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Something I don't understand yet about Lewis's life

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  • WendellWag@aol.com
    In the discussion of biographies of Lewis, some mention was made of the question of whether Lewis had an affair with Mrs. Moore. This reminds me of an issue
    Message 1 of 4 , Apr 7 4:04 PM
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      In the discussion of biographies of Lewis, some mention was made of the
      question of whether Lewis had an affair with Mrs. Moore. This reminds me of an
      issue I wanted to bring up. I think that I can understand both the people who
      don't think that there's any evidence for such an affair and those who think
      that it's obvious that it happened. I think both groups of people ignore a
      difference between the time when this would have happened (approximately the
      1920's and 1930's) and the present about how people treated other people's
      personal lives.

      The difference is that people back then could think that a particular
      lifestyle was wrong and yet not feel compelled to criticize it, even in friends and
      relatives who they knew well. This does not mean that people now or then
      are more accepting of other lifestyles nor that the prevalence of such
      lifestyles are any different. It's just that now we live in an era where things are
      spelled out more. I think that's true in a lot of things. Before people
      lived in an era where social rules were understood and didn't have to be spoken
      of as much. Nowdays we tend to feel that the rules of what's acceptable have
      to be made explicit. This is why Lewis could share a house with Mrs. Moore
      for thirty years without everyone close to them needing to have their exact
      relationship spelled out.

      Similarly, I've read things about Lewis that questioned why he could say
      that he thought homosexuality was wrong when he had two good friends (his
      correspondent from childhood Arthur Greeves and fellow Inkling Neville Coghill) who
      were gay (according to some things I read). Lewis has only a few mentions
      of homosexuality in his published or unpublished (at his death) writings. The
      little he wrote says that he didn't think it should be made illegal and that
      a homosexual Christian should stay celibate and thus should follow the same
      rule as a hetrosexual Christian who wasn't married. He was thus implicitly
      saying that (if there was indeed an affair with Mrs. Moore) his actions before
      he became a Christian were equally unacceptable for a Christian. And, in
      any case, he didn't feel that it was his job to personally criticize his
      friends.

      There's still something I can't get my head wrapped around yet. Everyone
      who thinks that there was an affair thinks that it ended within fifteen years
      after it began, before Lewis became a Christian. This would mean that the
      relationship between Lewis and Moore turned into what most people had assumed it
      was anyway (a middle-aged man taking care of the mother of a dead friend),
      and this change in the relationship happened without anyone making a big deal
      of it. There are statements by younger acquaintances of Lewis (students of
      his and such) who saw Lewis and Moore interact when visiting the Kilns and
      they immediately assumed that Mrs. Moore was his mother (since he even called
      her "Mother" at times) and later assumed that she was his landlady or
      something. I find it bizarre that the relationship changed without any comment by
      anyone involved.

      Wendell Wagner



      ************************************** See what's free at http://www.aol.com


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • lynnmaudlin
      I agree, there are some interesting elements in all this - and we do but speculate. To address your final question, let us assume for argument s sake that they
      Message 2 of 4 , Apr 18 2:54 AM
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        I agree, there are some interesting elements in all this - and we do
        but speculate. To address your final question, let us assume for
        argument's sake that they did have a sexual relationship at some point
        in time but that it had ceased being a sexual relationship by the time
        CSL seriously embraced Christianity.

        In a time when people were far less open about such behavior, what
        would you expect them to say? If the change was disappointing to Mrs.
        Moore, what would she do? Creating a scene or gossiping doesn't
        restore the sexual relationship and perhaps loses her the overall
        ongoing support. But I think it is more likely that the sexual
        relationship (again, assuming there was one) cooled over the years --I
        am told that is not uncommon-- and then they are left with what
        remains: CSL living with and caring for a woman quite a bit older,
        with whom he used to be lovers, probably now to his embarassment. In
        that more likely case, nothing *would* be said and the relationship
        would simply be allowed to slip into being in reality what CSL
        professed it was all along: taking care of the mother of his friend
        killed in the war.

        The comments I've read by CSL and Warnie (assorted letters) indicate
        that she became an increasingly difficult person with whom to share a
        household; I suspect guilt over having inappropriately crossed a
        boundary may well have been what kept CSL there, after all those
        years. After all, Mrs. Moore had other family - and yet she lived with
        CSL. And if *that* were the case, what do you think Jack would have
        said to Warnie, or vice versa? And in what bare detail would it be
        referenced in journals? Unlikely, imho.

