Monthly Archives: May 2014

7 Interesting Facts about CS Lewis

by Eriathwen

 

CS Lewis is one of the most famous Christian apologists of the 20th century and author of over 30 novels, including our beloved Chronicles of Narnia. You may already know who CS Lewis is, but here are some facts you may not know:

 

  • CS Lewis attended the cinema and on one occasion watched King Kong (1933). In a letter to Arthur Greeves he writes, “You will be surprised to hear that I have been to the cinema again! Don’t be alarmed, it will not become a habit.” Later, regarding the film he says, “I thought parts of ‘King Kong’ (especially where the natives make a stand after he’s broken the gate) magnificent.” He commented to a fellow author, “but the New York parts contemptible.”[1]

  • CS Lewis wrote four collections of poetry under the pseudonym of Clive Hamilton. “Lewis’ earliest ambition was to be numbered among the great poets, and he took great pains to write and rewrite, and rewrite his poems, some even after they were published.” [2]

  • When CS Lewis was four, his dog ‘Jacksie’ was run over with a car. Shortly after, he announced his name was now ‘Jacksie’ and would not answer to any other name, but later accepted ‘Jacks’ which became ‘Jack’, the name by which he was known to friends and family for the rest of his life. [3]

  • Lewis was strongly opposed to the creation of live-action versions of his works due to the technology at the time. His major concern was that the anthropomorphic animal characters “when taken out of narrative into actual visibility, always turn into buffoonery or nightmare.” This was said in the context of the 1950s, when technology would not allow the special effects required to make a coherent, robust film version of Narnia. [4]

  • CS Lewis died on November 22, 1963, a week before his 65th birthday and on the same day as Kennedy’s assassination. [5]

  • Lewis cared deeply about people. He gave away much of his income to people in need. Lewis never got rich from his Christian classics, according to Michael Maudlin, executive editor at HarperOne. “His books left him poor,” Maudlin said. “He had all of this money coming in, but he didn’t take those royalties.” Lewis vowed to donate all the money he made from his books on Christianity, Maudlin says. He got big tax bills for his Christian books but struggled to pay them because he had already given the money away. [6]

  • Lewis himself never learned to type, always depending on pens. One reason was because of the clumsiness caused by Lewis’s only having one joint in his thumbs’ preventing him from using a typewriter properly. Yet, it wasn’t just his thumbs keeping him from the typewriter, he chose not to type. “This mechanical mode of writing”, he believed, “interfered with the creative process in that the incessant clacking of the typewriter keys dulled the writer’s appreciation of the rhythms and cadences of the English language.” [7]

References

[1] Christianity Today. C.S. Lewis: Did You Know?

[2] The Christian Post. C.S. Lewis: Top 10 Facts Everyone Should Know About ‘One of the Intellectual Giants of the 20th Century’

[3] Unshakable Hope. Remembering the Other ‘Jack’

[4] The Guardian. C.S. Lewis feared film would ruin
Narnia

[5] The Huffington Post UK. C.S. Lewis Facts: 11 things you never knew about the Narnia author

 [6] CNN Belief Blog. The C.S. Lewis you never knew

[7] Desiring God. Jack’s Typewriter 

TLC Graduation Ceremony

You are hereby cordially invited to a ceremony in honour of various TLC staff and members who have recently (or are soon to) graduate from various academic endeavours. Among the graduates is our very own webmaster and fisherdess, Kristi Simonson.

Date: 31 May 2014
Time: 9.30 am Pacific Time
Dress code: Formal
Venue: TLC chatroom
Official speaker: Violamum

If you are a member of TLC and have just/or are about to graduate, please let us know so we can include you in the event. Contact Tenethia or Ajnos by PM or any other appropriate method. Guests please RSVP for seating and catering arrangements.

An Evening with CS Lewis: A Review

by Always Narnian

Have you ever wondered what it would have been like to meet the author CS Lewis? An Evening with CS Lewis is a stage production starring British actor David Payne that allows you to take a peek into the life of this talented and famous writer.

The show is set in the year 1963 and the audience is meant to be a group of American writers that have come to visit Lewis in his home. The show begins with David Payne, entering as Lewis, carrying a tray with a teapot on it. At one point he quips: “You Americans drink iced tea, don’t you? How strange.” According to the show, Lewis was “born at a very early age.” It included the retelling of how Lewis came up with his own nickname, ‘Jacksie,’ and how this later evolved into him being called ‘Jack.’ He spoke of the holidays he and his brother would go on (one time even visiting France) and about his old home, Little Lea, and how full of books it was. Jack was encouraged by his parents to read. His childhood was not all happy, however, as he spoke of his mother’s death and his unsatisfactory experiences with boarding school at the age of nine. After moving to another school, Lewis made the philosophical choice to believe that there was not a God, and he was somehow angry about His nonexistence.

The next few subjects covered included: Lewis’ experiences in the trenches during World War I, his position as Tutor at Magdalen College, and his meeting of J.R.R. Tolkien at a play. Tolkien went on to write The Lord of the Rings, and, prior to its publishing, Lewis had the honor of hearing the majority of it read to him. Tolkien had become a vital part of Lewis’ life, for there was a certain occasion in which he and a man by the name of Hugo Dyson spoke to Lewis about the story of Christ. This particular conversation had a great influence upon Lewis, and it was soon after it that he came to believe in Jesus Christ. Lewis became less popular among his colleagues at the college when he began focusing on religion. Though you have perhaps heard Lewis’ conversion story countless times, this show will bring it even more alive in your memory and with a fresh appreciation one cannot always receive from reading.

