Wednesday, July 28, 2010


In post #138 I mentioned my quest to watch all of Shakespeare's plays and I tried to downplay the highbrowness of this with my quest to watch all of Star Trek, the original series.  First, I think an argument for Shakespeare's not being high brow can be made.  Of course, enjoying Shakespeare does take some work, but I think it is accessible to anyone willing to give it a try.  Secondly, I just watched the Star Trek episode - "The Conscience of a King".  This episode just happened to wed my two quests as the episode has a traveling troupe of Shakespearean players performing Macbeth and Hamlet and other plays throughout the final frontier. 

What of this and Lewis?  This is a Lewis site and not a personal blog.  I have twice mentioned Lewis and Shakespeare (posts #138 & #94) and I did post a letter from Lewis to Arthur C. Clarke at his passing - post #35.  So, 2 letters from Lewis concerning both science fiction and Shakespeare:

A letter to a I.O. Evans
Dated August 25/26, 1956 - from a momentary address in Eire
My dear Evans -
Thanks for the cuttings which I return.  I haven't read the story and am, indeed, growing sick of modern science-fiction!
Before leaving home I saw the film of The Forbidden Planet, a post-civilisation version of the Tempest with a Robot for Caliban, a bitch for Miranda, and all sympathy for Alonso against Prospero.  The contrast between the magnificent technical power and the deplorable level of ethics and imagination in the story was what struck me most...
C.S. Lewis

A letter to a Helmut Kuhn
dated August 16 1960
My Out of the Silent Planet has no factual basis and is a critique of our own age only as any Christian work is implicitly a critique of any age.  I was trying to redeem for genuinely imaginative purposes the form popularly known in this country as 'science-fiction' - I think you call it 'future-romanz'; just as (si parva licet componere magnis*) Hamlet redeemed the popular revenge play. 

*from Virgil, Georgics, IV, 176: 'if one may compare small things with great'.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


It is with regret that we will be canceling the Flannery O'Connor book discussion group planned for August. 
We hope for a favorable climate next summer.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


The last 2 weeks I have been busy fulfilling my goal of watching all of Shakespeare's plays (before you think me Mr. High Brow, I am also attempting to watch all of Star Trek, the original series, beginning to end). I was able to knock two from the list at the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, VA – Othello and The Taming of the Shrew (see post #94 from October 2009 for more information).

A brief glance at the index of the Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis shows a man who knew his Shakespeare. In usual Lewis fashion he peppers his letters with allusions and quotations from Shakespeare, among many others authors, but he fails to reference the quotation or allusion. This is due to the fact that the man had a photographic memory. The anecdote goes that Lewis would have a friend pick a book from the shelf, turn to a page, read a line and Lewis would finish the paragraph, if not the page.  Also, writing as many letters as Lewis did everyday would have made such a task overly laborious - the referencing

Two Lewis Shakeperian related items:

"I have been devoting this week to the reading of Othello, which I like as well as any Shakeperian play I have read. The part of Iago, to my mind, is something of a blemish, and the fact that his pitiless malignity has absolutely no motive leaves him rather a monster (in the Classical, not the newspaper sense of the word), than a human character. But then of course Shakespeare at his best always works on titanic lines, and the vices and virtues of Lear, Macbeth, Hamlet, Othello, Desdemona, etc., are magnified to a pitch more splendid and terrible than anything in real life."
- from a letter from Lewis to his father in 1915, a 16 year old Lewis.

August of 1963, having resigned from Cambridge due to his health, Lewis had his rooms at Magdalene College cleared of his belongings, specifically his books. Lewis had suggested the college choose a 'keep-sake' from his belongings and they chose Lewis's Complete Works of Shakespeare, which are found today in the Magdalene College Library.

The stage of the Blackfriars Playhouse, taken on my own private tour of the theatre - private because I was the only one to show up.  Tours take place everyday but Sunday, but do call ahead.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


A review by Christopher Hitchens is found at the link below for Philip Pullman's new book The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ.  In the review CS Lewis gets a compliment - sort of.

Hitchens Book Review

Sunday, July 11, 2010


The journey has come to an end.  Over 1,600 miles later I have returned to the comforts of home.  "The Comforts of Home" being an O'Connor story with an end I hope I never meet, found in Everything that Rises Must Converge.  Want to see a few more pictures?  Come out on Wednesday, August 4th - 6pm at the C. Burr Artz library, meeting in the Community Room, for our first meeting as we discuss A Good Man is Hard to Find.  Books will be available that night for $4 - no need to read anything prior to first meeting.

Friday, July 9, 2010


The last day on the Flannery O'Connor Trail.  Final stop - The Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, GA.  Flannery and her mother became friends with the monks at this monastery, attending Mass on occasion.  I am not sure if the church pictured below was completed when Flannery would visit, regardless this is the current church:

Thursday, July 8, 2010


A Day in Milledgeville, GA

The sign on Hwy 441 North
The Road In   

The House

Flannery's Room

The Barn
The Peacock

Sacred Heart Catholic Church - Flannery's Parish in Town

Flannery's College - was Georgia State College for Women during her years

Grave Site

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Savannah, GA - The birthplace of Mary Flannery O'Connor

Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist, located across Lafayette Square from Flannery's childhood home.  Mary Flannery O'Connor was baptized here in 1925.


First Stop:  Charlotte, NC - The Billy Graham Library

CS Lewis on Billy Graham

Thursday, October 20, 1955

Billy Graham meets privately with Lewis, along with John Stott, an Anglican church leader, on the eve of Graham's Cambridge University mission. In his autobiography Graham recalls: “We met in the dining room for his college, St. Mary Magdalene's, and we talked for an hour or more. I was afraid I would be intimidated by him because of his brillance, but he immediately put me at my ease. I found him to be not only intelligent and witty but also gentle and gracious; he seemed genuinely interested in our [mission] meetings. 'You know,' he said as we parted, 'you have many critics, but I have never met one of your critics who knows you personally.'”

- as found in The C.S. Lewis Chronicles by Colin Duriez, p.272

Also of note while talking about C.S. Lewis and Billy Graham is Will Vaus, who will be kicking off our year on September 27th with a lecture and book signing of his new book The Hidden Story of Narnia. Check back for more information concerning this event. Check out his book My Father Was a Gangster and discover the Billy Graham connection –

Thursday, July 1, 2010


This Summer we will be discussing Flannery O'Connor's book A Good Man is Hard to Find.  We will be meeting at the C. Burr Artz Library in Frederick, MD on the first three Wednesday evenings of August - 8/4, 8/11, & 8/18: 6pm - 7:45pm. 

Check back here, starting Tuesday, July 6th as I take a brief Flannery O'Connor pilgrimage to Georgia to visit the O'Connor sites. 


The Christmas season, for me, usually means my annual trip to the movie theater.  I average about one trip a year and as far as I can r...