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Re: [mythsoc] Re: A. N. Wilson's biography

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  • John D Rateliff
    ... Have to disagree with you on that point, Mike. As it happens, Wilson did not make this up; I was present when Douglas Gresham said that he saw his mother
    Message 1 of 9 , Feb 2, 2005
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      On Jan 31, 2006, at 2:26 PM, Mike Foster wrote:

      > A detailed and well-deserved demolition of Wilson's anti-hagiography.
      >
      > As to footnote #3, a look at the transcripts of Lyle Dorsett's
      > interviews with D. Gresham and G. Sayer at Wheaton [Ill] College's
      > Wade
      > Collection might have been helpful to the author of this review--as it
      > would have been to another recent CSL biographer reviewed elsewhere.
      >
      > Mike

      Have to disagree with you on that point, Mike. As it happens, Wilson
      did not make this up; I was present when Douglas Gresham said that he
      saw his mother and CSL having sex. For years I thought it was during
      his 1983 Wade Lecture, but recently I listened to my tape of the
      event (which unfortunately stops before he wrapped up) and it's not
      on that, so I think it must have been at the reception back at the
      old Wade Center afterwards.

      The issue was not, of course, whether CSL had remained a lifelong
      virgin; that's just a typical piece of Wilsonian hyperbole (having
      edited the Lewis-Greeves letters, Fr. Hooper knew better). But at
      that time Hooper was maintaining that CSL and Joy Gresham never
      consumated their marriage; that the bedside religious service had
      been an act of charity on Lewis's part to humor a dying woman no less
      than the earlier legal marriage. Thereafter ill health and no doubt
      religious scruples would have kept their relationship platonic (I
      believe he has since abandoned this position). Lyle Dorsett, in the
      course of researching Joy Davidman Gresham Lewis's life, was
      convinced otherwise; among other things he had turned up letters she
      had written to a friend back in America describing how pleased she
      was to discover that Lewis was good in bed. These could of course be
      dismissed as flights of fantasy by a very very ill woman or
      comforting lies so her friends wouldn't worry, but that would have
      been profoundly out of character for J.D.G.L. When Lyle asked Gresham
      what he thought, Douglas G. replied that he knew for a fact that
      their union was consummated because he'd once walked in on them
      inadvertently. I don't think he said when this occurred, but I assume
      it was at the Kilns and so after the marriage.

      I don't know why Wilson changed the original passage; probably
      because after the point was challenged he couldn't confirm what he'd
      written from the public record and so hedged his bets.

      Still not had time to read all the Dutch piece, but a quick glance
      isn't reassuring. I suppose one person's salutary chastisement is
      another person's carping, but I found it altogether too smug.
      Interesting, though.

      A pity Sayer, who researched his biography in the years immediately
      following Lewis's death, didn't write it up until two decades later,
      when he was a very old man and details had faded from his memory; I
      admire his book as a wonderful memoir of his friend, but Wilson's for
      all its flaws is better as a biography. A pity Wilson let Carpenter
      goad him into being more iconoclastic than would otherwise have been
      the case. An even greater pity that Lyle, whose book on JDGL is an
      amazing piece of work, hasn't written a biography of CSL himself.



      On Feb 1, 2006, at 10:29 AM, Stolzi wrote:
      > I'm also waiting for a Frey-type parody which explains all the
      > major, major
      > lies in SURPRISED BY JOY. Mr Bratman? Dr Williams?

      Well, one of Lewis's fellow Inklings said the title should have been
      SUPPRESSED BY JACK, which implies that those who knew him best were
      well aware that the book was a polemic with a clear didactic goal in
      mind and not straightforward autobiography. The same has been claimed
      for A GRIEF OBSERVED, but that point is hotly debated. And then
      there's Barfield's contribution to LIGHT ON C.S. LEWIS, which Tolkien
      said got closer to the real truth about Lewis than any other

      --JDR




      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Stolzi
      A Dutchman, hitherto unknown to me, administers a welcome pasting to A.N. Wilson s book:
      Message 2 of 9 , Jan 30, 2006
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        A Dutchman, hitherto unknown to me, administers a welcome pasting to A.N.
        Wilson's book:

        http://www.solcon.nl/arendsmilde/cslewis/reflections/e-definitivebiography.htm

        Diamond Proudbrook
      • Croft, Janet B.
        Very nicely done! I like the little digs at embellished biographies (like Frey s _Million Little Pieces_) that crop up here and there.... Janet Brennan
        Message 3 of 9 , Jan 31, 2006
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          Very nicely done! I like the little digs at "embellished" biographies
          (like Frey's _Million Little Pieces_) that crop up here and there....


          Janet Brennan Croft

          -----Original Message-----
          From: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com [mailto:mythsoc@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
          Of Stolzi
          Sent: Monday, January 30, 2006 9:28 PM
          To: SpareOom@yahoogroups.com; Mythopoeic Society
          Subject: [mythsoc] A. N. Wilson's biography of C. S. Lewis

          A Dutchman, hitherto unknown to me, administers a welcome pasting to
          A.N.
          Wilson's book:

          http://www.solcon.nl/arendsmilde/cslewis/reflections/e-definitivebiograp
          hy.htm

          Diamond Proudbrook



          The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org Yahoo! Groups
          Links
        • Adam Linton
          I am interested in reading the article mentioned. However, the link seems no longer to work. Do you have another source for it? Thanks. ... biographies ...
          Message 4 of 9 , Jan 31, 2006
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            I am interested in reading the article mentioned. However, the link
            seems no longer to work. Do you have another source for it? Thanks.

