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RE: [mythsoc] fellow Charles Williams fans...

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  • John D Rateliff
    Notes taken by people attending some of his lectures, both in London (by Raymond Hunt) and later at Oxford (by one of his disciples, whose name I forget), do
    Message 1 of 18 , Nov 10, 2005
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      Notes taken by people attending some of his lectures, both in London (by Raymond Hunt) and later at Oxford (by one of his disciples, whose name I forget), do survive. I believe they are now at the Wade but have never looked at them and so can provide no details.
      From the context I assume the lecture on chastity was part of a series on Milton (focusing on his early masque "Comus"), one of several that Tolkien arranged for Williams to deliver at Oxford after C.W. relocated there for the duration of the war. In ordinary circumstances a writer and editor without a degree might not have been able to fill such a role, but the war had left so many vacancies that the few remaining professors (of whom Tolkien was one) seem to have been able to make exceptions. I don't know if Williams published any of this material (it's been too long since I've read his collected essays, but I don't remember it being in there), but C.W. himself commented with chagrin that some of his ideas appeared in CSL's book A PREFACE TO PARADISE LOST, no doubt "Lewisified" in the process.
      As for Williams' effect on Oxford students, good sources to check are John Wain's autobiography (which idealizes Williams) and Philip Larkins' collected letters (which suggests they saw him as a figure of fun).
      --JDR

      -----Original Message-----
      From: "dianejoy@..." <dianejoy@...>

      Perhaps you know how to answer this question. I understand that Charles
      Williams gave a lecture on chastity that was extremely well attended
      at Oxford. Does anyone know if this lecture was published or if notes
      were taken on it that surfaced anywhere? Perhaps it's part of the
      *Romantic Theology* title? I'm just curious; heard reports that it
      was pretty astonishing. (Maybe it would be even more so now.)

      Thanks. ---djb
    • Bonnie Callahan
      Hi, I have info on the British Charles Williams Society if anyone wants to connect w. them. Bonnie Callahan
      Message 2 of 18 , Nov 11, 2005
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        Hi, I have info on the British Charles Williams Society if anyone wants to connect w. them.

        Bonnie Callahan

        John D Rateliff wrote:

        > Notes taken by people attending some of his lectures, both in London (by Raymond Hunt) and later at Oxford (by one of his disciples, whose name I forget), do survive. I believe they are now at the Wade but have never looked at them and so can provide no details.
        > From the context I assume the lecture on chastity was part of a series on Milton (focusing on his early masque "Comus"), one of several that Tolkien arranged for Williams to deliver at Oxford after C.W. relocated there for the duration of the war. In ordinary circumstances a writer and editor without a degree might not have been able to fill such a role, but the war had left so many vacancies that the few remaining professors (of whom Tolkien was one) seem to have been able to make exceptions. I don't know if Williams published any of this material (it's been too long since I've read his collected essays, but I don't remember it being in there), but C.W. himself commented with chagrin that some of his ideas appeared in CSL's book A PREFACE TO PARADISE LOST, no doubt "Lewisified" in the process.
        > As for Williams' effect on Oxford students, good sources to check are John Wain's autobiography (which idealizes Williams) and Philip Larkins' collected letters (which suggests they saw him as a figure of fun).
        > --JDR
        >
        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: "dianejoy@..." <dianejoy@...>
        >
        > Perhaps you know how to answer this question. I understand that Charles
        > Williams gave a lecture on chastity that was extremely well attended
        > at Oxford. Does anyone know if this lecture was published or if notes
        > were taken on it that surfaced anywhere? Perhaps it's part of the
        > *Romantic Theology* title? I'm just curious; heard reports that it
        > was pretty astonishing. (Maybe it would be even more so now.)
        >
        > Thanks. ---djb
        >
        >
        > The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
        > Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        >
        >
      • David Bratman
        ... Not published as far as I know, but here s the report that you heard: On Monday C.W. lectured nominally on Comus [masque by John Milton] but really on
        Message 3 of 18 , Nov 11, 2005
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          At 10:52 AM 11/9/2005 -0500, Diane Joy Baker wrote:
          >Perhaps you know how to answer this question. I understand that Charles
          >Williams gave a lecture on chastity that was extremely well attended
          >at Oxford. Does anyone know if this lecture was published or if notes
          >were taken on it that surfaced anywhere? Perhaps it's part of the
          >*Romantic Theology* title? I'm just curious; heard reports that it
          >was pretty astonishing. (Maybe it would be even more so now.)

