At 09:18 AM 3/28/2007 -0500, David Lenander wrote:
>likely David Bratman, in a review listed a devastatingly long list of
>minor errors in Wilson, many so easily corrected with minor checking
>that any confidence that the reader can have in any of the book's
>assertions must be undercut.
It certainly wasn't me. Wilson's minor inaccuracies, though numerous, seem
to me to be petty sloppiness and to shed very little light on whether he's
right or wrong about larger issues. The two aren't really connected. Some
of the best big-picture people are sloppy on facts, though a really good
one would get someone to check his facts. But Wilson's critics do have a
tendency to frantically seize on the litany of minor errors, exaggerate
their significance and the degree to which they are erroneous, and wave
them around as final proof of his worthlessness. It doesn't really follow.
>The affair of Lewis and Mrs. Moore seems to me
>so likely that those who claim it's controversial or in doubt or a
>point of debate in Wilson's book are being, themselves, willfully or
The affair seems far likelier than not, and its existence would explain a
lot about Lewis, but a fair appraisal must include that it's absolutely
unproven and is sheer guesswork.
>But the real problem is that Wilson is so convinced that
>it IS very important, and that he is so dedicated to debunking the CSL
>worship that he sees in Kay Lindskoog and, I suppose, Walter Hooper
>(how would they like being put together?) that he loses sight of his
Which makes Wilson unsuitable as the default biography, but not as a
contribution to the discussion. Some of Wilson's critics profess
bewilderment at his claim of Lewis-worship by the likes of Lindskoog and
Hooper, but it's quite plainly there.
>For most of us in the MythSoc, the
>most important and best books on the subject are Lewis's own _Surprised
>by Joy_ and Carpenter's _The Inklings_, which is essentially a bio of
>the CSL in whom we're most interested.
Surprised by Joy is an excellently-written book, and too often overlooked
as a biography, but it's very limited and partial in its view (not a
criticism, just a statement of fact). And Carpenter's Inklings is far
better about the group than it is about the individual members. I used to
reluctantly recommend Sayer as the best Lewis biography for a person who
just wants to read one, but my recommendation for that purpose is now
wholly given over to Jacobs's The Narnian.