            --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "Croft, Janet B." <jbcroft@o...>
            wrote:
            >
            > Very nicely done! I like the little digs at "embellished"
            biographies
            > (like Frey's _Million Little Pieces_) that crop up here and
            there....
            >
            >
            > Janet Brennan Croft
            >
            > -----Original Message-----
            > From: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com [mailto:mythsoc@yahoogroups.com] On
            Behalf
            > Of Stolzi
            > Sent: Monday, January 30, 2006 9:28 PM
            > To: SpareOom@yahoogroups.com; Mythopoeic Society
            > Subject: [mythsoc] A. N. Wilson's biography of C. S. Lewis
            >
            > A Dutchman, hitherto unknown to me, administers a welcome pasting
            to
            > A.N.
            > Wilson's book:
            >
            > http://www.solcon.nl/arendsmilde/cslewis/reflections/e-
            definitivebiograp
            > hy.htm
            >
            > Diamond Proudbrook
            >
            >
            >
            > The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org Yahoo! Groups
            > Links
            >
          • Croft, Janet B.
            It linked okay for me earlier today. It may be that you didn t get the whole link -- I see below that it got cut into three pieces. Try typing in the whole
            Message 5 of 9 , Jan 31, 2006
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              It linked okay for me earlier today. It may be that you didn't get the
              whole link -- I see below that it got cut into three pieces. Try typing
              in the whole long thing instead of just clicking on it.


              Janet

              -----Original Message-----
              From: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com [mailto:mythsoc@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
              Of Adam Linton
              Sent: Tuesday, January 31, 2006 10:24 AM
              To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: [mythsoc] Re: A. N. Wilson's biography of C. S. Lewis

              I am interested in reading the article mentioned. However, the link
              seems no longer to work. Do you have another source for it? Thanks.

              --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "Croft, Janet B." <jbcroft@o...>
              wrote:
              >
              > Very nicely done! I like the little digs at "embellished"
              biographies
              > (like Frey's _Million Little Pieces_) that crop up here and
              there....
              >
              >
              > Janet Brennan Croft
              >
              > -----Original Message-----
              > From: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com [mailto:mythsoc@yahoogroups.com] On
              Behalf
              > Of Stolzi
              > Sent: Monday, January 30, 2006 9:28 PM
              > To: SpareOom@yahoogroups.com; Mythopoeic Society
              > Subject: [mythsoc] A. N. Wilson's biography of C. S. Lewis
              >
              > A Dutchman, hitherto unknown to me, administers a welcome pasting
              to
              > A.N.
              > Wilson's book:
              >
              > http://www.solcon.nl/arendsmilde/cslewis/reflections/e-
              definitivebiograp
              > hy.htm
              >
              > Diamond Proudbrook
              >
              >
              >
              > The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org Yahoo! Groups
              > Links
              >







              The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org Yahoo! Groups
              Links
            • Stolzi
              I was hoping that my mail client now makes sure to enclose all of a lengthy URL when mailing it, but I may have to go back to using TinyURL. Here s one for the
              Message 6 of 9 , Jan 31, 2006
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                I was hoping that my mail client now makes sure to enclose all of a lengthy
                URL when mailing it, but I may have to go back to using TinyURL.

                Here's one for the Smilde piece http://tinyurl.com/9ns8n


                Sorry folks!

                Diamond Proudbrook
              • Mike Foster
                A detailed and well-deserved demolition of Wilson s anti-hagiography. As to footnote #3, a look at the transcripts of Lyle Dorsett s interviews with D.
                Message 7 of 9 , Jan 31, 2006
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                  A detailed and well-deserved demolition of Wilson's anti-hagiography.

                  As to footnote #3, a look at the transcripts of Lyle Dorsett's
                  interviews with D. Gresham and G. Sayer at Wheaton [Ill] College's Wade
                  Collection might have been helpful to the author of this review--as it
                  would have been to another recent CSL biographer reviewed elsewhere.

                  Mike

                  Stolzi wrote:

                  >I was hoping that my mail client now makes sure to enclose all of a lengthy
                  >URL when mailing it, but I may have to go back to using TinyURL.
                  >
                  >Here's one for the Smilde piece http://tinyurl.com/9ns8n
                  >
                  >
                  >Sorry folks!
                  >
                  >Diamond Proudbrook
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
                  >Yahoo! Groups Links
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                • Adam Linton
                  Thanks. I was thus able to retrieve the article and am reading it. ... lengthy
                  Message 8 of 9 , Jan 31, 2006
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                    Thanks. I was thus able to retrieve the article and am reading it.

                    --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "Stolzi" <Stolzi@c...> wrote:
                    >
                    > I was hoping that my mail client now makes sure to enclose all of a
                    lengthy
                    > URL when mailing it, but I may have to go back to using TinyURL.
                    >
                    > Here's one for the Smilde piece http://tinyurl.com/9ns8n
                    >
                    >
                    > Sorry folks!
                    >
                    > Diamond Proudbrook
                    >
                  • WendellWag@aol.com
                    The problem is that in the first edition of his biography of Lewis, Wilson claimed that Gresham said that he saw Lewis and Davidman having sex *before* they
                    Message 9 of 9 , Feb 3, 2006
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                      The problem is that in the first edition of his biography of Lewis, Wilson
                      claimed that Gresham said that he saw Lewis and Davidman having sex *before*
                      they were married. This was why Wilson dropped the story in his later
                      editions without comment. I remember this quite specifically from my reading of the
                      first edition because I commented on it in a letter I wrote to _Mythprint_.
                      I also commented on Wilson's absurd misreading of the "Nazi, homosexual
                      pleasures" letter (from Lewis's letters, where Wilson ridiculously attributed a
                      student's comment that Lewis made fun of to Lewis himself). This story was
                      also dropped in the later editions without comment.

                      Wendell Wagner


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