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C.S. Lewis FAQ

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  • Steve Hayes
    The following list of frequently asked questions was compiled for the newsgroup alt.books.cs-lewis. It may be a bit out of date, but some of it is still
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 20 4:03 AM
      The following list of frequently asked questions was compiled for the
      newsgroup alt.books.cs-lewis. It may be a bit out of date, but some of it is
      still relevant for readers of the Neoinklings forum.

      Frequently Asked Questions


      Compiled by Andrew Rilstone (faq@...)

      With input from: Rick Freeman, Douglas Gresham, Sylvia Steiger, M.J..
      Logsdon, Penelope Wythes, Anne K Sorknes, and others.

      1 Introduction
      1.1 What is alt.books.cs-lewis?
      1.2 What is alt.books.cs.lewis?
      1.3 What is appropriate to post to alt.books.cs-lewis?
      1.4 What type of messages are regarded as inappropriate?
      1.5 Is alt.books.cs-lewis a "Christian" group?
      1.6 I don't like the works of Lewis. Is it okay for me to post here?
      1.7 Are there any other on-line sources of information about C.S Lewis?
      1.8 Where can I download the text of C.S Lewis's books from?
      1.9 C.S Lewis...didn't he write Alice in Wonderland? What's this I hear
      about him taking indecent pictures of little girls?

      2. Questions about C.S. Lewis and his life.
      2.1 Who was C.S. Lewis?
      2.2 Why was C.S. Lewis known as 'Jack'?
      2.3 Who was Mrs. Moore?
      2.4 Who is Walter Hooper? What is his connection with Lewis?
      2.5 Is the Douglas Gresham who occassionally posts to this group related
      to the Joy Gresham who Lewis married?
      2.6 What was Shadowlands?
      2.61 What does the title Shadowlands mean?
      2.62 Was Shadowlands an accurate portrayal of Lewis's life?
      2.63 Why does Lewis have two stepsons in the TV version of Shadowlands
      and only one in the movie?
      2.64 Did C.S. Lewis really lose his faith after the death of his wife?
      2.65 What became of David Gresham?
      2.7 What biographies have been written about C.S. Lewis? Are they
      2.8 What C.S. Lewis related sites are open to the public?
      2.9 Why is Magdalen College sometimes spelt with an 'e' on the end?

      3 Questions about C.S. Lewis's writings
      3.1 What did C.S. Lewis write?
      3.11 Academic Books
      3.12 Books About Christianity
      3.13 Poetry
      3.14 Fiction, Allegory, Imaginative Works.
      3.15 Autobiography
      3.16 Letters

      3.2 Questions about The Narnia Books
      3.21 Why is my set of the Narnia books numbered in the wrong order?
      3.22 Is Narnia an allegory?
      3.23 I have an idea for a new Narnia book. Who should I write to for
      permission to publish it?
      3.24 Is it true that there are differences in the British and American
      editions of the Narnia books?
      3.25 What film and TV versions of Lewis's books have there been?
      3.26 What's this I hear about a new movie of The Lion, the Witch and the
      3.27: What is Turkish delight?

      3.3: Questions About Lewis's other works

      3.31: What was The C.S. Lewis Hoax?
      3.32 Is 'Screwtape Proposes a Toast' a sequel to The Screwtape Letters?
      3.33 Is there any more posthumous Lewis material awaiting publication?
      3.34 Are there any tapes of Lewis speaking available?
      3.35: Were Lewis's proofs of the existence of God from Miracles refuted
      by Elizabeth Anscombe?
      3.36: What's this I hear about a new movie of Out of the Silent Planet

      4: Questions about Lewis's Beliefs
      4.1 Was Lewis a Roman Catholic? Didn't he believe in Purgatory?
      4.2: What did Lewis think about the Bible? Was he a fundamentalist?

      1 Introduction

      1.1 What is alt.books.cs-lewis?
      Alt.books.cs-lewis exists to discuss anything to do with the life and
      works of the great English fantasist, scholar and Christian writer,
      Clive Staples Lewis.

      1.2 What is alt.books.cs.lewis?
      This seems to be a 'phantom' group that was created by a Usenet gremlin.
      There is no point in posting to this group, as all the traffic goes
      through alt.books.cs-lewis.

      1.3 What is appropriate to post to alt.books.cs-lewis?
      Anything directly related to or arising from Lewis and his works. For

      Commentaries, appreciations or criticism of Lewis fiction.
      Assessments of the validity or otherwise of Lewis's political, literary
      and theological arguments.
      Stories and anecdotes relating to Lewis's life.
      Matters arising from our shared interest in Lewis's work, in the spirit
      of the Inklings and the Socratic Club.

      1.4 What type of messages are regarded as inappropriate?
      Obscene, personally insulting, offensive or libelous material.
      Get rich quick schemes, commercial adverts, and other "spam".
      Tracts, sermons, "prophecies", essays and other general religious
      material with no direct relevance to C.S. Lewis.
      Messages cross-posted to other usenet groups.
      Over-zealous attempts by Christian posters to "witness" to non-Christian
      members of the group
      General discussion of religious, literary or political subjects.