          Not published as far as I know, but here's the report that you heard:

          "On Monday C.W. lectured nominally on Comus [masque by John Milton] but
          really on Chastity. Simply as criticism it was superb - because here was a
          man who really started from the same point of view as Milton and really
          cared with every fibre of his being about 'the sage and serious doctrine of
          virginity' which it would never occur to the ordinary modern critic to take
          seriously. But it was more important still as a sermon. It was a
          beautiful sight to see a whole room full of modern young men and women
          sitting in that absolute silence which can not be faked, very puzzled, but
          spell-bound: perhaps with something of the same feeling which a lecture on
          unchastity might have evoked in their grandparents - the forbidden subject
          broached at last. He forced them to lap it up and I think many, by the
          end, liked the taste more than they expected to. ... I have at last, if
          only for once, seen a university doing what it was founded to do: teaching
          Wisdom." - CSL to WHL, 11 Feb. 1940
        • Hugh Davis
          Has anyone compared and found just how substantive the revisions are to Paul Ford s _Companion to Narnia_. I thumbed through it at Past Watchful Dragons, but,
          Message 4 of 18 , Nov 27, 2005
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            Has anyone compared and found just how substantive the revisions are to Paul
            Ford's _Companion to Narnia_. I thumbed through it at Past Watchful Dragons,
            but, of course, there's no guide to the additions just jumping out. The
            L'engle foreward appears to be the same.

            Also, a few weeks back I saw a book in a bookstore which amounted to "Lewis'
            Influences." I seem to remember seeing a blurb for a similar one for Tolkien
            a few years back (which reprinted fantasy Tolkien might have read). This was
            a hardback with various works by the likes of Chesterton and Tolkien (maybe
            Nesbitt) which the editors either argued CSL read and was influenced by, or
            they knew from his library he had them. I've since tried to search online,
            but I've not found the right combination of search strings to locate it. Can
            anyone help?

            Thank you,
            Hugh Davis
          • David Bratman
            ... You are probably thinking of _Reading the Classics with C.S. Lewis_, edited by Thomas L. Martin (Baker Academic, 2000). It s a collection of essays by
            Message 5 of 18 , Nov 27, 2005
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              At 01:00 PM 11/27/2005 -0500, Hugh Davis wrote:
              >Also, a few weeks back I saw a book in a bookstore which amounted to "Lewis'
              >Influences." I seem to remember seeing a blurb for a similar one for Tolkien
              >a few years back (which reprinted fantasy Tolkien might have read). This was
              >a hardback with various works by the likes of Chesterton and Tolkien (maybe
              >Nesbitt) which the editors either argued CSL read and was influenced by, or
              >they knew from his library he had them. I've since tried to search online,
              >but I've not found the right combination of search strings to locate it. Can
              >anyone help?

              You are probably thinking of _Reading the Classics with C.S. Lewis_, edited
              by Thomas L. Martin (Baker Academic, 2000). It's a collection of essays by
              scholars each discussing the books Lewis read in a particular field and
              what he thought of them.

              The closest Tolkien equivalent is probably _Tales Before Tolkien_ edited by
              Douglas A. Anderson (Del Rey, 2003), an anthology of fantasy short stories
              predating The Hobbit. Some of these Tolkien read, and may have been
              influenced by; the editor's notes explain which.

              David Bratman
            • Hugh Davis
              ... Right on both (although I did think the Tolkien volume was farther back than that). Thank you, David. Hugh
              Message 6 of 18 , Nov 27, 2005
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                >From: David Bratman <dbratman@...>

                >You are probably thinking of _Reading the Classics with C.S. Lewis_, edited
                >by Thomas L. Martin (Baker Academic, 2000). It's a collection of essays by
                >scholars each discussing the books Lewis read in a particular field and
                >what he thought of them.
                >
                >The closest Tolkien equivalent is probably _Tales Before Tolkien_ edited by
                >Douglas A. Anderson (Del Rey, 2003), an anthology of fantasy short stories
                >predating The Hobbit. Some of these Tolkien read, and may have been
                >influenced by; the editor's notes explain which.
                >
                Right on both (although I did think the Tolkien volume was farther back than
                that). Thank you, David.

