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RE: [mythsoc] Sayer vs. Wilson

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  • Jay Hershberger
    WW: There are good and bad things to be said about both books. There is no definitive biography of Lewis at the moment. I could make some comments
    Message 1 of 18 , Nov 6, 2005
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      WW: <snip> There are good and bad things to be said about both books.
      There is no definitive biography of Lewis at the moment. I could make
      some comments about the books, but I'm
      really not interested in getting into that argument again.

      JH: I understand. Thanks, Wendell. Anyone else care to comment? What
      I would like to know is which of the two deal with the facts and
      chronology of Lewis' life in a more historically accurate way.

      Cheers,

      Jay Hershberger
      Moorhead, MN


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Stolzi
      ... From: Jay Hershberger ... I d plump for Sayer, every time. The new bio by Douglas Gresham, Lewis stepson, JACK S LIFE, is
      Message 2 of 18 , Nov 6, 2005
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        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "Jay Hershberger" <hershjay@...>


        > Which biographer is considered more accurate, George Sayer or A.N.
        > Wilson?

        I'd plump for Sayer, every time.

        The new bio by Douglas Gresham, Lewis' stepson, JACK'S LIFE, is definitely
        a children's book, (explicitly so in the final paragraphs) but they don't
        seem to be marketing it with this fact up front. Just a warning.

        The Michael White article is god-awful. "Arthur Lewis"? Who he?

        Diamond Proudbrook
      • Mike Foster
        Sayer gets my vote. In his preface to Jack, he speaks of his first meeting with his tutor Lewis and also Tolkien, who said to him [re: Lewis]: You ll never
        Message 3 of 18 , Nov 7, 2005
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          Sayer gets my vote. In his preface to Jack, he speaks of his first
          meeting with his tutor Lewis and also Tolkien, who said to him [re:
          Lewis]: "You'll never get to the bottom of him."

          Maybe no one could, but Sayer did the best job of it--quite possibly
          because he had a genuine friendship for Lewis--and Lewis for him.

          I'm pleased to note that Christopher Mitchell and I took 15 minutes to
          eulogize George at the end of my presentation on CSL & JRRT Saturday at
          Belmont University's CSL conference in Nashville. Only a few of the 60
          or 70 attending had heard of Sayer. By the time we walked back from the
          library to Belmont student center, the booksellers had sold their last
          copy of Jack.

          Cheers,
          Mike



          WendellWag@... wrote:

          >We had a debate at one panel at the 1998 Mythcon about which was the best
          >biography of Lewis. Yes, this is an old and tired topic. There are good and
          >bad things to be said about both books. There is no definitive biography of
          >Lewis at the moment. I could make some comments about the books, but I'm
          >really not interested in getting into that argument again.
          >
          >Wendell Wagner
          >
          >
          >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
          >Yahoo! Groups Links
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
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          >
        • David Bratman
          One of many factual errors in the article, although the distorted interpretations are even more harmful. (Even A.N. Wilson, the most salacious of Lewis s
          Message 4 of 18 , Nov 7, 2005
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            One of many factual errors in the article, although the distorted
            interpretations are even more harmful. (Even A.N. Wilson, the most
            salacious of Lewis's biographers - that should tell you how to rank his
            work - doesn't spend as much space in an entire book on Lewis's dark "inner
            drives" or his lusts for comely young matrons as White does in one short
            article.)

            The nugget of fact in the statement you query is that Lewis's later
            religious commentaries were not quite the aggressively muscular apologetics
            that his earlier books were.

            David Bratman


            At 02:25 PM 11/6/2005 -0600, Jay Hershberger wrote:

            >I don't know much about the shape and chronology of Lewis' life,
            >but even I was able to detect multiple errors in Mr. White's article.
            >For instance, Mr. White claims that Lewis never wrote another word of
            >"religious commentary" after 1949. Is this true? If I am mistaken,
            >please let me know; I thought that Letters to Malcolm and A Grief
            >Observed were both written rather late. Do they not count as "religious
            >commentary?" What about the Chronicles themselves? They at least
            >induce religious commentary by others. Any thoughts?
          • Jay Hershberger
            Thanks for the information, David. And to all who responded. I think I will start with Sayer s book on Lewis. Cheers, Jay Hershberger Moorhead, MN ... From:
            Message 5 of 18 , Nov 7, 2005
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              Thanks for the information, David. And to all who responded. I think I
              will start with Sayer's book on Lewis.