      This last rule is more honoured in the breach than the observance: many
      people have commented that alt.books.cs-lewis is one of the most
      interesting and friendly discussion sites on the net However, on the
      whole we like to keep discussion fairly focused on Lewis's life and
      works; although threads can wander off the point, we take a dim view of
      people who start discussion threads on general issues with no specific
      Lewis connection. As with any group, lurk for a few days and you'll get
      the hang of what is and isn't acceptable.

      1.5 Is alt.books.cs-lewis a 'Christian' group?
      No. Many contributors to alt.books.cs-lewis belong, like Lewis himself,
      to the Christian faith. However, we also receive regular postings from
      Jews, atheists, agnostics, new-agers and people who either haven't got
      any particular religious affiliation or else don't mention it. Anyone
      wanting to talk about Lewis's works is welcome.

      1.6 I don't like the works of Lewis. Is it okay for me to post here?
      We don't like "flamebait" or offensive messages, but we welcome
      interesting critiques of Lewis by people who don't like or don't agree
      with his works.

      1.7 Are there any other on-line sources of information about C.S Lewis?

      On Usenet:
      alt.books.inklings:----Discussion about the Oxford literary circle of
      which Lewis was a part
      alt.fan.tolkien, rec.arts.books.tolkien ----Discussion of the works of
      Lewis's friend J.R.R. Tolkien

      On the web:
      Into the Wardrobe http://cslewis.drzeus.het/
      Probably the best starting point for Lewisian web-surfing..

      C.S Lewis Mega-Links Page: http:// ic.net/~erasmus/raz26.htm/
      An exhaustive supply of Lewis related links, as well as a full

      Lewis Common Room: http://www.sonic.net/mary/testo12.htm
      A selective archive of alt.books.cs-lewis

      This FAQ can be found at The Socratic Page http://www.aslan.demon.co.uk/

      Mailing List
      MereLewis is a mailing list dedicated to Jack and his works. To
      subscribe to MereLewis, send email to LISTSERV@..., leave
      the subject line blank, and in the body type 'subscribe merelewis
      <name>' with no quotes, and replace <name> with your name.

      1.8 Where can I download the text of C.S Lewis's books from?
      In Europe, C.S Lewis's books will enter the public domain 70 years after
      his death, that is to say, January 1st, 2034. In the US, the books will
      enter the public domain 75 years after their publication: for example,
      you will be free to publish The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe on the
      net from January 1st 2020. Until that time, anyone publishing his works
      on the net (without permission from the executors of his estate) would
      be guilty of a serious breach of copyright.

      1.9 C.S Lewis...didn't he write Alice in Wonderland? What's this I here
      about him taking indecent pictures of little girls?
      You are confusing C.S Lewis with that other great English children's
      author, Lewis Carrol. Please go away. :)

      2. Questions about C.S. Lewis and his life.
      2.1 Who was C.S. Lewis?
      C.S. Lewis was born in Belfast in 1898. He was educated in England,
      first at a prep school that he later likened to a concentration camp,
      then at Malvern College and finally by a private tutor. He enlisted in
      the army in 1917, saw front-line combat and was wounded at Arras. He
      returned to his studies after the war, graduated in 1922 and became a
      fellow of Magdalen college in 1925. An atheist in his boyhood, Lewis
      converted to Christianity in 1931 and became famous as a result of his
      wartime religious talks on the BBC, and his children's books. Lewis was
      part of the Oxford literary circle known as the Inklings, whose members
      also included J.R.R. Tolkien and Charles Williams. In 1957 he married
      Joy Davidman Gresham, an American with whom he had corresponded for a
      number of years. Joy had been a 'Jewish atheist' and a communist; she
      converted to Christianity partly as a result of reading Lewis's books.
      Joy was already suffering from bone-cancer at the time of their
      marriage, and died in 1960. Lewis himself died on November the 22nd
      1963, the same day that John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas.

      2.2 Why was C.S. Lewis known as 'Jack'?
      He didn't like the name 'Clive' and as a small child had a pet dog
      called Jacksie, which was run over by one of the first cars in Northern
      Ireland. Jack decided that from thenceforth he would answer to nothing
      but 'Jacksie', and this became 'Jack' in due course. The only person who
      seems ever to have called him Clive was William Kirkpatrick, his boyhood

      2.3 Who was Mrs. Moore?
      Janie King Moore was the mother of Paddy Moore, Lewis' closest comrade-
      in-arms during the First World War. Lewis reported that the two young
      men made a pledge that if either man didn't make it home, the survivor
      would take care of Lewis' father and Moore's mother. Paddy Moore died in
      the war, and Lewis fulfilled that pledge for years, contributing towards
      Mrs. Moore's finances when he was still a poor student and setting up a
      home with her and Moore's young sister Maureen when he obtained a
      teaching position and could afford one. When her declining health (years
      later) required professional care, he faithfully visited the nursing
      home until she died. Maureen later succeeded to a Scottish title and
      became Lady Dunbar of Hempriggs.

