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Trounced

C.H. Sisson, 22 February 1990

C.S. LewisA Biography 
by A.N. Wilson.
Collins, 334 pp., £15, February 1990, 0 00 215137 5
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... C.S. Lewis was born in 1898, the son of a Belfast solicitor. He was educated first at home, then in England at a preparatory school, at Malvern (for one term only), and by a private tutor. So to Oxford. It was 1917. Lewis had volunteered, and he was in effect an officer cadet, soon in ‘barracks’ at Keble ...

Floating Islands

J.I.M. Stewart, 21 October 1982

Of This and Other Worlds 
by C.S. Lewis, edited by Walter Hooper.
Collins, 192 pp., £7.95, September 1982, 0 00 215608 3
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George Orwell: A Personal Memoir 
by T.R. Fyvel.
Weidenfeld, 221 pp., £9.95, September 1982, 0 297 78012 3
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... The ‘other worlds’ of the title here given to a gathering of miscellaneous pieces by C.S. Lewis are presumably Malcandra and Perelandra – Mars and Venus as they are revealed to Lewis’s space-traveller, Elwin Ransom – and also perhaps the spiritual world as set against the natural ...

Don’t do it!

Wendy Doniger: Dick Francis, 15 October 1998

Field of 13 
by Dick Francis.
Joseph, 273 pp., £16.99, September 1998, 0 7181 4351 5
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... desire to provide an answer to an insoluble paradox close to the bone of human existence: in this case the riddle of pain and endurance. The theology is one of pain. It strikes me as significant that C.S. Lewis published The Problem of Pain in 1957, the year in which Francis published his first book, The Sport of Queens, a ...

‘I love you, defiant witch!’

Michael Newton: Charles Williams, 8 September 2016

Charles Williams: The Third Inkling 
by Grevel Lindop.
Oxford, 493 pp., £25, October 2015, 978 0 19 928415 3
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... prided himself on being the only person who could claim the friendship of those arch-enemies C.S. Lewis and T.S. Eliot. Lewis and Williams both aimed at the disruption of the realist novel though the use of erudite fantasy, drawing on Dante and Plato and Milton; they wanted to make contemporary England ...

Deeper Shallows

Stefan Collini: C.S. Lewis, 20 June 2013

C.S. LewisA Life 
by Alister McGrath.
Hodder, 431 pp., £20, April 2013, 978 1 4447 4552 8
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... It is difficult to write about C.S. Lewis without giving offence. Most authors have their admirers, and literary sectarianism is hardly rare, but Lewis is unusual in being at the heart of more than one cult, having excelled in genres where attachments are warmest and the cool touch of analysis can be most resented, such as popular religious writing and children’s literature ...

Scotch Urchins

Denton Fox, 22 May 1986

Alexander Montgomerie 
by R.D.S. Jack.
Scottish Academic Press, 140 pp., £4.50, June 1985, 0 7073 0367 2
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Letters of King James VI and I 
edited by G.P.V. Akrigg.
California, 546 pp., £32.75, November 1984, 0 520 04707 9
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The Concise Scots Dictionary 
by Mairi Robinson.
Aberdeen University Press, 819 pp., £17.50, August 1985, 0 08 028491 4
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... Scotland’, or ‘the immortal bard of Edinburgh’, but I would prefer ‘Montgomerie’.) C.S. Lewis more drily remarks, ‘unless you are a student you will not read him.’ Although we do now know that he died in 1598, the date of his birth is obscure. Jack follows the tradition of putting it c. 1545, on the usual grounds that the Bannatyne Manuscript of ...

Diary

Patrick Parrinder: On Raymond Williams, 18 February 1988

... and intellectual militant, even though he was in the opposite camp to Williams’s own. C.S. Lewis, author of academic classics such as The Allegory of Love, died in 1963 in his 65th year. Today his memory stays alive far from the academic world, in the reading of children and Science Fiction fans, and in Christian bookshops where I have seen whole areas ...