                Hugh
              • Mike Foster
                _Tales Before Tolkien_ is boggling good. My best student in the 2005 spring term of that Tolkien class I once taught did a great appreciation and critical
                Message 7 of 18 , Nov 27, 2005
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                  _Tales Before Tolkien_ is boggling good. My best student in the 2005
                  spring term of that Tolkien class I once taught did a great appreciation
                  and critical review [hi, Catherine!] of it that, I hope, Mythprint will
                  publish.

                  Foster

                  Hugh Davis wrote:

                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >>From: David Bratman <dbratman@...>
                  >>
                  >>
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >>You are probably thinking of _Reading the Classics with C.S. Lewis_, edited
                  >>by Thomas L. Martin (Baker Academic, 2000). It's a collection of essays by
                  >>scholars each discussing the books Lewis read in a particular field and
                  >>what he thought of them.
                  >>
                  >>The closest Tolkien equivalent is probably _Tales Before Tolkien_ edited by
                  >>Douglas A. Anderson (Del Rey, 2003), an anthology of fantasy short stories
                  >>predating The Hobbit. Some of these Tolkien read, and may have been
                  >>influenced by; the editor's notes explain which.
                  >>
                  >>
                  >>
                  >Right on both (although I did think the Tolkien volume was farther back than
                  >that). Thank you, David.
                  >
                  >Hugh
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
                  >Yahoo! Groups Links
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >


                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • mgeff@earthlink.net
                  Greetings: Newbie here would like to second Mike s recommendation of Tales Before Tolkien (Ed. Doug Anderson). I especially love the delightful Chu-Bu and
                  Message 8 of 18 , Nov 28, 2005
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                    Greetings:
                    Newbie here would like to second Mike's recommendation of "Tales Before
                    Tolkien" (Ed. Doug Anderson). I especially love the delightful "Chu-Bu and
                    Sheemish" by Lord Dunsany.
                    -- Marcie

                    -----Original Message-----
                    From: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com [mailto:mythsoc@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of
                    Mike Foster
                    Sent: Sunday, November 27, 2005 6:16 PM
                    To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com; Barnett, Catherine R
                    Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Companion to Narnia & Lewis Book Question


                    _Tales Before Tolkien_ is boggling good. My best student in the 2005
                    spring term of that Tolkien class I once taught did a great appreciation
                    and critical review [hi, Catherine!] of it that, I hope, Mythprint will
                    publish.

                    Foster

                    Hugh Davis wrote:

                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >>From: David Bratman <dbratman@...>
                    >>
                    >>
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >>You are probably thinking of _Reading the Classics with C.S. Lewis_,
                    edited
                    >>by Thomas L. Martin (Baker Academic, 2000). It's a collection of essays
                    by
                    >>scholars each discussing the books Lewis read in a particular field and
                    >>what he thought of them.
                    >>
                    >>The closest Tolkien equivalent is probably _Tales Before Tolkien_ edited
                    by
                    >>Douglas A. Anderson (Del Rey, 2003), an anthology of fantasy short stories
                    >>predating The Hobbit. Some of these Tolkien read, and may have been
                    >>influenced by; the editor's notes explain which.
                    >>
                    >>
                    >>
                    >Right on both (although I did think the Tolkien volume was farther back
                    than
                    >that). Thank you, David.
                    >
                    >Hugh
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
                    >Yahoo! Groups Links
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >


                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]






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



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                  • Stolzi
                    HI, Marcie! Diamond Proudbrook
                    Message 9 of 18 , Nov 28, 2005
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                      HI, Marcie!

                      Diamond Proudbrook
                    • Mike Foster
                      This collection is enlightening and delightful, superbly edited and annotated, puissantly chosen: a fruitful anthology for students and scholars and teachers
                      Message 10 of 18 , Nov 28, 2005
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                        This collection is enlightening and delightful, superbly edited and
                        annotated, puissantly chosen: a fruitful anthology for students and
                        scholars and teachers [triple redundancy = 20 points] of JRRT.