      The exact nature of Lewis's relationship with Mrs. Moore is not certain:
      many readers have surmised that it is connected with the 'enormous
      emotional episode' that Lewis refers to in 'Surprised by Joy' but says
      that he is not at liberty to write about. Walter Hooper writes that 'The
      combination of motive, means and opportunity invites, though it does not
      demand, the conclusion that Janie King Moore and C.S. Lewis were

      Mrs. Moore is sometimes represented as the villain in the story of C.S.
      Lewis. Owen Barfield says people have turned her into 'a sort of baleful
      stepmother.' Warren Lewis described her relationship with his brother as
      a 'strange, self- imposed slavery'. On the other hand, George Sayer

      'Some of those who have written about C.S. Lewis regard his living with
      Mrs. Moore as odd, even sinister. This was not the view of those of us
      who visited his home in the thirties. Like his other pupils, I thought
      it completely normal that a woman, probably a widow, would make a home
      for a young bachelor. We had no difficult accepting her, even when we
      came to realise that she was not his mother.'

      2.4 Who is Walter Hooper? What is his connection with Lewis?
      Walter Hooper is a sort of literary manager to C.S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. He
      met Jack briefly in 1963, and has since dedicated his life to bringing
      Jack's works before the public. He is originally American but has lived
      in England for many years.

      2.5 Is the Douglas Gresham who occassionally posts to this group related
      to the Joy Gresham who Lewis married?
      Yes, Douglas is the son of Joy Gresham and the stepson of C.S. Lewis; he
      is an advisor to the C.S. Lewis literary estate.

      2.6 What was Shadowlands?
      Shadowlands was a play depicting Lewis's friendship and marriage to Joy
      Davidman Gresham towards the end of his life. There have, to date been
      four different versions: a BBC TV play; a stage play; a movie and a
      radio play.

      The play was first mooted way back in 1983 by Brian Sibley and Norman
      Stone. Their script, under the title Surprised By Joy, was optioned by a
      TV company but was not made. It emerged two years later and was revived
      by scriptwriter Bill Nicholson who wrote an entirely new script entitled
      'Shadowlands'. This was released as a TV film directed by Norman Stone,
      and starring Joss Ackland and Claire Bloom in 1985.

      The piece was then re-written as a stage play and this version starred
      Nigel Hawthorne and Jane Lapotaire (who was later replaced by Jane
      Alexander). It premiered in London in 1990, and then in New York in

      The movie version was again a re-write by Bill Nicholson, and was
      released in 1993. This time it starred Anthony Hopkins and Debrah
      Winger, and was directed by Sir Richard Attenborough.

      The radio version was transmitted on BBC Radio 4 in 1997, and stuck
      fairly closely to the stage version.

      2.61 What does the title 'Shadowlands' mean?
      At the end of 'The Last Battle', Aslan tells the children that 'you are
      all dead, as you used to call it in the Shadowlands': the idea being
      that the our world and Narnia are only reflections of Aslan's kingdom.
      This idea was rather misunderstood in the movie's screenplay, although
      it is all in Plato. I wonder what they do teach in these schools?

      2.62 Was 'Shadowlands' an accurate portrayal of Lewis's life?
      No - and it was never supposed to be. It contains many factual
      inaccuracies: for example, at the time the film is set, Jack had become
      a Professor at Magdalene college Cambridge, a job which would not have
      involved teaching undergraduate seminars.

      Douglas Gresham says 'In terms of hard facts it is deliberately and by
      necessity very inaccurate, but emotionally it is spot on.'

      Anthony Hopkins described the movie as 'a fictional illumination based
      on the facts.'

      2.63 Why does Lewis have two stepsons in the TV version of 'Shadowlands'
      and only one in the movie?
      As a matter of biographical fact, Joy Gresham had two sons; Douglas and
      David, as shown in the TV version of 'Shadowlands'. However, two
      children forced the writing of two sets of reactions to events
      portrayed, and thus two subplots. This was found to detract from the
      story, rather than complement it. Thus in the second version of the
      piece, the stage play, one child was dropped. This also meant that
      producers could hire two child actors rather than four. This was found
      to work well and thus was continued into the third version which was the

      2.64 Did C.S. Lewis really lose his faith after the death of his wife?
      Some people got this idea from 'Shadowlands', but it is not true, as
      Lewis's autobiographical book 'A Grief Observed' makes plain. He did go
      through a period of questioning God's goodness, but this seems to have
      lasted for only a few hours. ('A Grief Observed' contains a few pages in
      which Lewis speculates that God might be wicked, followed by the line 'I
      wrote that last night. It was a yell rather than a thought.') One of
      Lewis's best Christian books - 'Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer' -
      was written in the last years of his life, after Joy had died.