Complete with spats

A.N. Wilson, 27 May 1993

Dorothy L. Sayers: Her Life and Soul 
by Barbara Reynolds.
Hodder, 398 pp., £25, March 1993, 0 340 58151 4
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... marriage, for example; but we do not feel – at any rate, I did not feel – that this is a case of suppressio veri. More an exercise in getting things in perspective. Yes, Sayers was a vicar’s daughter who gave birth to an illegitimate child (a consequence of her fondness for motorcycling ‘rough trade’); yes, in spite of being a very publicly ...

Endgame

John Bayley, 17 March 1988

End of a Journey: An Autobiographical Journal 1979-1981 
by Philip Toynbee.
Bloomsbury, 422 pp., £25, February 1988, 0 7475 0132 7
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... the virus late in life have something in common, but may differ strongly in personality. C.S. Lewis, whom Toynbee respects but obviously does not much care for, has, like Malcolm Muggeridge, a touch of the sacred monster about him. He was a performer, and a journal by him is hardly imaginable: as with other such monsters, one is fascinated by him in an ...

Favourite Subjects

J.I.M. Stewart, 17 September 1981

The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien 
edited by Humphrey Carpenter and Christopher Tolkien.
Allen and Unwin, 463 pp., £9.95, August 1981, 0 04 826005 3
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Tolkien and the Silmarils 
by Randel Helms.
Thames and Hudson, 104 pp., £5.50, September 1981, 0 500 01264 4
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... to Charles Williams’s mind, and although he has many warm and generous things to say about C.S. Lewis there comes a point at which he judges that ‘his ponderous silliness is becoming a fixed manner.’ Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer is a ‘distressing and in parts horrifying work’ – not much better (one is made to feel) than the sick-making ...

An English Vice

Bernard Bergonzi, 21 February 1985

The Turning Key: Autobiography and the Subjective Impulse since 1800 
by Jerome Hamilton Buckley.
Harvard, 191 pp., £12.75, April 1984, 0 674 91330 2
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The Art of Autobiography in 19th and 20th-Century England 
by A.O.J. Cockshut.
Yale, 222 pp., £10.95, September 1984, 0 300 03235 8
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... which trace an individual movement towards Christianity, like Muir’s Autobiography and C.S. Lewis’s Surprised by Joy. He remarks, in the quietly authoritative tone that characterises his book: ‘Muir’s childhood is at once the shortest and the most dominant of all those known to me in the literature of autobiography.’ He is exceptionally ...

Diary

R.W. Johnson: Alan Taylor, Oxford Don, 8 May 1986

... How Alan had loathed the loathsome Dylan Thomas. How Alan had crossed swords with C.S. Lewis, Magdalen’s Fellow in English, on this or that occasion. How, on being asked as a young man at interview whether it was true that he had strongly-held left-wing views, he had replied: ‘No. I have extreme views, weakly held.’ How Alan had been invited ...

In the Teeth of the Gale

A.D. Nuttall, 16 November 1995

The Oxford Book of Classical Verse in Translation 
edited by Adrian Poole and Jeremy Maule.
Oxford, 606 pp., £19.99, October 1995, 0 19 214209 7
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... translation I have just offered of the proverb itself must be just one more betrayal. Indeed, the case against me is strong. The Italian phrase gets much of its force from the jingling assonance of the two words, but one finds swiftly that it is no good trying to reproduce this with the weaker assonances available in English: ‘translator traitor’ and the ...

Family Dramas

J.A. Burrow, 2 July 1981

Symbolic Stories 
by Derek Brewer.
Boydell, 190 pp., £15, October 1980, 0 85991 063 6
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... an unnerving combination of simplicity and sophistication reminiscent at times of the late C.S. Lewis. But his book has a more serious purpose than to make literary intellectuals feel foolish. He aims to justify the ‘literal, natural, even “naive” response to traditional literature’ by demonstrating the latent significances of those non-naturalistic ...

Diary

R.W. Johnson: Magdalen College, 19 November 2009

... meritocracy. The movement for reform was led by Harry Weldon, a PPE fellow; the opposition by C.S. Lewis, who depicted Weldon as the devil incarnate, but Weldon generally got his way. The college began to produce more Firsts and now has nine Nobel Prize winners. The reform movement strengthened after 1945. Most fellows were on the left and determined to ...

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