                        Marcie, we agree. Any others?

                        ~Mike

                        mgeff@... wrote:

                        >Greetings:
                        >Newbie here would like to second Mike's recommendation of "Tales Before
                        >Tolkien" (Ed. Doug Anderson). I especially love the delightful "Chu-Bu and
                        >Sheemish" by Lord Dunsany.
                        >-- Marcie
                        >
                        >-----Original Message-----
                        >From: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com [mailto:mythsoc@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of
                        >Mike Foster
                        >Sent: Sunday, November 27, 2005 6:16 PM
                        >To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com; Barnett, Catherine R
                        >Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Companion to Narnia & Lewis Book Question
                        >
                        >
                        >_Tales Before Tolkien_ is boggling good. My best student in the 2005
                        >spring term of that Tolkien class I once taught did a great appreciation
                        >and critical review [hi, Catherine!] of it that, I hope, Mythprint will
                        >publish.
                        >
                        >Foster
                        >
                        >Hugh Davis wrote:
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >>
                        >>
                        >>
                        >>>From: David Bratman <dbratman@...>
                        >>>
                        >>>
                        >>>
                        >>>
                        >>
                        >>
                        >>
                        >>>You are probably thinking of _Reading the Classics with C.S. Lewis_,
                        >>>
                        >>>
                        >edited
                        >
                        >
                        >>>by Thomas L. Martin (Baker Academic, 2000). It's a collection of essays
                        >>>
                        >>>
                        >by
                        >
                        >
                        >>>scholars each discussing the books Lewis read in a particular field and
                        >>>what he thought of them.
                        >>>
                        >>>The closest Tolkien equivalent is probably _Tales Before Tolkien_ edited
                        >>>
                        >>>
                        >by
                        >
                        >
                        >>>Douglas A. Anderson (Del Rey, 2003), an anthology of fantasy short stories
                        >>>predating The Hobbit. Some of these Tolkien read, and may have been
                        >>>influenced by; the editor's notes explain which.
                        >>>
                        >>>
                        >>>
                        >>>
                        >>>
                        >>Right on both (although I did think the Tolkien volume was farther back
                        >>
                        >>
                        >than
                        >
                        >
                        >>that). Thank you, David.
                        >>
                        >>Hugh
                        >>
                        >>
                        >>
                        >>
                        >>
                        >>The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
                        >>Yahoo! Groups Links
                        >>
                        >>
                        >>
                        >>
                        >>
                        >>
                        >>
                        >>
                        >>
                        >>
                        >>
                        >>
                        >
                        >
                        >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
                        >
                        >
                        >
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                        >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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                        >
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                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
                        >Yahoo! Groups Links
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                      • David Bratman
                        ... I m glad you liked that story: I pushed for its inclusion. It s one of my favorite wry Dunsany stories, and we know (as the editorial headnote explains)
                        Message 11 of 18 , Nov 28, 2005
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                          At 01:20 PM 11/28/2005 -0800, Marcie wrote:
                          >Newbie here would like to second Mike's recommendation of "Tales Before
                          >Tolkien" (Ed. Doug Anderson). I especially love the delightful "Chu-Bu and
                          >Sheemish" by Lord Dunsany.

                          I'm glad you liked that story: I pushed for its inclusion. It's one of my
                          favorite wry Dunsany stories, and we know (as the editorial headnote
                          explains) that Tolkien read and remembered it.

                          What astonished me about the book was how many stories that I didn't know
                          are awesomely similar to Tolkien in feel and tone, exactly the qualities
                          that imitative post-Tolkien fantasy conspicuously lacks. I'd point in
                          particular to "The Far Islands" by John Buchan (whose similarity to "The
                          Lost Road" or "Smith of Wootton Major" is almost creepy), "The Elf Trap" by
                          Francis Stevens, and "The Woman of the Wood" by A. Merritt (a far better
                          writer, at least in this story, than his reputation would have it).