      2.65 What became of David Gresham?
      Douglas Gresham says that so far as he knows, his brother, who has
      embraced Judaism, is alive and well and living in India with his wife
      and one son.

      2.7 What biographies have been written about C.S. Lewis? Are they
      There are many, some better than others, including:

      Douglas Gresham, Lenten Lands, My Childhood With C.S. Lewis and Joy
      A personal account by Lewis's stepson.

      William Griffin, CS Lewis - The Authentic Voice
      A nice lively read with a lot of quotes from letters, diaries, books,
      joined up in a fairly dramatised style

      Walter Hooper & Roger Lancelyn Green, CS Lewis: A Biography
      An 'official' version by two friends of Lewis.

      Walter Hooper, C.S Lewis: A Companion & Guide
      Includes a biography, detailed bibliography, overviews of all Lewis's
      writings, and guides to the people, places and things associated with
      his life. Almost certainly the definitive Lewis reference book.

      W.H. Lewis. Memoir of C.S. Lewis
      This extended essay, by Lewis's brother, can be found in the Letters of
      C.S. Lewis. Walter Hooper described this memoir as 'the best thing ever
      written about C.S. Lewis.'

      George Sayer Jack: C.S. Lewis and His Times
      Part memoir and part biography by a friend and pupil of Lewis. Douglas
      Gresham recommends this as the very best biography available.

      Brian Sibley Shadowlands
      A short biography of Lewis and Joy Davidman, concentrating on the last
      years. Note this is not to be confused with the novelisation of the
      screenplay of the movie version of 'Shadowlands' which is a every bit as
      bad as you would expect.

      A.N. Wilson C.S. Lewis: A Biography
      A well-written, interesting, but highly contentious version.

      2.8 What C.S. Lewis related sites are open to the public?

      In the United Kingdom:

      Magdalen College, Oxford is often open to public visits in the

      Holy Trinity Churchyard Headington Quarry, Oxford (the site of Jack's
      grave) is open.

      The Kilns, Lewis's home for many years, is currently under restoration
      and may eventually be opened to the public.

      The Eagle and Child (the Bird and Baby) where many of the Inklings
      meetings were held is open during normal pub opening hours.

      In the United States:

      Wheaton College in the far western suburbs of Chicago, houses an
      extensive collection relating not only to C.S. Lewis, but also to G.K.
      Chesterton and Dorothy Sayers. Among its treasures is the original
      Wardrobe that C.S. Lewis supposedly had in mind when he wrote the Narnia
      books. Rick Freeman writes:

      'It is very ornate and mysterious looking, as a matter of fact I think
      the public T.V. portrayal of Narnia actually used this very one or a
      replica. The temptation to wait until no one is looking and just walk
      into it and see what would happen was almost overwhelming.'

      2.9 Why is Magdalen College sometimes spelt with an 'e' on the end?
      Magdalen is the Oxford college; Magdalene is the one in Cambridge. Lewis
      spent most of his working life as a don at Magdalen, but in 1954
      accepted the post of Professor of Medieval and Renaissance Poetry at
      Magdalene. In order to further confuse tourists, the names of both
      colleges are pronounced 'Mawdlin'.

      3 Questions about C.S. Lewis's writings
      3.1 What did C.S. Lewis write?

      For an full bibliography, see http://ic.net/~erasmus/raz49.htm

      3.11 Academic Books

      The Allegory of Love - 1936
      A scholarly study of medieval allegory and courtly love.

      The Personal Heresy - 1939
      A debate with E.W. Tillyard about literary criticism. The 'Penguin
      Dictionary of Literary Terms' describes it as 'urbane, courteous and
      continuously stimulating; a model of how people should agree to differ
      in their search after truth'.

      Preface to Paradise Lost - 1942
      An introduction to Milton's epic.

      The Oxford History of English Literature in the Sixteenth Century,
      Excluding Drama - 1954
      A text book, regarded as controversial, and nicknamed the 'O Hell!' by

      Studies in Words - 1960
      An analysis of how words have changed their meaning over time.

      An Experiment in Criticism - 1961
      An attempt to analyse literature from the point of view of the reader.

      The Discarded Image - 1964
      A description of the medieval world picture.

      Plus numerous literary essays, prefaces and reviews.

      3.12 Books About Christianity

      The Problem of Pain - 1940
      Lewis's first attempt to explain why God allows suffering.

      The Screwtape Letters - 1942
      Lewis's famous series of letters 'from one devil to another'.

      Mere Christianity - (As 'Broadcast Talks', 'Christian Behaviour' and
      'Beyond Personality', 1942, 43 & 44: in its present form, 1952.)
      The transcripts of the radio talks that made Lewis famous: a simple
      explanation of what Christianity is and why an intelligent person can
      and should believe in it.

      The Abolition of Man - 1943
      Lewis's defence of the idea of 'natural law'.