              Cheers,

              Jay Hershberger
              Moorhead, MN

              -----Original Message-----
              From: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com [mailto:mythsoc@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
              Of David Bratman
              Sent: Monday, November 07, 2005 9:56 AM
              To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: RE: [mythsoc] count the errors

              One of many factual errors in the article, although the distorted
              interpretations are even more harmful. (Even A.N. Wilson, the most
              salacious of Lewis's biographers - that should tell you how to rank his
              work - doesn't spend as much space in an entire book on Lewis's dark
              "inner
              drives" or his lusts for comely young matrons as White does in one short
              article.)

              The nugget of fact in the statement you query is that Lewis's later
              religious commentaries were not quite the aggressively muscular
              apologetics
              that his earlier books were.

              David Bratman


              At 02:25 PM 11/6/2005 -0600, Jay Hershberger wrote:

              >I don't know much about the shape and chronology of Lewis' life,
              >but even I was able to detect multiple errors in Mr. White's article.
              >For instance, Mr. White claims that Lewis never wrote another word of
              >"religious commentary" after 1949. Is this true? If I am mistaken,
              >please let me know; I thought that Letters to Malcolm and A Grief
              >Observed were both written rather late. Do they not count as
              "religious
              >commentary?" What about the Chronicles themselves? They at least
              >induce religious commentary by others. Any thoughts?



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            • John D Rateliff
              Actually, of the three main biographies on CSL, I d recommend starting with the Green & Hooper. That s the authorized biography, and it does the best job of
              Message 6 of 18 , Nov 7, 2005
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                Actually, of the three main biographies on CSL, I'd recommend starting with the Green & Hooper. That's the authorized biography, and it does the best job of discussing the main outlines of his life, works, and career. Although now more than thirty years old, it's still not been superceded as a whole. Then if you'd like to read more I'd read the Sayer next, since it's a warm portrait by a friend, as much memoir as biography; it'll convey why Lewis's friends thought so highly of him. Its main shortcoming is that it's too uncritical of its subject, which isn't that much of a flaw in a biography. Then I'd read the Wilson, who's deliberately iconoclastic and wants to establish that, all in all, CSL while talents was also a rather strange man.
                Or, if you want a shorter take on things, Carpenter's THE INKLINGS is as much a biography of CSL as the group.
                Enjoy!
                --JDR

                P.S.: "Never wrote another word" is White's garbled version of a comment by Carpenter that, after his mauling by Anscombe, CSL stopped writing straightforward apologetics for many years and, when he resumed, his religious books were much more personal in tone (e.g., MIRACLES, THE PROBLEM OF PAIN, MERE XIANITY vs. REFLECTIONS ON THE PSALMS and LETTERS TO MALCOLM: CHIEFLY ON PRAYER).


                -----Original Message-----
                From: Jay Hershberger <hershjay@...>
                Sent: Nov 7, 2005 10:27 AM
                To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: RE: [mythsoc] count the errors

                Thanks for the information, David. And to all who responded. I think I
                will start with Sayer's book on Lewis.

                Cheers,

                Jay Hershberger
                Moorhead, MN
              • Jay Hershberger
                Thanks, John. I look forward to reading them all. Cheers, Jay Hershberger Moorhead, MN ... From: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com [mailto:mythsoc@yahoogroups.com] On
                Message 7 of 18 , Nov 7, 2005
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                  Thanks, John. I look forward to reading them all.

                  Cheers,

                  Jay Hershberger
                  Moorhead, MN

                  -----Original Message-----
                  From: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com [mailto:mythsoc@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
                  Of John D Rateliff
                  Sent: Monday, November 07, 2005 12:46 PM
                  To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com; mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                  Subject: RE: [mythsoc] count the errors

                  Actually, of the three main biographies on CSL, I'd recommend starting
                  with the Green & Hooper. That's the authorized biography, and it does
                  the best job of discussing the main outlines of his life, works, and
                  career. Although now more than thirty years old, it's still not been
                  superceded as a whole. Then if you'd like to read more I'd read the
                  Sayer next, since it's a warm portrait by a friend, as much memoir as
                  biography; it'll convey why Lewis's friends thought so highly of him.
                  Its main shortcoming is that it's too uncritical of its subject, which
                  isn't that much of a flaw in a biography. Then I'd read the Wilson,
                  who's deliberately iconoclastic and wants to establish that, all in all,
                  CSL while talents was also a rather strange man.
                  Or, if you want a shorter take on things, Carpenter's THE INKLINGS is
                  as much a biography of CSL as the group.
                  Enjoy!
                  --JDR

                  P.S.: "Never wrote another word" is White's garbled version of a comment
                  by Carpenter that, after his mauling by Anscombe, CSL stopped writing
                  straightforward apologetics for many years and, when he resumed, his
                  religious books were much more personal in tone (e.g., MIRACLES, THE
                  PROBLEM OF PAIN, MERE XIANITY vs. REFLECTIONS ON THE PSALMS and LETTERS
                  TO MALCOLM: CHIEFLY ON PRAYER).


