them to give us devilled bones and coffee at three.'” The quote is located on page 127 in the Scribner Classics. I thought it might be referring to devilled ham.
Kathryn Lindskoog responded:
Re Robert MacFarlane’s question about Fairy Hardcastle’s coffee and “devilled bones.” I hope someone will tell us what devilled bones really are. There used to be an Orange County branch of the Mythopoeic Society called Buckleberry. When they met at my house to discuss Screwtape, I served appropriate refreshments including devilled ham on crackers–the kind with a red devilon the label, which I displayed. To my surprise, one guest that evening was a pleasant young woman who informed us she was a practicing witch. Later, we had a meeting to discuss Charles Williams’ War in Heaven about Mr. Persimmons. I took fresh homemade persimmon cookies. (That’s the novel that begins withthe memorable sentence “The telephone bell was ringing wildly, but without result, since there was no-one in the room but the corpse.”)As Lewis said, as long as we’re on merry middle earth it’s appropriate to be merry part of the time. My new book Journey into Narnia (tentatively scheduled for late spring release) includes whimsical ideas for snacks to accompany discussions of the various Chronicles. Judging from previous successes based on fiction classics, I suppose there will be a Narnia cookbook someday!
FROM THE MAILBAG
* I have just read your letter in the Dec-Jan issue of Mythprint. I have also read your books The C.S. Lewis Hoax and Light in the Shadowlands. I may say that I find them entirely convincing. I am the more moved by your account of Hooper’s tampering with perfectly good Lewis poems, because of an experience of my own. I was executor and copyright owner of the work of my friend, who was an artist and a poet. A book was in preparation containing a series of her paintings and the poetry she had written about each. The publisher, ill-advisedly in my opinion, enlisted the aid of an officious part-time lecturer in English at the local college, who undertook to “improve” the poems, “to present her at her best”. I don’t think he knew what my friend was talking about in the poems; certainly he could not read them aloud properly. I did not think his changes were improvements at all; I believe my friend was much the better poet. Her work has been published as she wrote it. -Name Withheld, Canada
* Certainly enjoyed Legacy 71 – Bebe and I read our copy cover to cover the night it arrived! -Dean Picton, Hollywood, FL
* I’m glad to see Walter is now telling the truth about A Grief Observed. Thanks for including Neuhouser’s insightful piece on CSL and MacDonald. It’s good to see the connections. Thanks also for including dear Virginia Ottoson’s letter. What a jewel. I didn’t know that she had departed for Aslan’s country – ten years ago already. What a sweetheart she was/is. I still cherish the profound and beautiful card she sent me when my sister died in 1981. -Gracis Fay Ellwood, Altadena, CA
* My field was medieval comparative literature… I’ve taught occasional courses in fantasy literature (LeGuin/ Lewis/ Tolkien: series and trilogies), so have done all that mad-vacuum-cleaner kind of reading one does as course preparation: all of the primary material plus everything one can lay hands on to gain a little depth, breadth… If only I were a Lewis authority I could perhaps be of more use in spreading your findings. You’ve certainly published a convincing case. C.S. Lewis scholars should be leaping at the chance to clarify issues and to clear out ideas Hooper appears to have invented. My oldest son Sam has made a study of hoaxes (among many other research projects) and came upon your book The C.S. Lewis Hoax in a Christian book catalog he regularly receives. He read it with interest and asked me if in my teaching I had come across it. I hadn’t, but with my interest in Lewis I very much wanted to read it. I got a copy via interlibrary loan, read it, and talked over points with Sam, who has a rigorous and generally hoax-proof mind, and we both found our instincts/ear for truth/whatever…believing your argument and becoming steadily more averse to Hooper’s odd claims. Neither of us ever cared for The Dark Tower, but then, we hadn’t been wild about Perelandra, as science fiction, either, though with Perelandra we’d found the allegory lucid and had felt the cast of mind behind it akin to that behind the Narnia series – as being Lewis, in short. Alice-in-Wonderland-fashion, I got curiouser and curiouser, and so [my husband] and I began trying to find you… -Ruth Harrison, Walport,OR
* Just purchased: Providence and Evil (Cambridge, 1977) by Peter T. Geach (husband of Elizabeth Anscombe); he quotes CSL 10 times, mostly from Problem of Pain – sometimes disagrees, sometimes agrees with his arguments…-Perry Bramlett, Louisville, KY