      Miracles - 1947
      Lewis's exploration of whether miracles can - in theory - ever occur.

      Reflections on the Psalms - 1958
      A series of -er- reflections on the Psalms.

      The Four Loves - 1960
      Essays on affection, friendship, erotic love and charity.

      Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer - 1964
      Devotional letters to an imaginary friend - Lewis's last book.

      Christian Reunion
      Christian Reflections
      Fern Seed and Elephants
      First and Second Things
      God in the Dock
      Of This and Other Worlds
      Present Concerns
      Screwtape Propose at Toast
      Timeless at Heart

      All the above are collections of essays and articles on a wide range of

      Note that Lewis's wide range of essay have been anthologised in various
      editions over the years; the above are the titles of the most recent UK
      collections. American readers may find editions under different titles.
      A detailed bibliography can be found in Hooper's Companion and Guide.

      3.13 Poetry

      This contains 'Spirits in Bondage', Lewis first published work, written
      before he was a Christian, and many short poems written at various times
      during his life.

      Narrative Poems
      This includes 'Dymer', the long poem that Lewis wrote as an

      3.14 Fiction, Allegory, Imaginative Works.

      The Pilgrim's Regress - 1933
      Lewis's first 'religious work' written only a year after his conversion,
      of which the book is an allegorical account.

      Out of the Silent Planet -1938
      Perelandra - 1943
      That Hideous Strength - 1945
      The so-called 'interplanetary trilogy'; science fiction books, under the
      influence of H.G. Wells but with a strong Christian theme.

      The first paperback edition of Perelandra was published under the much
      more imaginative title of Voyage to Venus in 1953

      An abridged paperback edition of That Hideous Strength was published in
      1946 under the title The Tortured Planet

      The Great Divorce - 1945
      Lewis imagines what would happen if a group of damned souls were allowed
      to visit heaven. Described by George Sayer as Lewis's most perfect book,
      a view with which the writer of this FAQ wholly concurs.

      The Narnia Chronicles - 1951-56 (see below)
      Lewis's children's tales of Lions, Dragons, Princes and Wardrobes.

      Till We Have Faces -1956
      A Christian version of the myth of Cupid and Psyche. Lewis's favourite
      of all his fiction.

      The Dark Tower - 1975
      Posthumous fragments, including the abandoned beginning of a fourth book
      in the interplanetary trilogy (see below).

      3.15 Autobiography

      Surprised by Joy - 1955
      Lewis's account of his childhood and his conversion to Christianity.

      A Grief Observed - 1961
      The diary which Lewis kept in weeks following the death from cancer of
      his wife.

      All My Road Before Me - 1991
      Lewis's diaries from his undergraduate years

      3.16 Letters

      Although the complete letters of C.S. Lewis is still awaited, a selected
      edition and a number of smaller volumes have been published:

      Letters of C.S. Lewis, edited by Walter Hooper
      A sample of Lewis's many correspondences, with excerpts from his diaries
      and comments from Warnie.

      They Stand Together
      The lifelong correspondence between Lewis and his best friend Arthur

      Letters to an American Lady
      Pastoral letters to an anonymous American admirer.

      Letters to Children
      Lewis's answers to the many young people who wrote to him with questions
      about Narnia, Christianity and the craft of writing

      3.2 The Narnia Books
      3.21 Why is my set of the Narnia books numbered in the wrong order?
      There are two ways of numbering the Narnia books. When the American
      publisher Macmillan decided to put numbers on their editions they chose
      to use the order in which the books were originally published, i.e.:

      1. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950)
      2. Prince Caspian (1951)
      3. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1952)
      4. The Silver Chair (1953)
      5. The Horse and His Boy (1954)
      6. The Magicians Nephew (1955)
      7. The Last Battle (1956)

      When Harper Collins took over the publication of the books in America,
      they decided to keep numbering the books, but on the recommendation of
      Lewis's stepson Douglas Gresham, they adopted the order that follows
      Narnian Chronology, i.e:

      1. The Magicians Nephew
      2. The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe
      3. The Horse and His Boy
      4. Prince Caspian
      5. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
      6. The Silver Chair
      7. The Last Battle

      This is also the order followed by the current British editions,
      published by Fontana Lions.

      A case can be made for both orders. Lewis himself came down in favour of
      the chronological order, which is why Douglas Gresham recommended it. In
      a letter written in 1957 to an American boy named Laurence, Lewis wrote
      the following:

      'I think I agree with your order {i.e. chronological} for reading the
      books more than with your mother's. The series was not planned
      beforehand as she thinks. When I wrote The Lion I did not know I was
      going to write any more. Then I wrote P. Caspian as a sequel and still
      didn't think there would be any more, and when I had done The Voyage I
      felt quite sure it would be the last. But I found as I was wrong. So
      perhaps it does not matter very much in which order anyone read them.
      I'm not even sure that all the others were written in the same order in
      which they were published.'

