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The Lewis Legacy-Issue 71, Winter 1997

Some of Walter Hooper's Inclusions and Omissions

In C.S. Lewis: Companion and Guide, careful readers find a few surprising inclusions and omissions. For example, Hooper tells about the Miramar Hotel in Boomemouth where the Tolkiens stayed on vacations, and lists it in his index -although it has nothing to do with Lewis. He gives an entire paragraph to the life of Fritz Gasch who married Lewis’s illustrator Pauline Baynes in 1961. But he leaves out Lewis’s well-known convert and personal friend Sheldon Vanauken, author of A Severe Mercy.
It is more understandable that Hooper omits Kathryn Lindskoog from his Who’s Who section and omits Lewis Legacy from his section on periodicals concerned with Lewis studies, since he chooses not to publicly acknowledge the existence of either one.

But why is there no entry on Walter Hooper himself in the Who’s Who section? No one else has been so prominent and influential in Lewis affairs; and according to Hooper’s accounts elsewhere, no one else was so important to Lewis before his death. Yet Hooper does not disclose anything about his life and career. Accordingly, there is no mention of his historic 1964 manuscript bonfire, the powerful Lewis Literary Estate that he has served since 1964, or the missing manuscripts he claims to have used in 1964 for editing many of Lewis’s published poems.

Hooper includes lengthy synopses of many of Lewis’s books, but does not analyze them. He gives details about 175 Lewis letters excerpted in a variety of (often minor) publications, but tells nothing about Lewis’s individual essays and stories.

Most researchers will be grateful for Hooper’s abundant inclusions but will also welcome the “Lewis encyclopedia” now well underway for Zondervan by a wide-ranging team of Lewis specialists.