                          David Bratman
                        • Mike Foster
                          The best student in my spring JRRT class, Catherine M. Barnett, did a very good critique of _Tales Before Tolkien_. With the generosity typical of many
                          Message 12 of 18 , Nov 29, 2005
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                            The best student in my spring JRRT class, Catherine M. Barnett, did a
                            very good critique of _Tales Before Tolkien_. With the generosity
                            typical of many Tolkien scholars, at my request, Doug shared a list of
                            the stories that Tolkien certainly read, likely read, maybe read. This
                            informed the paper quite well.

                            For some reason, writing the above sparked my recall of George Sayer's
                            recollection of visiting Tolkien and finding the Professor on the floor
                            playing with his grandchildren, saying "I'm Thomas the Tank Engine.
                            Puff, puff, puff."

                            Completing the trifecta, Paul McCartney's holograph lyric of "I Want to
                            Hold Your Hand" in the British Library is written on a Thomas the Tank
                            Engine tablet page.

                            Cheers,
                            Mike

                            David Bratman wrote:

                            >At 01:20 PM 11/28/2005 -0800, Marcie wrote:
                            >
                            >
                            >>Newbie here would like to second Mike's recommendation of "Tales Before
                            >>Tolkien" (Ed. Doug Anderson). I especially love the delightful "Chu-Bu and
                            >>Sheemish" by Lord Dunsany.
                            >>
                            >>
                            >
                            >I'm glad you liked that story: I pushed for its inclusion. It's one of my
                            >favorite wry Dunsany stories, and we know (as the editorial headnote
                            >explains) that Tolkien read and remembered it.
                            >
                            >What astonished me about the book was how many stories that I didn't know
                            >are awesomely similar to Tolkien in feel and tone, exactly the qualities
                            >that imitative post-Tolkien fantasy conspicuously lacks. I'd point in
                            >particular to "The Far Islands" by John Buchan (whose similarity to "The
                            >Lost Road" or "Smith of Wootton Major" is almost creepy), "The Elf Trap" by
                            >Francis Stevens, and "The Woman of the Wood" by A. Merritt (a far better
                            >writer, at least in this story, than his reputation would have it).
                            >
                            >David Bratman
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
                            >Yahoo! Groups Links
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >


                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          • Marcie Geffner
                            Hello back to you, and thanks for being the first person (I think) to tell me about MythSoc, though it took me ages to finally join the listserv. Your Narnia
                            Message 13 of 18 , Nov 29, 2005
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                              Hello back to you, and thanks for being the first person (I think) to tell
                              me about MythSoc, though it took me ages to finally join the listserv. Your
                              Narnia cartoon brought a smile to my day!
                              mg


                              _____

                              From: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com [mailto:mythsoc@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
                              Stolzi
                              Sent: Monday, November 28, 2005 6:56 PM
                              To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                              Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Tales Before Tolkien

                              HI, Marcie!

                              Diamond Proudbrook


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                            • Bonnie Callahan
                              Welcome to the list, Marcie! Sorry i missed you at LosCon Your fellow TFer, Prunella
                              Message 14 of 18 , Nov 29, 2005
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                                Welcome to the list, Marcie!

                                Sorry i missed you at LosCon

                                Your fellow TFer, Prunella

                                mgeff@... wrote:

                                > Greetings:
                                > Newbie here would like to second Mike's recommendation of "Tales Before
                                > Tolkien" (Ed. Doug Anderson). I especially love the delightful "Chu-Bu and
                                > Sheemish" by Lord Dunsany.
                                > -- Marcie
                                >
                                > -----Original Message-----
                                > From: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com [mailto:mythsoc@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of
                                > Mike Foster
                                > Sent: Sunday, November 27, 2005 6:16 PM
                                > To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com; Barnett, Catherine R
                                > Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Companion to Narnia & Lewis Book Question
                                >
                                > _Tales Before Tolkien_ is boggling good. My best student in the 2005
                                > spring term of that Tolkien class I once taught did a great appreciation
                                > and critical review [hi, Catherine!] of it that, I hope, Mythprint will
                                > publish.
                                >
                                > Foster
                                >
                                > Hugh Davis wrote:
                                >
                                > >
                                > >
                                > >
                                > >>From: David Bratman <dbratman@...>
                                > >>
                                > >>
                                > >
                                > >
                                > >
                                > >>You are probably thinking of _Reading the Classics with C.S. Lewis_,
                                > edited
                                > >>by Thomas L. Martin (Baker Academic, 2000). It's a collection of essays
                                > by
                                > >>scholars each discussing the books Lewis read in a particular field and
                                > >>what he thought of them.
                                > >>
                                > >>The closest Tolkien equivalent is probably _Tales Before Tolkien_ edited
                                > by
                                > >>Douglas A. Anderson (Del Rey, 2003), an anthology of fantasy short stories
                                > >>predating The Hobbit. Some of these Tolkien read, and may have been
                                > >>influenced by; the editor's notes explain which.
                                > >>
                                > >>
                                > >>
                                > >Right on both (although I did think the Tolkien volume was farther back
                                > than
                                > >that). Thank you, David.
                                > >
                                > >Hugh
                                > >
                                > >
                                > >
                                > >
                                > >
                                > >The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
                                > >Yahoo! Groups Links
                                > >
                                > >
                                > >
                                > >
                                > >
                                > >
                                > >
                                > >
                                > >
                                > >
                                >
                                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                >
                                > The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
                                >
                                > ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                > ----
                                > YAHOO! GROUPS LINKS
                                >
                                > a.. Visit your group "mythsoc" on the web.
                                >
                                > b.. To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                                > mythsoc-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                                >
                                > c.. Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.
                                >
                                > ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                > ----
                                >
                                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                >
                                >
                                > The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
                                > Yahoo! Groups Links
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                              • Marcie Geffner
                                The L.A. TImes naturally runs a lot of articles about Hollywood. There’s no new information in this one about the man who owns the film rights to the Narnia
                                Message 15 of 18 , Dec 5, 2005
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                                  The L.A. TImes naturally runs a lot of articles about Hollywood. There�s no
                                  new information in this one about the man who owns the film rights to the
                                  Narnia series, but here it is if anyone is interested in the background:
                                  -- Marcie

                                  In 'Narnia,' Tycoon Seeks Blockbuster With a Message
                                  By Claudia Eller, Times Staff Writer

                                  After coming up dry on such costly movie flops as "Around the World in 80
                                  Days" and "Sahara," Hollywood's highest-rolling wildcatter is looking for
                                  his first gusher.

                                  And once again, Philip Anschutz is risking big.
                                  The Denver-based multibillionaire, who made a fortune in oil, natural gas,
                                  railroads, telecommunications and real estate, has spent $90 million � half
                                  the film's $180-million budget � to produce the screen adaptation of the
                                  children's classic "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the
                                  Wardrobe."

                                  But whether the movie, which opens Friday, will produce the lucrative
                                  family-oriented franchise that Anschutz hopes for depends on how skillfully
                                  he and his partners at Walt Disney Co. have tapped the well.

                                  Anschutz's independent production company, Walden Media, and Disney, which
                                  cofinanced the film, are banking on religious moviegoers and secular fans
                                  alike to make "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" � adapted from the
                                  beloved book by British theologian and literary scholar C.S. Lewis � a giant
                                  hit.

                                  Such a windfall would give the 65-year-old Anschutz, whose vast assets
                                  include Staples Center, the Los Angeles Kings hockey team, the San Francisco
                                  Examiner and Regal Entertainment Group, the world's largest operator of
                                  movie theaters, something he needs more than money: credibility as a savvy
                                  investor in the movie business.

                                  It could also give Disney something it lacks � a sure-fire movie series on a
                                  par with the "Harry Potter" or "Lord of the Rings" franchises, which have
                                  reaped billions for rival studios. Anschutz, a religious Christian who has
                                  vowed to make wholesome entertainment that doesn't rely on sex, foul
                                  language or violence to sell tickets, controls the rights to all seven books
                                  in the Narnia series.

                                  But first, the companies must pull off a delicate balancing act, luring
                                  religious moviegoers to the allegorical film without turning off mainstream
                                  audiences.

                                  "It's a balance to try to market to the widest possible audience," said
                                  Disney Studios Chairman Dick Cook. "We're trying to cast the widest net we
                                  can."