                  -----Original Message-----
                  From: Jay Hershberger <hershjay@...>
                  Sent: Nov 7, 2005 10:27 AM
                  To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                  Subject: RE: [mythsoc] count the errors

                  Thanks for the information, David. And to all who responded. I think I
                  will start with Sayer's book on Lewis.

                  Cheers,

                  Jay Hershberger
                  Moorhead, MN



                  The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org



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                  w5=Writing+book+for+child+course&c=5&s=137&.sig=Rn-cSb7_faV3YJBtHr7xbQ>
                  book
                  Writing
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                  vyOQ> child book
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                  ing+book&w2=Writing+child+book&w3=Science+fiction+and+fantasy&w4=Busines
                  s+writing+book&w5=Writing+book+for+child+course&c=5&s=137&.sig=CU40vJKWs
                  tG3japdfhQDqg> fiction and fantasy

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                  b17Wbgg> writing book
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                • David Bratman
                  ... I d start with Sayer for exactly the same reason. G&H is a valuable source, but much too dry for casual reading. Also, G&H was recently massively
                  Message 8 of 18 , Nov 7, 2005
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                    At 10:46 AM 11/7/2005 -0800, John D. Rateliff wrote:
                    >Actually, of the three main biographies on CSL, I'd recommend starting with
                    >the Green & Hooper. That's the authorized biography, and it does the best
                    >job of discussing the main outlines of his life, works, and career. Although
                    >now more than thirty years old, it's still not been superceded as a whole.
                    >Then if you'd like to read more I'd read the Sayer next, since it's a warm
                    >portrait by a friend, as much memoir as biography; it'll convey why Lewis's
                    >friends thought so highly of him.

                    I'd start with Sayer for exactly the same reason. G&H is a valuable
                    source, but much too dry for casual reading. Also, G&H was recently
                    massively rewritten and extended by H, and I haven't studied all the
                    changes; nor are all editions that say "revised" actually the rewritten
                    edition.

                    >P.S.: "Never wrote another word" is White's garbled version of a comment by
                    >Carpenter that, after his mauling by Anscombe, CSL stopped writing
                    >straightforward apologetics for many years and, when he resumed, his
                    >religious books were much more personal in tone (e.g., MIRACLES, THE PROBLEM
                    >OF PAIN, MERE XIANITY vs. REFLECTIONS ON THE PSALMS and LETTERS TO MALCOLM:
                    >CHIEFLY ON PRAYER).

                    Thank you; that clarifies the point better than I did.

                    David Bratman
                  • Mike Foster
                    I agree with David. Who better to tell the story of Lewis life than one who was taught then mentored and then befriended by him? Begin with Sayer. Mike ...
                    Message 9 of 18 , Nov 7, 2005
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                      I agree with David. Who better to tell the story of Lewis' life than
                      one who was taught then mentored and then befriended by him? Begin with
                      Sayer.

                      Mike

                      David Bratman wrote:

                      >At 10:46 AM 11/7/2005 -0800, John D. Rateliff wrote:
                      >
                      >
                      >>Actually, of the three main biographies on CSL, I'd recommend starting with
                      >>the Green & Hooper. That's the authorized biography, and it does the best
                      >>job of discussing the main outlines of his life, works, and career. Although
                      >>now more than thirty years old, it's still not been superceded as a whole.
                      >>Then if you'd like to read more I'd read the Sayer next, since it's a warm
                      >>portrait by a friend, as much memoir as biography; it'll convey why Lewis's
                      >>friends thought so highly of him.
                      >>
                      >>
                      >
                      >I'd start with Sayer for exactly the same reason. G&H is a valuable
                      >source, but much too dry for casual reading. Also, G&H was recently
                      >massively rewritten and extended by H, and I haven't studied all the
                      >changes; nor are all editions that say "revised" actually the rewritten
                      >edition.
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >>P.S.: "Never wrote another word" is White's garbled version of a comment by
                      >>Carpenter that, after his mauling by Anscombe, CSL stopped writing
                      >>straightforward apologetics for many years and, when he resumed, his
                      >>religious books were much more personal in tone (e.g., MIRACLES, THE PROBLEM
                      >>OF PAIN, MERE XIANITY vs. REFLECTIONS ON THE PSALMS and LETTERS TO MALCOLM:
                      >>CHIEFLY ON PRAYER).
                      >>
                      >>
                      >
                      >Thank you; that clarifies the point better than I did.
                      >
                      >David Bratman
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
                      >Yahoo! Groups Links
                      >
                      >
                      >
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                      >
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                      >
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                      >