The story of how Narnia came about was amusing: Lewis had begun to read part of his story to Tolkien when he told Lewis he had heard all that he wanted to hear! Tolkien’s critiques discouraged Lewis so much that he almost threw away the draft of it later on. However, he began reading it again and became interested, deciding to send it to his publisher. This was the incident that brought about The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

I felt like one of the main focuses of the act was the marriage of Jack to his wife, Joy. He spoke about how they began writing letters after she had read The Screwtape Letters and about her visits with Lewis while she was in England. He went on to tell what their relationship was like and how they were married. It interested me, as this was probably an area about Lewis I did not know much about. It is a simple love story and you will find yourself intrigued, moved, and entertained by this tale of Jack and Joy.

From humour to philosophy, from history to religion, David Payne takes you through the different stages of Lewis’ life in such a way that you leave feeling as if you know Lewis better than before. Mr Payne has done an excellent job selecting certain topics to include in his An Evening With CS Lewis, as there are so many fascinating facts about Lewis to explore and only such a little time to do it. However, I would have preferred to hear a little bit more about Narnia!

An Evening with CS Lewis is a breathtaking event for any Lewis fan and even an enjoyable watch for those who may not be very familiar with the author. Payne’s portrayal of Lewis was stunning and I nearly had to remind myself that he was an actor! If you have the opportunity to view this show in your area, I encourage you not to miss out on such a chance! An Evening with CS Lewis is an experience that will satisfy your curiosity or your appreciation for the life of this beloved author.

The Lefay Fragment and Other Such Stuff

By Tenethia South

Before C.S. Lewis died, he gave strict orders to his brother Warnie to incinerate a pile of old letters and manuscripts which he had stored away some time before. The story goes that Walter Hooper arrived at the Kilns just in time to save a good bit of Lewis’s writings from making their way onto the fire. In some of the writings we discover The Lefay Fragment, early versions of parts of the Chronicles, a scribbling of some early plot ideas, and several ideas that Lewis eventually used in other books. (1, 2)

Perhaps the largest piece of manuscript from the Chronicles saved was The Lefay Fragment. This was hand-written in a notebook, and appears to be an early draft of The Magician’s Nephew. In it, Digory has a special power to speak with trees and animals, but loses it when he is convinced by Polly to saw off one of a tree’s limbs in order to build a raft. Mrs. Lefay, his godmother, comes for a visit and seems to be sympathetic to his problem. Although we would all probably love to find out if this early Digory ever regained his ability to speak to trees, the fragment ends abruptly when Mrs. Lefay begins to give Digory directions to her home. A photograph of one of the pages of The Lefay Fragment can be found at at the following link to an exhibition held at the Bodleian Library, Oxford, in 2013.

Two other writings saved from the fire included early drafts of sections of the Chronicles. These aren’t nearly as new to people as The Lefay Fragment is, but are still neat to read when one considers that they are first drafts. The first is several pages of Eustace’s journal from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, including the storm after the company left the Lone Islands, and the water shortage on board the Dawn Treader. The other paragraph, in which Jill’s flight on Glimfeather is described, was published in The Silver Chair. Both of these drafts were modified only slightly. In Eustace’s journal a few facts were changed to be more believable, and the Silver Chair tid-bit had a slight modification for clarity’s sake.

Besides finding The Lefay Fragment and some early drafts of parts of the Chronicles, Hooper discovered what looks like the initial ideas for The Voyage of the Dawn Treader story. Some of the plotting originally included the Dawn Treader sailing back in time, and only two children sailing instead of three. Also, it is possible these children were not originally meant to be Lucy and Edmund. At least, Lewis did not seem to know who these children were, only that they “somehow” got aboard a ship.

Within the salvaged writings there are many ideas that Lewis ended up using in other places. For instance, the character Pattertwig, found originally in The Lefay Fragment, is used in Prince Caspian. In both writings, Pattertwig offers a nut to another character, and in both writings the other character looks away for the reason that it is rude among squirrels to look to see where a squirrel keeps his hoard. Another character from The Lefay Fragment, Aunt Gertrude, seems to be used later as the head of Experiment House, and the idea of having a dwarf narrating was used in Prince Caspian.

The Lefay Fragment, the early versions of Eustace’s journal and Jill’s flight, the early plot sketch of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and all the mentioned ideas that Lewis eventually used can be found in Past Watchful Dragons by Walter Hooper, which is a book about “how they came to be written, how they can best be enjoyed, and how they may be interpreted.” It can be purchased at Amazon.com and other book stores.

For those readers who are writers, do not simply give up on a draft because it seems poorly written. CS Lewis had to write a lot of drafts and charts and brainstorming, so you are in good company.

1. Walter Hooper (1977). Introduction to The Dark Tower and Other Stories.
2. Walter Hooper (1979). Past Watchful Dragons: The Narnian Chronicles of C.S. Lewis.