                                  To that end, Disney is spending mightily � an estimated $120 million to
                                  market and distribute the PG-rated film worldwide on more than 8,000
                                  screens.

                                  Although the studio hopes to attract the same churchgoers who helped make
                                  Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" a box-office juggernaut in 2004,
                                  Cook said less than 5% of the film's marketing budget was earmarked to reach
                                  that group.

                                  Disney has hired some of the same marketing outfits that drummed up
                                  grass-roots support for Gibson's film through church-based outreach
                                  programs, study guides and other means, but "none of the marketing plays up
                                  the biblical aspects of the story," Cook said.

                                  Brent Plate, assistant professor of religion at Texas Christian University
                                  in Fort Worth, said Disney was smart to take a two-pronged sales approach.

                                  "It's a fine line to walk because you don't want to alienate anyone," said
                                  Plate, who believes that the Narnia saga is "in no way a 'Passion' for
                                  kids," as some evangelical groups have labeled the film.

                                  In Lewis' books, which have sold more than 95 million copies worldwide,
                                  there are many religious references, though to most children, they're hard
                                  to spot. For example, Aslan the lion, a benevolent character who is
                                  sacrificed and resurrected, is widely seen to represent Christ.

                                  But many, including Lewis himself, have said the mythologies in "Narnia" are
                                  open to various interpretations, and the story is more about universal
                                  themes of good versus evil, betrayal, sacrifice and forgiveness than about
                                  God.

                                  In the film version of "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," devoted fans
                                  will recognize the four young British siblings who are transported through a
                                  magic wardrobe to Narnia, a parallel universe inhabited by talking animals,
                                  satyrs, dwarfs and an evil witch. The children discover their inner strength
                                  when they lead the forces of good in a battle to save Narnia.

                                  Though there is plenty of spirited swordplay to satisfy audiences that like
                                  action-adventure movies, the film is true to the book's spiritual themes.
                                  The children, for example, are referred to as the sons and daughters of Adam
                                  and Eve.

                                  "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," in other words, has all the elements
                                  � loyalty, family, redemption � that Anschutz prizes most. Those who work
                                  with him say that for the press-shy entrepreneur, "Narnia" represents the
                                  perfect melding of his dual missions: to make big money while subtly
                                  promoting a moral agenda.

                                  "It is a true combination of two motives," said David Weil, chief executive
                                  of Anschutz Film Group, which owns Walden Media and its sister firm, Bristol
                                  Bay Productions.

                                  Anschutz declined to comment for this article, but remarks he made last year
                                  at a Florida college speak volumes about what motivated him to become a
                                  Hollywood player.

                                  After years of complaining about the content of movies, Anschutz told the
                                  students, "I decided to stop cursing the darkness � and instead do something
                                  about it by getting into the film business."

                                  That decision, he joked, prompted his wife to question his sanity.

                                  "Phil, this is one of the nuttier things you've ever done," he recalled her
                                  saying before warning him to keep his day job.

                                  But as crazy as it seemed, Anschutz said, he believed there was money to be
                                  made in family films. "My reasons for getting into the entertainment
                                  business weren't entirely selfless," he told the students. "Hollywood as an
                                  industry can at times be insular and doesn't understand the market very
                                  well. I saw an opportunity in that fact."

                                  His mission, as he saw it, was to "figure out a way to make goods and
                                  products that people actually want to buy."

                                  So far, his track record has been spotty.

                                  "More of our films lost money than made money," acknowledged Weil, who was
                                  Anschutz's attorney before being named head of the billionaire's film
                                  company last year.

                                  Anschutz's successes include the acclaimed films "Holes," "Because of
                                  Winn-Dixie" and "Ray," which won Jamie Foxx a best actor Oscar for his
                                  portrayal of the legendary Ray Charles. The $40-million film, which Anschutz
                                  personally bankrolled, is his biggest box office hit to date with $75
                                  million in U.S. ticket sales.

                                  But any profits he may have seen from those films were offset by untold
                                  losses from such expensive misses as last year's $110-million remake of
                                  "Around the World in 80 Days," which grossed just $24 million domestically.