* In the editor’s C.S. Lewis Hoax we read that Lewis named Mrs. Moore Minto because of her liking for the sweet (candy) of the same name. But I am not sure this is true. Lewis borrowed many elements from Edith Nesbit’s children’s stories to help him create his own chldren’s stories. In Nesbit’s “Five of Us and Madeline” we read, “Olive and Alan and Charlie enjoyed travelling just by their three selves. It was jolly, as well as being rather grand. A lady with a tight mouth like a letter-box slit [a simile in Lewis’s Pilgrim’s Regress and The Silver Chair] met them at the station. She said: ‘I am Miss Minto. I hope you will be good children, ‘right out loud and right before the passengers and the porter, and the guard who had been so nice and talked to them at every station. Then she gave them her horrid hand to shake, and it was like a black kid skin.” Somaybe this is what influenced Lewis to name Mrs. Moore Minto and not the candy. -Jonathan Brewer, St. Columb, Cornwall
* There’s always something new to learn! -George Gorniak Grayswood, Surrey
* The spring sky over Oxfordshire today is pale Madonna blue with flecks of pink and grey clouds. Walter Hooper lives in what we call here a mid-terracehouse (US: ‘row-house’). It was built in 1824, has a red front door witha lion door knocker. According to an estate agent in Oxford, the Georgian terrace houses on that road have 2 or 3 bedrooms. Price varies, depending on whether there is an attic room, or if there is a basement (that’s what the British call a cellar). They very seldom come on the market, one every few years. Price: 125,000 to 160,000 and rising. -Name Withheld, England
* Suppose you want to fake a letter from Benedict Arnold. You practice the handwriting with the kind of pen he used. But then you have to find an 18th century ink recipe and make it, then you have to find 18th century paper with the correct watermark. The ink would feather softly on the old paper, but maybe the feathering will not be noticed. You still have to deal with the evidence from provenance. You’d need a logical trail of clues for the existence of that specific letter; it would have to go from 1997 back to Arnold’s lifetime. How could you lay that trail of clues? In the chain of evidences that must hang together, handwriting is the weakest link becauseit is the easiest to fake. Provenance is the hardest to fake, unless you have a Time machine. A way for a faker to avoid the problem of provenance is by going for drama. The hope is that people will look at the drama and miss the fact that there is no provenance further back than a few years. A dramatic story gets good press coverage. A lost Gainsborough suddenly comes to light in an aristocrat’s attic. A rare book dealer opens a closet and a bundle of medieval parchments drops out on his head. A collector of Roman jewelry rummages about in a garage sale and finds a genuine antique cameo in his hand. A little lady toddles into a shop to have a frame removed from an old painting, and an expert in Caravaggio who just happens to be there recognises a Caravaggio. You’ve heard stories like that. The factis, a dramatic provenance makes a good newspaper story but bad evidence. Of all the tests for authenticating a manuscript, handwriting is the weakest and a dramatic provenance is a cause for suspicion. -E. Shyaty, Oxfordshire,England
* Roger Stronstad got me to review a copy of Maisie Ward’s biography of Chesterton that had been the personal property of A.L. Rowse. He had scribbled his opinions (almost always contemptuous of both Ward and Chesterton) liberally throughout the book, so I was reviewing Rowse himself as much as Ward. I don’t have a very high opinion of Rowse, so I enjoyed writing the review. It will appear in the Canadian C. S. Lewis Journal eventually, no doubt. -Charles Wrong, Vancouver, Canada
* What a pleasure to see you pop up on the MERELEWIS list!… I managed to find [Light in the Shadowlands] in the Columbia University library. I must say that I thought you made a pretty good case that, at the very least, there is something odd about the whole thing. Are you a Peter Wimsey fan? In one of the stories Dorothy L. Sayers has Lord Peter describing a social-climbing character as “a bit of an ampelopsis1, what?” Your account of some of Mr. Hooper’s antics called that to mind. Of course we are major grateful to him for digging out all those essays, especially CSL’s eulogy for Dorothy L. Sayers. I recall years ago, in the mid-70’s, what delight I had in coming across The Lion of Judah in Never-Never Land. What a wonderful book! I remember thinking at the time that no one to date seemed to have picked up on the fact that “Emeth” in Hebrew means “truth.” I find Reflections on the Psalms to be the one book of his that I really can’t stand–being Jewish, I see him reading it from such a different sensibility than Jews read it. But clearly he was a pretty good sport when the stepson [David Gresham] got interested in Judaism–there’s an interesting account in Irene Roth’s biography of Cecil Roth about CSL’s attempts to help out. -Freda Birnbaum, New York, NY
1ampelopsis: a plant of the Ampelopsis family related to vines, especially Virginia creepers.