      So read them in whatever order you like and stop worrying about it!

      3.22 Is Narnia an allegory?
      All readers of Narnia must realise that Aslan the Lion, who is the Son
      of the Great Emperor Across the Sea, who breaks the power of the White
      Witch by his death and resurrection - and who, as C.S. Lewis pointed out
      to one of his young readers 'arrived at the same time as Father
      Christmas' - is a picture of Jesus Christ. Does it follow that the books
      as a whole are allegories?

      C.S. Lewis used a very strict definition of the word 'allegory' - after
      all, one of his most important academic books was a study of this
      subject. He wrote to some Maryland fifth graders in 1954:

      'I did not say to myself 'Let us represent Jesus as He really is in our
      world by a Lion in Narnia'; I said 'Let us suppose that there were a
      land like Narnia and that the Son of God, as he became a Man in our
      world, became a Lion there, and then imagine what would happen'.

      'The whole series' wrote Lewis in another letter 'works out like this:

      The Magician's Nephew tells the Creation and how evil entered Narnia,
      The Lion etc. - the Crucifixion and Resurrection,
      Prince Caspian - restoration of the true religion after a corruption,
      The Horse and His Boy - the calling and conversion of the heathen,
      The Voyage of the Dawn Treader - the spiritual life (especially in
      The Silver Chair - the continuing war against the powers of darkness,
      The Last Battle - the coming of Antichrist (the ape). The end of the
      world and the last judgement.'

      So, in today's loose terminology the books can probably be said to be
      'allegorical'. If you want to use that term, then a number of characters
      might be said to be allegories:

      The White Witch represents the Devil, as does Tash.
      Peter represents the valiant and wise Christian.
      Reepicheep is the very soul of chivalry with both its virtues and its
      'Edmund,' wrote Lewis 'Is, like Judas, a traitor and a sneak. But unlike
      Judas he repents and is forgiven (as Judas no doubt would have been if
      he'd repented).'
      Father Christmas - who gives gifts to Aslan's followers to help them
      fight the powers of darkness - may be a picture of the Holy Spirit.

      3.23 I have an idea for a new Narnia book. Who should I write to for
      permission to publish it?
      Nobody, it won't be permitted by policy of C.S. Lewis Pte. Ltd.

      If you must try though, write to

      Curtis Brown Ltd,
      Haymarket House,
      28/29 Haymarket,
      SW1Y 4SP,

      3.24 Is it true that there are differences in the British and American
      editions of the Narnia books?
      Some very minor changes were made to The Lion... and The Voyage... for
      their American publication. For example, the name of the witch's agent
      is changed from 'Maugrim' to 'Fenris Ulf' and Peter's title from 'Sir
      Peter Wolfs-Bane' to 'Sir Peter Fenris-Bane.' In the English edition,
      Aslan says that the Emperor's magic is written 'in letters as deep as a
      spear is long on the fire-stones of the Secret Hill'. In the American he
      says 'in letters as deep as a spear is long on the trunk of the world

      The current (1994) Harper Collins American editions have been
      standardised with the English versions.

      3.25 What film and TV versions of Lewis's books have there been?

      a: 1967 -- The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
      Black and white TV adaptation, nine twenty-minute episodes, shown on
      British ITV.

      b: 1979 --The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe
      Two one-hour episodes by the Episcopal Radio-TV Foundation of Atlanta
      and the Children's Television workshop (creators of Sesame Street and
      The Electric Company), animated by Bill Melendez.

      Note that when the film was shown in the UK in 1980, the sound-track was
      re-recorded with a cast of British actors including Arthur Lowe (Mr
      Beaver) June Whitfield (Mrs Beaver) Leo McKern (the Professor) and
      Steven Thorn (Aslan.)

      c: 1988 -- The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe
      Colour, live action version produced by BBC TV. Six thirty-minute

      d: 1989 Prince Caspian/The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
      A sequel to the 1988 Lion with many of the same cast. A total of six
      thirty-minute episodes.

      e: 1990 -- The Silver Chair
      The last BBC adaptation to date, a further 6 colour episodes.

      The three BBC serials are available on BBC video.

      3.26 What's this I hear about a new movie of The Lion, the Witch and the
      Paramount Pictures have bought an option on The Lion and have a
      screenplay in development.

      John Boorman was originally scheduled to direct. In the draft script,
      the non-Narnian sections of the book were updated to modern Los Angeles.
      The children are staying with the Professor in order to avoid an
      earthquake, rather than air-raids: in an earlier draft, they were sent
      away as a punishment because Edmund had shop-lifted a CD. Other delights
      apparently included a Narnian trades-union (ALON: 'Allied Leopards of
      Narnia) and centaurs that graze. The first draft evidently had Edmund
      asking the White Witch, not for 'Turkish Delight' but for 'Cheeseburger
      and Fries'!

      As of spring 1997, John Boorman was replaced by Robert Minskoff as
      director. As a result of this, a new script writer will also be chosen
      and a new version of the screenplay produced, possibly by the team who
      wrote the screenplay of The Lion King.