                                  Anschutz's only other attempt to create a franchise, this year's
                                  $130-million action adventure "Sahara," the first film from a series of
                                  Clive Cussler novels, not only was a box office disappointment but also
                                  prompted an ugly legal brawl. Cussler sued Anschutz, who had optioned all 18
                                  of the novelist's books, alleging his creative rights were violated.
                                  Anschutz countersued, saying the author breached their agreement by
                                  bad-mouthing the movie before its release, among other things.

                                  No settlement talks are underway in the case, which is scheduled for trial
                                  in May. No other movies based on Cussler's novels are planned.

                                  Those who know Anschutz well say his experience in the oil business, where
                                  it's common to drill 20 to 30 holes before striking crude, has made him a
                                  patient investor. He's considered a contrarian, meaning he likes to operate
                                  counter to conventional wisdom.

                                  For example, in 2000 and 2001, when the exhibition business was reeling from
                                  an overbuilding spree, Anschutz bought three troubled theater circuits at
                                  bargain prices. He then merged the trio of companies � creating the world's
                                  largest theater chain � and took them public as Regal Entertainment Group.

                                  "It's been a good investment for Phil," said Mike Campbell, CEO of Regal,
                                  whose 550 theaters boast more than 6,500 screens in 40 states. Campbell
                                  estimates that in any given year, Regal generates about 20%, and sometimes
                                  more, of the total U.S. box office receipts.

                                  Since the company went public in 2002, Campbell said, Anschutz hasn't sold a
                                  single share: "I think that reflects his confidence in the business and his
                                  long-term investment strategy."

                                  But Anschutz's faith in his own intuition has also led him astray. Anschutz,
                                  who owns five professional soccer teams, invested $20 million in a World
                                  Cup-themed movie, "The Game of Their Lives," that grossed a measly $375,474.

                                  Still, Anschutz has told colleagues that he remains committed to the
                                  creative side of the movie business. He likes moviemaking not just for its
                                  entertainment value but also for what Weil calls its ability to "educate,
                                  inspire and promote literacy." (Most of Walden's movies are based on popular
                                  books, and Anschutz insists that the marketing of those films include
                                  educational programs that encourage children to read).

                                  In that vein, Walden is launching a book imprint in partnership with a major
                                  publisher. Anschutz is also considering expanding his film company into such
                                  areas as television production and video games.

                                  "Let's put it this way: We signed a 10-year lease on our building," said
                                  Cary Granat, CEO of Walden, whose posh new headquarters in a Century City
                                  high-rise boasts a 20-seat, state-of-the-art screening room.

                                  "We're building Walden into a trusted family brand," Granat said. "And Phil
                                  is committed to the slate we have."

                                  Among its upcoming projects, most of which are budgeted at less than $30
                                  million, is an $85-million adaptation of E.B. White's pig-and-spider
                                  classic, "Charlotte's Web," which Walden co-financed with Paramount
                                  Pictures. It is scheduled for release in June.

                                  Walden and Disney are already tentatively planning a "Narnia" sequel, based
                                  on Lewis' "Prince Caspian." If the first film is a hit, its director Andrew
                                  Adamson and producer Mark Johnson stand ready to go into production next
                                  fall on "Caspian," to be released during the 2007 holiday season.

                                  On an even grander scale, Granat and Weil said they were considering
                                  launching an endeavor that would compete with the major studios: a movie
                                  distribution operation that would enable the company to market and release
                                  its own movies.

                                  "Phil Anschutz is known to be an opportunist," Weil said.

                                  As Anschutz told the students in Florida, he knows he has something to
                                  prove.

                                  "Nothing communicates with the people who make real decisions in Hollywood,"
                                  he said, "like spending your own money and showing that you can make
                                  profitable films."

                                  --
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                                • Hugh Davis
                                  It appears I will be able to teach a semester independent study on CS Lewis next semester (I teach at an independent high school), and I would love to hear
                                  Message 16 of 18 , Dec 5, 2005
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                                    It appears I will be able to teach a semester independent study on CS Lewis
                                    next semester (I teach at an independent high school), and I would love to
                                    hear from list members who have taught courses on CS Lewis (and the rest of
                                    the Inklings) about what you feel *must* be included and any other
                                    recommendations you can make.

                                    Thank you,

                                    Hugh Davis
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