* Picking up the address from a recent Legacy I arranged to meet with Douglas Gresham at his home in Ireland for an afternoon in October . It was a memorable afternoon. He gave us a copy of Hooper’s Companion and Guide and for my two grandsons–a copy of Pauline Baynes’ lovely new Book of Narnians. He put a note in each book and was indeed grateful that we took the time to seek him out in the middle of Ireland. -Jack LeBrun, San Anselmo, CA
* Analyzing for Authorship has attracted a modicum of attention. It’s the legal applications which have aroused the most interest — Michael [Farringdon] has been asked to appear in the Appeal Court in Australia next August. Literary circles appear hostile and defensive so far. I wonder how Lewis would have reacted to it? As someone who cared about truth, he would surely have seen its advantages… -Jill Farringdon, Swansea, Wales
* Just a quick note. I have been reading the Narnia stories and found a reference to a Chronoscope, the name of the Dark Tower viewing machine. It occurs in the Dawn Treader story, near the end of the chapter about the island with the invisible, uglified people. It’s in a list of tools in the magician’s house. -James Long, Sunnyvale CA
* I am a reader and rereader of C. S. Lewis’s books, including Pilgrim’s Regress, and so was glad to see the review of Finding the Landlord in Mythlore. I ordered it immediately and spent yesterday happily transferring information from it into the narrow, yellowed margins of my Macmillan paperback edition. (I wrote small.) -Bob Eberwein, Terre Haute, IN
RECENT BOOKS BY LEGACY READERS
Reviewed by Gracia Fay Ellwood
The Logia of Yeshua: The Sayings of Jesus, Guy Davenport & Benjamin Urrutia, trs., Counterpoint, Washington. D.C., 1996, xxi 67 pp., hardback, $14.00.
This new translation of 105 sayings of Jesus, in an elegant slim volume with a ribbon marker, offers a fresh look at some of Jesus’ aphorisms and stories. It includes well known ones from the four gospels, as well as others from the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel according to the Hebrews, the Oxyrhynchus Papyrus, and other sources.
The Jesus who emerges is a sympathetic figure whose God is concerned about the destitute (not merely the working poor but ptochoi, those who have nothing) and who as the father of the prodigal son overflows with love for both his sons. This compassion is based on perception of the divine in one’s fellow: “You have seen your brother, you have seen your God”(p. 30) “A pearl lost in mud is not less valuable” (p. 30). But this Jesus is also cutting in his criticism of those who misuse religion: “If you haven’t understood the alef, how can you teach others the beth?”(p. 3); “They choke on a gnat and swallow a camel” (p. 34); “How can you say, I have kept the law and the prophets, when it is written in the law: You shall love your neighbor as yourself? And look, many sons of Abraham, your brothers, are clothed in filth and dying of hunger, while your house is full of good things” (p. 11).
There are some surprises: Jesus objects to eating animal flesh at passover(pp. 45 46); the Samaritan of the parable is rendered a Palestinian (p.42); it is not the Pharisees per se who are denounced but the House of Shammai (pp. 32 33).
No translator can please everyone, and there are bound to be readers who miss their favorites or are dissatisfied with this or that wording. But this collection, with its vitality and its respect for the Jewishness of Jesus, goes far to make the overly familiar mew again.
Barricade Summer by Nancy Lou Patterson. 1996. The Brucedale Press, Box 2259, Port Elgin, Ontario, Canada, NOH 2CO. 197 pages paperback, $14.95.