      At time of writing (summer 1998) the project seems to be at a

      3.27: What is Turkish delight?
      'Turkish Delight' is a Turkish/Greek sweetmeat ('Rahat Lokoum' in
      Turkish, which translates as 'perfumed sweetness') which is made by
      mixing into a flavoured solution of sugar in water some wheat or corn
      starch, so that it 'sets' to a jelly-like consistency. The solution is
      flavoured with rose water and may have some portions of chopped nuts
      suspended in it.

      When the whole thing solidifies it is cut into blocks about 1' cube, and
      dusted with a coating of icing sugar (powdered sugar). It is served
      after meals as an accompaniment to the tiny cups of (usually very sweet)
      Greek/Turkish coffee they drink in the region.

      The sort sold in English sweet shops is rather softer and less chewy
      than the authentic Turkish sweet: you can also get a chocolate coated
      candy-bar 'Fry's Turkish Delight' which is almost completely unlike the
      real thing.

      In England, it is commonly bought at Christmas, which may be why it was
      the first sweet that Edmund thought of in the snow covered Narnian

      3.3: Lewis's other works
      3.31: What was The C.S. Lewis Hoax?
      The C.S. Lewis Hoax was a book by Kathryn Lindskoog published in 1988.
      It directed a number of allegations at Walter Hooper and the C.S. Lewis
      estate: most notably that Hooper had lied about rescuing unpublished
      works by Lewis from a bonfire; that he had exaggerated the length and
      intimacy of his friendship with Lewis; and that some of Lewis's minor
      posthumous works, including The Dark Tower and two of the essays in
      Boxen are not by Lewis at all, but forgeries by Walter Hooper.

      It does seem to be a fact that Hooper only worked with Lewis for a
      period of a few weeks in 1963 (this fact is agreed by all Lewis's
      biographers) and not the 'many years' claimed in some dust jacket

      In 1995, forensic document examiner Nancy H. Cole of Palo Alto, CA
      compared the MS of the Dark Tower and other contested works with known
      examples of Lewis's and Hooper's handwriting. Although it is true that
      Hooper's handwriting is very similar to Lewis's, Cole lists six
      characteristics which the Dark Tower shares with the Lewis texts, but
      not with the Hooper samples. Therefore, in her professional opinion, the
      Dark Tower is certainly written by Lewis. She concludes:'There is no
      base to the charge that Walter Hooper has forged these documents, and he
      is deserving of apology.'

      Cole's credibility as a handwriting analyst has been callled into
      question by Kathryn Lindskoog's. Her side of the argument can be found
      on the web at: http://www.niu.edu/acad/english/krm/lewis.html

      3.32 Is Screwtape Proposes a Toast a sequel to The Screwtape Letters?
      Not exactly. Screwtape Proposes a Toast is a separate essay in which
      Screwtape gives a speech praising recent developments in the English
      education system. This is one essay in the collection entitled Screwtape
      Proposes a Toast.

      3.33 Is there any more posthumous Lewis material awaiting publication?
      There will eventually be a complete Letters of C.S. Lewis to replace the
      present one volume selection. There is also some unpublished poetry.

      3.34 Are there any tapes of Lewis speaking available?
      The five essays that make up The Four Loves were originally radio talks
      commissioned by the Episcopal Radio and Television Foundation of Atlanta
      Georgia in 1957. (They were not very widely broadcast, supposedly
      because the Foundation thought that audiences might be shocked by the
      fact that Lewis 'several times brought sex into his talk on Eros') These
      talks are available on audio cassette from the Foundation.

      The foundation has published two other cassettes of Lewis speaking. One,
      entitled C.S Lewis: Comments and Critiques contains a number of Lewis'
      BBC broadcasts: his preface to The Great Divorce; a talk on Charles
      Williams; a talk on The Pilgrim's Progress; and perhaps most excitingly
      a version of his inaugural lecture at Cambridge.

      Sadly, only one of the wartime talks that Lewis gave on the BBC and
      which later became Mere Christianity seems to have survived. This is the
      chapter entitled 'The New Men' from the final section of the book. The
      Foundation's 1982 tape of Michael York reading Mere Christianity also
      included this precious recording. However, this tape is no longer

      3.35: Were Lewis's proofs of the existence of God from 'Miracles'
      refuted by Elizabeth Anscombe?
      On 2nd February 1948, Elizabeth Anscombe read a paper criticising the
      third chapter of C.S Lewis's Miracles to the Oxford Socratic Club.

      Anscombe was a student of Wittgenstein, a student of philosophy but also
      a convert to Catholicism. At the Socratic Club debate, she argued
      against Lewis's position: she was not attacking his faith, but the
      philosophical validity of his argument. Lewis must have accepted the
      criticisms, since he later rewrote the chapter: changing the title from
      'Naturalism is Self-Refuting' to the less ambitious 'The Cardinal
      Difficulty of Naturalism.'