        -- Lynn --


        --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, WendellWag@... wrote:
        >
        > In the discussion of biographies of Lewis, some mention was made of
        the
        > question of whether Lewis had an affair with Mrs. Moore. This
        reminds me of an
        > issue I wanted to bring up. I think that I can understand both the
        people who
        > don't think that there's any evidence for such an affair and those
        who think
        > that it's obvious that it happened. I think both groups of people
        ignore a
        > difference between the time when this would have happened
        (approximately the
        > 1920's and 1930's) and the present about how people treated other
        people's
        > personal lives.
        >
        > The difference is that people back then could think that a particular
        > lifestyle was wrong and yet not feel compelled to criticize it, even
        in friends and
        > relatives who they knew well. This does not mean that people now or
        then
        > are more accepting of other lifestyles nor that the prevalence of such
        > lifestyles are any different. It's just that now we live in an era
        where things are
        > spelled out more. I think that's true in a lot of things. Before
        people
        > lived in an era where social rules were understood and didn't have
        to be spoken
        > of as much. Nowdays we tend to feel that the rules of what's
        acceptable have
        > to be made explicit. This is why Lewis could share a house with
        Mrs. Moore
        > for thirty years without everyone close to them needing to have
        their exact
        > relationship spelled out.
        >
        > Similarly, I've read things about Lewis that questioned why he could
        say
        > that he thought homosexuality was wrong when he had two good friends
        (his
        > correspondent from childhood Arthur Greeves and fellow Inkling
        Neville Coghill) who
        > were gay (according to some things I read). Lewis has only a few
        mentions
        > of homosexuality in his published or unpublished (at his death)
        writings. The
        > little he wrote says that he didn't think it should be made illegal
        and that
        > a homosexual Christian should stay celibate and thus should follow
        the same
        > rule as a hetrosexual Christian who wasn't married. He was thus
        implicitly
        > saying that (if there was indeed an affair with Mrs. Moore) his
        actions before
        > he became a Christian were equally unacceptable for a Christian.
        And, in
        > any case, he didn't feel that it was his job to personally
        criticize his
        > friends.
        >
        > There's still something I can't get my head wrapped around yet.
        Everyone
        > who thinks that there was an affair thinks that it ended within
        fifteen years
        > after it began, before Lewis became a Christian. This would mean
        that the
        > relationship between Lewis and Moore turned into what most people
        had assumed it
        > was anyway (a middle-aged man taking care of the mother of a dead
        friend),
        > and this change in the relationship happened without anyone making a
        big deal
        > of it. There are statements by younger acquaintances of Lewis
        (students of
        > his and such) who saw Lewis and Moore interact when visiting the
        Kilns and
        > they immediately assumed that Mrs. Moore was his mother (since he
        even called
        > her "Mother" at times) and later assumed that she was his landlady or
        > something. I find it bizarre that the relationship changed without
        any comment by
        > anyone involved.
        >
        > Wendell Wagner
        >
        >
        >
        > ************************************** See what's free at
        http://www.aol.com
        >
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
      • David Bratman
        Lynn, I think you ve hit the point. Lewis says in his theological writings somewhere (and I d appreciate a citation if anyone can find it) that a sexual
        Message 3 of 4 , Apr 18 8:34 PM
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          Lynn,

          I think you've hit the point. Lewis says in his theological writings
          somewhere (and I'd appreciate a citation if anyone can find it) that a
          sexual encounter between a man and a woman sets up an unbreakable spiritual
          bond between them. If Lewis and Mrs. Moore did indeed have a sexual
          relationship in their early time together, that would explain a lot. It
          would explain why he felt obliged to care for her so diligently all her
          days, much more so than a promise to her dead son would suggest. And it
          would explain why, after becoming a Christian, he was so reluctant to
          discuss the relationship even with Warren - his embarrassment over his
          youthful ethical lapses must have been intense. It does not prove the
          sexual relationship - I doubt that will ever be proven - but it is suggestive.

          David Bratman
        • lynnmaudlin
          David, I know the citation you mean (do I know its location off the top of my head? noooo) - but I think it may come from The Screwtape Letters. Yes, indeed,
          Message 4 of 4 , Apr 20 2:36 AM
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            David, I know the citation you mean (do I know its location off the
            top of my head? noooo) - but I think it may come from The Screwtape
            Letters. Yes, indeed, it appears to be in Letter 18 (I love the internet!)

            -- Lynn --

            --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, David Bratman <dbratman@...> wrote:
            >
            > Lynn,
            >
            > I think you've hit the point. Lewis says in his theological writings
            > somewhere (and I'd appreciate a citation if anyone can find it) that a
            > sexual encounter between a man and a woman sets up an unbreakable
            spiritual
            > bond between them. If Lewis and Mrs. Moore did indeed have a sexual
            > relationship in their early time together, that would explain a lot. It
            > would explain why he felt obliged to care for her so diligently all her
            > days, much more so than a promise to her dead son would suggest. And it
            > would explain why, after becoming a Christian, he was so reluctant to
            > discuss the relationship even with Warren - his embarrassment over his
            > youthful ethical lapses must have been intense. It does not prove the
            > sexual relationship - I doubt that will ever be proven - but it is
            suggestive.
            >
            > David Bratman
            >
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