Nancy Lou Patterson, artist and longtime Lewis scholar, has given us another wonderful book for young people. Like The Painted Hallway, her Barricade Summer sends us adventuring with a young Canadian girl seeking to unweave the mystery of an “old, unhappy, faroff thing,” a romance long ago on the Bruce peninsula in Ontario. Elizabeth wants to know why the Scottish naturalist didn’t come back to claim his goods, why the once lovely Flora Fitzgerald turned into the prickly, reclusive owner of the local emporium, why the hermit in the clearing is so full of rage. Elizabeth and her adopted NativeAmerican brothers look for answers amid the symbols in the old cemetery and the deserted Orange Lodge building, in the naturalist’s books and journal, and in the beautiful woods and cliffs of the peninsula. Elizabeth nearly loses her life when she falls upon the answer.
The Pilgrim Self by Robert Ellwood. 1996. Quest Books, Theosophical Publishing House, P. 0. Box 270, Wheaton, Illinois, 60189. Paperback, 159 pages, $12.00.
This book presents in evocative, poetic language the spiritual meaning of the various stages of life, from childhood to adolescence, young adulthood, middle age, old age, death and beyond. They are correlated with the stages of the spiritual journey as presented by Evelyn Underhill: Awakening, Purgation, Illumination, the Dark Night of the Soul, and the Unitive State. The overall perspective is Theosophical, seeing an individual lifetime as part of an immense pilgrimage through many worlds and aeons back to the divine Presence from which we came.
NEWS AND VIEWS
* “Fakes, Frauds and Forgeries in the World of Books,” a panel at 11:30 a.m. on Monday 2 June 1997 at the American Booksellers convention in Chicago. (To follow “The Power of Story,” featuring Walt Wangerin.)
* Dr. David Neuhouser, author of “George MacDonald and C. S. Lewis” in Legacy 71, will present a three-session seminar on George MacDonald on2-6 July 1997 at the annual Cornerstone Arts Festival (related to Cornerstone Press Chicago).
* The Dorothy L. Sayers Society will hold its annual convention for the first time in America, at Wheaton College on 4-7 July 1997, It will highlight the detective novels (especially Gaudy Night and The Nine Tailors) and The Man Born To Be King (Sayers’s radio drama on the life of Christ).
* Richard Hill is planning a Lewis/Inklings conference at Taylor University (Upland IN 46989), possibly on 14-15 November 1997. Fax (317) 998-0636; Phone(317)998-0636; E-mail [email protected]
* The fall 1998 issue of Christian Scholars’ Review will present “A Retrospective: C.S. Lewis as Scholar, Literary Critic, Social Critic, and Writer.” Guest editor is Don King of Montreat College, where the southeast regional meeting of the Conference on Christianity and Literature will feature C, S, Lewis in April 1998. Papers are being considered: E-mail:[email protected]
* According to the Wade Center, several different film companies are in the beginning stages of creating documentaries on Lewis.
* The latest issue of The Lamp-Post of the Southern California C. S. Lewis Society includes a rave review of Nancy Cole’s manuscript essay attacking Lindskoog. For an amazing 6-page list of the factual errors in that essay, send a SASE or an e-mail request. See Legacy 73 for the wonderful new forgery evidence accidentally provided by Cole. STOP AND SHOP
* Inklings magazine: Individual copies are available for $4 each. Subscriptions are $15 per year (4 issues), $28 for two issues (8 issues).Address on p. 1. Legacy 73 will feature a special article from Inklings by Barbara Linville, co-leader of the annual Lewis tour advertised on p.1 of this issue.
* I, ed. Robin Myers and Michael Harris (Oak Knoll Press, 1996). Hardcover, $35.00, telephone 1-800-996-2556, fax (302) 328-7274. The essays collected here throw light on some of the more shadowy areas of book trade history, revealing the tricksters, villains–even murderers–who have practiced deception in the written and printed word, from the 12th century to veryrecent times Chapters include essays on “The Forgery of Printed Documents” by Nicolas Barker, “Forged Handwriting” by Tom Davis, “Paper Pirates” by Michael Harris, and aspects of all the great forgers.
PRAYERS FROM AROUND THE WORLD (Ludderworth Press, 1990, 6.95) Illustrated by Pauline Baynes
Thanks Be to God
Bless the minnow, bless the whale, Bless the rainbow and the hail, Bless the nest and bless the leaf, Bless the righteous and the thief.
Bless the wing and bless the fin, Bless the air I travel in, Bless the mill and bless the mouse, Bless the miller’s bricken house.
Bless the earth and bless the sea, God bless you and God bless me.