                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • Mike Foster
                      I finally read the White blurb since the chat about it had been so lively. I stopped counting at 5. Mike
                      Message 10 of 18 , Nov 7, 2005
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                        I finally read the White blurb since the chat about it had been so lively.

                        I stopped counting at 5.

                        Mike

                        David Bratman wrote:

                        >Michael White, author of the most error-ridden book on Tolkien ever
                        >published, is now similarly hacking his way around C.S. Lewis.
                        >
                        ><http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2092-1859141,00.html>
                        >
                        >David Bratman
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
                        >Yahoo! Groups Links
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                      • Stolzi
                        Doug Gresham, who spoke at the opening banquet for PAST WATCHFUL DRAGONS, sold copies of his new (rather slight) book JACK S LIFE. I was aggravated to have
                        Message 11 of 18 , Nov 7, 2005
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                          Doug Gresham, who spoke at the opening banquet for PAST WATCHFUL DRAGONS,
                          sold copies of his new (rather slight) book JACK'S LIFE. I was aggravated
                          to have bought it bec it is obviously by
                          its style - and overtly in so many words, in the conclusion - a bio of Lewis
                          for children, yet it was marketed at this conference without ever a word or
                          hint to that effect.

                          Well, at least it was cheap; and it isn't too =bad=.

                          I did think he was rather riding a hobby horse in an excess number of
                          paragraphs about How Awful War Is. Sure, it is awful, and the two wars
                          surely had a large impact on CSL as well as his friends and family. But I
                          don't think Lewis himself would have wanted to dwell on the subject that
                          much, - stiff upper lip and all that. And it comes ill from a man like Doug
                          who as far as I know has never been in any war. In fact, this morning in
                          LETTERS v. 2, I was just reading some wartime snarky comments from Jack
                          about high-minded intellectual c.o.'s who have never, he says, been known to
                          be troubled by their consciences about anything before.

                          It would be great to influence all the children of the world forever against
                          war. If it could be ALL the children of the world. I don't see that
                          situation today.

                          Diamond Proudbrook
                        • Mike Foster
                          I concur with Diamond s assessment. The book needed a better copy editing job--typos as soon as p. 4--and danced over the difficult bits, but so did Colin
                          Message 12 of 18 , Nov 7, 2005
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                            I concur with Diamond's assessment. The book needed a better copy
                            editing job--typos as soon as p. 4--and danced over the difficult bits,
                            but so did Colin D.'s book on CSL & JRRT.

                            More later. A salmon calls.

                            Stolzi wrote:

                            > Doug Gresham, who spoke at the opening banquet for PAST WATCHFUL DRAGONS,
                            >sold copies of his new (rather slight) book JACK'S LIFE. I was aggravated
                            >to have bought it bec it is obviously by
                            >its style - and overtly in so many words, in the conclusion - a bio of Lewis
                            >for children, yet it was marketed at this conference without ever a word or
                            >hint to that effect.
                            >
                            >Well, at least it was cheap; and it isn't too =bad=.
                            >
                            >I did think he was rather riding a hobby horse in an excess number of
                            >paragraphs about How Awful War Is. Sure, it is awful, and the two wars
                            >surely had a large impact on CSL as well as his friends and family. But I
                            >don't think Lewis himself would have wanted to dwell on the subject that
                            >much, - stiff upper lip and all that. And it comes ill from a man like Doug
                            >who as far as I know has never been in any war. In fact, this morning in
                            >LETTERS v. 2, I was just reading some wartime snarky comments from Jack
                            >about high-minded intellectual c.o.'s who have never, he says, been known to
                            >be troubled by their consciences about anything before.
                            >
                            >It would be great to influence all the children of the world forever against
                            >war. If it could be ALL the children of the world. I don't see that
                            >situation today.
                            >
                            >Diamond Proudbrook
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
                            >Yahoo! Groups Links
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                          • Hugh Davis
                            I had great hopes that _Jack s Life_ would feature more stories like the one Doug Gresham shared in the Q&A at Past Watchful Dragons (about the archer), but,
                            Message 13 of 18 , Nov 7, 2005
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                              I had great hopes that _Jack's Life_ would feature more stories like the one
                              Doug Gresham shared in the Q&A at Past Watchful Dragons (about the archer),
                              but, alas, the anecdotes are less salacious.