      According to George Sayer, Lewis's friend and biographer, Lewis regarded
      the debate as a defeat, and felt humiliated by it.

      'He told me that he had been proved wrong, and that his argument for the
      existence of God had been demolished....The debate had been a
      humiliating experience, but perhaps it was ultimately good for him. In
      the past, he had been are too proud of his logical ability. Now he was
      humbled....'I can never write another book of that sort' he said to me
      of 'Miracles.' And he never did. He also never wrote another theological
      book. 'Reflections on the Psalms' is really devotional and literary;
      'Letters to Malcolm' is also a devotional book, a series of reflections
      on prayer, without contentious arguments.'

      Derek Brewer goes even further, saying that Lewis recalled the meeting
      "with real horror" was "deeply disturbed by it" and described it in
      terms of "the retreat of infantry thrown back under heavy attack."

      On the other hand, the minutes of the Socratic Club do not report such a
      dramatic and humiliating defeat, merely recording that:

      'In general it appeared that Mr. Lewis would have to turn his argument
      into a rigorous analytic one, if his motion were to stand the test of
      all the questions put to him'.

      Anscombe herself did not remember 'humiliating' or 'defeating' Lewis.
      She wrote:

      'The fact that Lewis rewrote that chapter, and rewrote it so that it now
      has those qualities, shows his honesty and seriousness. The meeting of
      the Socratic Club at which I read my paper has been described by several
      of his friends as a horrible and shocking experience which upset him
      very much. Neither Dr Harvard (who had Lewis and me to dinner a few
      weeks later) nor Professor Jack Bennet remembered any such feelings on
      Lewis's part... My own recollection is that it was an occasion of sober
      discussion of certain quite definite criticisms, which Lewis's
      rethinking and rewriting showed he thought was accurate. I am inclined
      to construe the odd accounts of the matter by some of his friends - who
      seem not to have been interested in the actual arguments of the subject-
      matter - as an interesting example of the phenomenon called projection'.

      3.36: What's this I hear about a new movie of Out of the Silent Planet
      We understand that a film option has been taken on this book, but the
      project is in its infancy and no further details are known.

      4: Questions about Lewis's Beliefs
      4.1 Was Lewis a Roman Catholic? Didn't he believe in Purgatory?
      Lewis was not a Catholic. He was and remained an Anglican (Church of
      England) for his post-conversion life, describing himself as 'neither
      particularly 'high', nor particularly 'low' '. He was critical of some
      specific aspects of the Catholic faith - memorably commenting that if
      the Virgin Mary is like the best of human mothers, she doesn't want
      attention directed at herself instead of her Son! On the other hand, in
      Letters to Malcolm and elsewhere, he defends the idea of Purgatory as a
      necessary 'cleaning up time' for the soul before entering the company of
      heaven - although he acknowledged that the doctrine was open to abuse.

      'I hope' he writes 'that when the tooth of life is drawn and I am coming
      round, a voice will say 'Rinse your mouth out with this.' This will be

      In the essay Christian Reunion he states that the real disagreement
      between Catholics and Protestants is not about any particular belief,
      but about the source and nature of doctrine and authority:

      'The real reason I cannot be in communion with you is... that to accept
      your Church means not to accept a given body of doctrine but to accept
      in advance any doctrine that your Church hereafter produces'.

      When Lewis was working on Mere Christianity, he had Book II vetted by
      Anglican, Roman Catholic, Methodist and Presbyterian clergymen, to avoid
      any hint of denominational bias creeping in. In a telling passage in
      Allegory of Love he recognises the potential flaws in both the Catholic
      and the Protestant paths:

      'When Catholicism goes bad it becomes the world-old, world-wide religio
      of amulets and holy places and priest craft; Protestantism, in its
      corresponding decay, becomes a vague mist of ethical platitudes.'

      4.2: What did Lewis think about the Bible? Was he a fundamentalist?
      Here we again run into semantic difficulties, what is meant by
      'fundamentalist'? Lewis did believe that the Bible was the word of God,
      but he also believed that we were given our minds to use them.

      In his Reflections on the Psalms Lewis says:

      'At one point I had to explain how I differed on a certain point from
      both Catholics and Fundamentalists: I hope I shall not for this forfeit
      the goodwill or the prayers of either. Nor do I much fear it.'

      The 'certain matter' is, again, the source of authority: although he
      regards much of the Bible as being the historical truth, he cannot
      regard it as a source of absolute certainty, as fundamentalists do.

      His two most sustained discussions of the Bible are 'Fern Seed and
      Elephants' (an essay in the collection of the same title) and the
      chapter 'Scripture' in Reflections on the Psalms.

      Andrew Rilstone andrew@...
      "Then shall the realm of Albion come to great confusion"
      Steve Hayes
      E-mail: shayes@...
      Web: http://hayesfam.bravehost.com/litmain.htm
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