NOTES AND QUOTES
* I dreamed that Maureen was in danger of being carried off by Tartars. The power to take her resting, apparently on some political or financial necessity. For when I suggested resistance or concealment, D. told me “You know that is impossible.” Awoke from this dream in a curious way. I was worried and turning over various plans when suddenly I said, “It’s a dream,” as if that were one more plan of escape. –C.S. Lewis, on p. 109 of the Lewis Family Papers, dated Thursday the 26th (April 1923)
* I continue to pray for you with the conviction that with every new disaster, grace somehow shows a way out, though it may be a way out of this world. -Bede Griffiths, letter from India to Kathryn Lindskoog, 30 June1987
* Robert Runcie, the Reluctant Archbishop (Hodder & Stoughton, 1996). Humphrey Carpenter, biographer of J.R.R. Tolkien and son of the Bishop of Oxford who did not grant Lewis permission to marry Joy, has published an authorized biography of the former Archbishop that appalls and humiliates him. (Carpenter openly ridiculed Stephen Schofield and Kathryn Lindskoog in a review of In Search of C. S. Lewis in The Spectator in1984.) Runcie trusted Carpenter because he admired The Inklings (1978), and Runcie had even spoken at the Requiem Mass for Carpenter’s father in1993. Enter rival biographer and humiliator A. N. Wilson, who promptly published a scathing article about Carpenter in the Evening Standard, denouncing his new book as “scurrilous.” Wilson diagnosed Carpenter as suffering from a patricide complex (also Wilson’s diagnosis of Lewis): “There was unfinished Freudian business which Carpenter had to settle with the Church.” Wilson said Carpenter dashes “hither and yon, exuding sweat, halitosis and dandruff.” –The Observer, 15 September 1996
A CHANGE OF AGES The Making of an Oxford College
Edited by Christopher Minns (Oxford: St. Peter’s College, 1996)
JIM BALE, CLASS OF 1950
How wonderful – to have the chance to reminisce about my Oxford experienceof forty-five yearsago … memories come flooding back … music, books,friends, the river … Most of my generation came straight to Oxford fromNational Services in the armed forces, determined to recreate and enjoythe post-war Oxford of our adolescent imaginings. So out with austerity(though we had to queue each Friday after breakfast at the Butler’s Pantryfor our one cupful of sugar and two ounces of butter to see us through studyteas for the week!), and in with freedom to enjoy the riches of Oxford life….Some lecturers, such as C. S. Lewis, stick in the memory. On the morningsof his lectures, the great Hall of the English Schools would be packed (thenumbers swelled by refugee scientists and geographers and other “lesserbreeds”). As the Merton clock chimed the hour outside, he would clompdown the center aisle, brown boots echoing on the wooden floor, his gownhanging half off the shoulder of his tweed suit, and his huge, ruddy faceglowing like a n Ulster farmer’s at harvest time. He would stand with oneelbow propped on the lecturn and, without a page of notes, would hold usspellbound, quoting, from memory, authors we barely knew by name. He lovedto give series with titles like “A Prolegomenon to Renaissance Poetry”, and for an hour would carry us off to fourteenth century Britain and France- the sights, sounds, smells, loves and passions. One would emerge, blinking,into the sunlit High Street and stare, disbelieving, at big red busses, like returning time travelers, so vividly had we lived in another century.
Thanks to Robert Sellers, rector of St. Stephen’s Church in Liberty, TX, for contributing this item.
TWO ITEMS FROM MERELEWIS DIGEST
Dr. Ed Brown of Indianapolis grants Legacy permission to print the following message he sent to the 900 MERELEWIS subscribers on 28 February 1997 in answer to someone’s question about Lewis’s view of angels:
[H]ere is an unpublished quote from a letter to D. J. Lake at Trinity College, Cambridge, dated Feb. 8, 1950: “I think the process is: Planets are gods in ancient poetry–and intelligences in Aristotle. Angels are ‘gods’ in the Old Testament and Milton. Cambridge Platonists (and Florentine Platonists) identify both Platonic demons and ancient gods with Christian angels. Why not accept this identification – and incidentally try to rescue the angels from the feminine and sentimental associations that have grown since then.” (This letter was folded into a much-used copy of Out of the Silent Planet which I acquired recently.) The last sentence of this letter relates to a comment in the preface to The Screwtape Letters, ending with: “The literary symbols (for angels) are more dangerous because they are not so easily recognized as symbolical. Those of Dante are the best. Before his angels we sink in awe.” I am very pleased to announce that my Lewis collection of first editions and related material, together with collections of MacDonald, Williams, Barfield, and Sayers, now reposes at Taylor University, thanks to the generosity of two of Taylor’s greatbenefactors (husband and wife)–and will be dedicated at a ceremony on March 12th at 4:00 p.m., to which the public is invited. This core collection is just the beginning of what all concerned plan to develop into a major Lewis study center.