                              Hugh


                              >From: "Stolzi" <Stolzi@...>
                              >Reply-To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                              >To: <mythsoc@yahoogroups.com>
                              >Subject: Re: [mythsoc] count the errors
                              >Date: Mon, 7 Nov 2005 16:23:18 -0600
                              >
                              > Doug Gresham, who spoke at the opening banquet for PAST WATCHFUL DRAGONS,
                              >sold copies of his new (rather slight) book JACK'S LIFE. I was aggravated
                              >to have bought it bec it is obviously by
                              >its style - and overtly in so many words, in the conclusion - a bio of
                              >Lewis
                              >for children, yet it was marketed at this conference without ever a word or
                              >hint to that effect.
                              >
                              >Well, at least it was cheap; and it isn't too =bad=.
                              >
                              >I did think he was rather riding a hobby horse in an excess number of
                              >paragraphs about How Awful War Is. Sure, it is awful, and the two wars
                              >surely had a large impact on CSL as well as his friends and family. But I
                              >don't think Lewis himself would have wanted to dwell on the subject that
                              >much, - stiff upper lip and all that. And it comes ill from a man like
                              >Doug
                              >who as far as I know has never been in any war. In fact, this morning in
                              >LETTERS v. 2, I was just reading some wartime snarky comments from Jack
                              >about high-minded intellectual c.o.'s who have never, he says, been known
                              >to
                              >be troubled by their consciences about anything before.
                              >
                              >It would be great to influence all the children of the world forever
                              >against
                              >war. If it could be ALL the children of the world. I don't see that
                              >situation today.
                              >
                              >Diamond Proudbrook
                              >
                              >
                            • Jay Hershberger
                              Thanks, Mike. Cheers, Jay Hershberger Moorhead, MN ... From: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com [mailto:mythsoc@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Mike Foster Sent: Monday,
                              Message 14 of 18 , Nov 7, 2005
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                                Thanks, Mike.

                                Cheers,

                                Jay Hershberger
                                Moorhead, MN

                                -----Original Message-----
                                From: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com [mailto:mythsoc@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
                                Of Mike Foster
                                Sent: Monday, November 07, 2005 3:52 PM
                                To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                                Subject: Re: [mythsoc] count the errors

                                I agree with David. Who better to tell the story of Lewis' life than
                                one who was taught then mentored and then befriended by him? Begin with

                                Sayer.

                                Mike

                                David Bratman wrote:

                                >At 10:46 AM 11/7/2005 -0800, John D. Rateliff wrote:
                                >
                                >
                                >>Actually, of the three main biographies on CSL, I'd recommend starting
                                with
                                >>the Green & Hooper. That's the authorized biography, and it does the
                                best
                                >>job of discussing the main outlines of his life, works, and career.
                                Although
                                >>now more than thirty years old, it's still not been superceded as a
                                whole.
                                >>Then if you'd like to read more I'd read the Sayer next, since it's a
                                warm
                                >>portrait by a friend, as much memoir as biography; it'll convey why
                                Lewis's
                                >>friends thought so highly of him.
                                >>
                                >>
                                >
                                >I'd start with Sayer for exactly the same reason. G&H is a valuable
                                >source, but much too dry for casual reading. Also, G&H was recently
                                >massively rewritten and extended by H, and I haven't studied all the
                                >changes; nor are all editions that say "revised" actually the rewritten
                                >edition.
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >>P.S.: "Never wrote another word" is White's garbled version of a
                                comment by
                                >>Carpenter that, after his mauling by Anscombe, CSL stopped writing
                                >>straightforward apologetics for many years and, when he resumed, his
                                >>religious books were much more personal in tone (e.g., MIRACLES, THE
                                PROBLEM
                                >>OF PAIN, MERE XIANITY vs. REFLECTIONS ON THE PSALMS and LETTERS TO
                                MALCOLM:
                                >>CHIEFLY ON PRAYER).
                                >>
                                >>
                                >
                                >Thank you; that clarifies the point better than I did.
                                >
                                >David Bratman
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
                                >Yahoo! Groups Links
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >


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