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16548Re: [mythsoc] Re: Alastair Fowler

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  • John D Rateliff
    Apr 30, 2006
      On Apr 26, 2006, at 11:32 AM, David Bratman wrote:
      <begin snippets>
      > . . . we now have reliable testimony that - at the very least - a
      > work
      > roughly fitting the description of "The Dark Tower" was written by
      > Lewis.

      > we don't need a Lewis letter to prove that he wrote _something_
      > fitting this general
      > description. We already have sufficient proof of that.

      > . . . This strikes me as very strong evidence indeed, but not
      > conclusive about
      > the work in hand.

      > . . . the open questions are still reasonably open.
      <end snippets>

      Here's a question: what would it take to resolve the issue for you?


      >> We have Lewis's own copy of the book that served as the
      >> main source for the second half of the book, with CSL's annotations,
      >> in the Wade collection at Wheaton.
      > What is this, and how do we know that Lewis actually used it for
      > The Dark
      > Tower, and that a forger with access to Lewis's books did not?

      The book is AN EXPERIMENT WITH TIME, by J. W. Dunne. Lewis's copy was
      not one of those his five friends kept from his library but went
      instead with the bulk of his books to form a school's collection, the
      remnant of which was purchased by the Wade more than two decades
      later. CSL's copy is now in Wheaton. We know Lewis used it, because
      he marked it up as he read it. Since the books were sold shortly
      after Lewis's death, it means that copy was not available to THE DARK
      TOWER'S editor during the period the work was supposedly forged.


      > We also have the possibility that it's a forgery. We have numerous
      > arguments over whether that's possible or not, with the same
      > experts quoted
      > on both sides, and neither side willing (or able?) to demonstrate
      > that the
      > other side is lying.

      Not a serious possibility, simply the unsupported assertion from an
      unreliable source. If we're going to dismiss any evidence that passed
      through Fr. Hooper's hands, such as Fr. Gervase Mathews' account of
      Lewis's reading the work to the Inklings, on the grounds that Hooper
      is untrustworthy, then we also have to throw out any evidence put
      forward by Lindskoog, or any that passed through her hands.


      >> We have the Bodleian's acceptance of the manuscript as a
      >> genuine work by Lewis.
      >
      > We do? The presence of the manuscript in the Bodleian collection
      > is not
      > evidence of its authenticity. It's evidence of their taking Hooper's
      > donation at his word.

      Yes, we do. I asked them about this when I spent a day with the
      manuscript myself in 1992. The reason they've never instigated a full-
      scale testing is that they've never heard any credible evidence from
      any reliable source that would cast doubt upon its authenticity. A
      few early claims challenging the work were easily disproven by an
      informal examination by Bodleian staff, and they've never been given
      a good reason to revisit the matter. Plus, they're busy people, with
      lots of unprocessed materials that need their attention rather than
      addressing charges from conspiracy theorists.

      --JDR

      current reading: THE RING OF WORDS: TOLKIEN AND THE OXFORD ENGLISH
      DICTIONARY (Gilliver, Marshall, & Weiner).
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