Date: Mon, 7 Apr 1997 Dear MereLewis Friends,
I wanted to bring Dr. John G. West Jr., director of the Religion, Liberty, and Civic Life Program at the Seattle-based Discovery Institute, to your attention. He recently delivered the annual Russell Kirk Memorial lecture at the Heritage Foundation in Washington. His address on Religion and Public Life was excellent and the transcript will soon be available online. However, Dr. West also wrote a wonderful article entitled “Politics from the Shadowlands: C.S. Lewis on Earthly Government” for the magazine Policy Review: The Journal of American Citizenship, in the Spring of1994. I recommend it. Both are found at the Heritage Website (www.heritage.org) or I will fax/send you a copy.
Patrick Wilson U.S. House of Representatives Washington, DC [email protected]
C.S. LEWIS WORKSHOP, JUNE 1997
The fourth annual Understanding C. S. Lewis Workshop is scheduled for June 26-28, 1997, on the campus of Bowling Green State University. Bowling Green, Ohio, is located 30 mi. due south of Toledo, OH, at Exit 181 of I-75,in NW Ohio. The Bowling Green area is served by both the Toledo and Detroit airports. The workshop enrollment limit is 40 persons and usually is full by early May. College credit, both undergraduate and graduate, is available. This workshop is designed to be a comprehensive introduction to Lewis, and general readers, aspiring writers, teachers, pastors, and other professionals will gain insights into Lewis’s prowess as a literary scholar, science-fiction novelist, Christian apologist, and children’s fantasist. We have a range of participants from the well-read to the novice, and have had 12 year olds and 73 year olds in our workshop. Workshop Leaders: Dr. Bruce Edwards, Dr. Carolyn Keefe, Dr. Marvin Hinten Edwards is the author of two books and numerous articles on the life and work of Lewis, and currently is Director of BGSU’s graduate program in English. He wrote his doctoral dissertation on Lewis and has lectured widely on Lewis’s life and times at universities and churches across the U. S. and Australia. Dr. Edwards regularly features Lewis’s works in his undergraduate and graduate classes at BGSU. Dr. Keefe is a veteran Lewis scholar, who edited one of the first scholarly texts on Lewis, C. S. Lewis: Speaker and Teacher. Dr. Hinten is a recent graduate of BGSU, and wrote his dissertation on the allusions and parallels in the Chronicles of Narnia under Dr. Edward” direction.
Workshop Topics * How best to read Lewis in order to become more fully acquainted with his many-faceted career. * Lewis’s writing techniques and how they serve the interests of writers and teachers. * Lewis’s early childhood and adolescence and the impact events there in had on his conversion and adult literary career. * The relationship between Lewis’s apologetics and his fiction. * How to teach Lewis in the school, college, or church classroom, and why he may be the West’s most important cultural critic at the end of the 20th Century. * What the devotional reader of Lewis should know about his scholarly works. * Who influenced Lewis’s writing and how he has influenced other careers. * Lewis’s relationships with the Inklings, that band of writers, including Tolkien, who critiqued each other’s work–and ideas. * How to pursue publishable, popular, and scholarly work on Lewis and the Inklings.
Who might benefit by this Lewis workshop? *Lewis enthusiasts and aspiring writers who would like a more global knowledge of his life and work, and who would enjoy meeting like-minded others and engage in mutual, thoughtful inquiry. * Teachers who would like to know better how to introduce their students to Lewis and use his works in their classrooms. * Students and church members who seek insight into Lewis’s theology, apologetics, and biography. * Pastors and church education directors who would like to understand the foundations of Lewis’s thought and their relationship to contemporary theology.
For registration information, contact: Judy Donald, Continuing Education, Bowling Green State University, 419-372-8181 or e-mail her at [email protected]
ABOUT MARY NEYLAN Passages in Two Letters to Warren Lewis
31 December 1939-My expupil Mrs. Neyian dragged me into college to meet her and give her tea yesterday, over half frozen snow … but with some reward for I think it was “to profit”. You remember her, she teaches at Dartington Hall, coeducation, no punishments and no obedience expected unless the reason for the order can be made clear to the child. She now has a child of her own and flnds it all won’t work and is beginning to doubt the whole Dartington system, and what with that and the general stress of things, is just beginning to throw out a tentative feeler in the direction of Christianity (she is a gratifyingly constant rereader of the Regress). A very much edited account of the conversation which I gave to Minto on returning (frankly to explain why I was so late) produced the characteristic and now immovable conviction that “that fool woman wanted you – of all people, to tell her how to bring up a baby.”
29 March 1940-This week I received a letter from my former pupil Mrs. Neylan (the Dartington Hall mistress) who is trembling on the verge of Christianity–admits that the issue “can no longer be avoided”–and asks what to read and (more difficult still) who to see. I felt almost overwhelmed by the responsibility of my reply, and naturally the more because the two other people whose conversion had something to do with me became papists! After writing at great length I fortunately reread her letter and discovered that, owing to her omission of inverted commas, I had wholly misunderstood one of her points (will anything teach women to punctuate) so I had to do nearly the whole job over again. The letter’s gone now. I suppose if God intends to have Mrs. Neylan it won’t make much difference what I’ve written!-yet that is a dangerous argument wh. wd. Iead to it’s not mattering what you did in any circumstances. _______
Lewis’s hopes were fulfilled. Mrs. Neylan became a Christian believer and was a friend of Lewis’s for the rest of his life. In 1947 he dedicated his George MacDonald anthology to her. She kept her sketch of him framed on her wall and treasured his letters to her and her memories of him. When Kathryn Lindskoog visited Mary Neylan on 13 June 1984, she lived alone in an apartment on the grounds of an old estate in Godstone, Surrey, with a panoramic view. Several weeks later, Lindskoog sent Neylan a copy of the two paragraphs above. She replied, “I can’t agree with Minto! No one in the world better to discuss first principles with than CSL.”
CONCERNING SARAH NEYLAN Mary Neylan’s Daughter, Lewis’s Goddaughter
C. S. Lewis, Letters to Children (1985) begins with a letter he wrote to little Sarah Neylan on 16 July 1944. He began, “Thank you very much for sending me the pictures of the Fairy King and Queen at tea (or is it breakfast?) in their palace and all the cats (what a lot of cats they have! And a separate table for them. How sensible!)” He told her about the rabbit he named Baron Biscuit and included a limerick about himself and the rabbit.
His next letter to Sarah included drawings. More letters spanned the years, and they greatly enrich Letters to Children. One of them was memorable pastoral counsel he sent when she was confirmed. He included with that one a note to her mother.
On 16 January 1954 Lewis wrote Sarah a letter in which he happened to remark, “I’ve been reading Pride and Prejudice on and off all my life and it doesn’t wear out a bit.” “Where I grew up the great thing was Halloween (eve of All Saints Day).”
On 27 December 1955 he remarked in a letter, “When I last saw your father and mother, mice were weighing rather heavily on their minds. I should think the population runs into millions by now. Love to them (I mean your parents, tho’ of course I don’t mind-at a distance-including the mice too) and yourself and all good wishes for 1956…”
Dec 30th, 1956
My Dear Sarah Thank you for the beautiful little jar. I am trying to think of some treasure choice enough to put in it. I am also v. ashamed of not having sent you a card this Christmas. but I’ve been really snowed under. All domestic help was away for its holidays. I have a (v. sick) wife to visit daily in hospital. At home I had to look after a sickx brother,2 schoolboy stepsons, one dog, one cat, four geese, umpteen hens, two stoves, three pipes in danger of freezing; so I was pretty busy and pretty tired. Well, all good wishes to all of you and here’s a new-year’s gift.
With Love C. S. Lewis
xSICK. It looks like RICH (he isn’t!)
On 21 November 1960 Lewis sent Sarah a wedding gift and warm personal wishes, explaining that he could not bear to attend her wedding at that time because of his recent loss. That is his last letter to Sarah in Letters to Children.