Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Photo Credit

A letter from Lewis dated September 30, 1963:

Dear Miss Douglass,

Thanks for your kind note.  Yes, autumn is really the best of the seasons: and I'm not sure that old age isn't the best part of life.  But of course, like Autumn, it doesn't last!

Yours sincerely
C.S. Lewis

Lewis would die less than two months from the date of this letter.

Sunday, September 28, 2014


Douglas Gresham

On Monday, October 27th we will meet and discuss And God Came In: The Extraordinary Life of Joy Davidman by Lyle Dorsett.  This biography of Joy Davidman will provide an in-depth overview of the woman Lewis loved and married.  With this I hope we will have a stronger foundation to read  A Grief Observed in the winter.

From the jacket of And God Came In:

"Many people have wondered over the years about what it was in my mother's personality that so attracted my stepfather, C. S. Lewis.  Here in this thorough and well-presented biography, one can find the answers.  Lyle Dorsett has investigated my mother's background and her academic career and presents an accurate and dispassionate portrayal of this remarkable lady.  So much has been written about Jack (C. S. Lewis) that people tend to overlook the staggering intellect and sharpness of mind of the lady he chose to be his wife.  This valuable book redresses that situation."

Douglas Gresham, son of Joy Davidman, and stepson of C. S. Lewis

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Our next meeting is scheduled for Monday, October 27th - 6:15pm in the Trust Conference Room at the Library.  We will be discussing And God Came In: The Extraordinary Story of Joy Davidman by Lyle Dorsett.  I have brand new hardcover copies available for $5.  If you would like one send me an email and I will get it to you.  There are no discussion questions, just read and enjoy.

Saturday, September 20, 2014


From the Library of C.S. Lewis: Selections from Writers Who Influenced His Spiritual Journey
Monday, September 22nd – 6:15pm in the Trust Conference Room.

Discussion Question:
As you read the selections note where you see thoughts which influenced Lewis’ writing.  And for extra credit you might even be ready with some quotes from the Lewis work.  Also, bring your favorite devotional quote from C.S. Lewis.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


Hiroshima after the bomb.
In 1947 Lewis wrote as essay titled "Vivisection" for the New England Anti-Vivisection Society.  I have used the quote below previously on this blog.  The last few posts have been about the atomic bomb and Lewis's thoughts concerning it.  As I have been looking through the Lewis letters I found the letter below with Lewis offering a possible tempering of his statement in "Vivisection."  I have not found anything else  from his pen to shed light on his opinion of the morality of dropping the atomic bomb, but I will keep looking; not because I am an American looking for Lewis justification.  I previously posted the "Vivisection" quote with my full support, but it is a discussion worth having.

"The victory of vivisection marks a great advance in the triumph of ruthless, non-moral utilitarianism over the old world of ethical laws; a triumph in which we, as well as animals, are already the victims, and of which Dachau and Hiroshima mark the more recent achievements."

From a letter Lewis sent to Belle Allen on the 28th of December of 1950:

"The whole question of the atomic bomb is a very difficult one: the Sunday after the news of the dropping of the first one came through, our minister asked us all to join in prayer for forgiveness for the great crime of using it.  But, if what we have since heard is true, i.e. that the first item on the Japanese anti-invasion programme was the killing of every European in Japan, the answer did not, to me, seem so simple as all that."

Follow this link to a letter from Harry Truman to a journalist justifying his decision to drop the bombs.

Thinking as I write, I still think Lewis is right in that the dropping of the bomb and the Holocaust and a myriad of other actions by modern man "marks a great advance in the triumph of ruthless, non-moral utilitarianism."

Sunday, September 7, 2014


Little Boy, the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima.

Lewis wrote a poem 'On The Atomic Bomb: Metrical Experiment'
First published in The Spectator, December 28, 1945, and today can be found in Poems.

So; you have found an engine
Of injury that angels
Might dread.  The world plunges,
Shies, snorts, and curvets like a horse in danger.

Then comfort her with fondlings,
With kindly word and handling,
But do not believe blindly
This way or that.  Both fears and hopes are swindlers.

What's here to dread?  For mortals
Both hurt and death were certain
Already; our light-hearted
Hopes from the first sentenced to final thwarting.

This marks no huge advance in
The dance of Death.  His pincers
Were grim before with chances
Of cold, fire, suffocation, Ogpu, cancer.

Nor hope that this last blunder
Will end our woes by rending
Tellus herself asunder --
All gone in one bright flash like dryest tinder.

As if your puny gadget
Could dodge the terrible logic
Of history!  No; the tragic
Road will go on, new generations trudge it.

Narrow and long it stretches,
Wretched for one who marches
Eyes front.  He never catches
A glimpse of the fields each side, the happy orchards.

Lewis sent two variant versions of this poem to Owen Barfield and Cecil Harwood in letters dated December 19 & 26, 1945, and today found in Volume II of The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis.

Each offer different words and phrases.  One version with the sixth stanza being the last.  Leaving the seventh, more hopeful?? stanza out.  It goes as follows:

Alas!, no mortal gadget
Will dodge the terrible logic
Of history.  The long, tragic
Tale ends not till the Master comes to judge it.

Friday, September 5, 2014


Picture of Nagasaki bombing from the Truman Library

The previous post is a creative presentation of a Lewis essay: "On Living in an Atomic Age."  The essay was first published in 1948 and can currently be found in the essay collection Present Concerns.

I am cleaning out my Draft Box of possible blog posts and found this from a few years ago.  Follow this link for an interesting presentation on CSPAN concerning the Atomic Age in America.

The other thing that brought this to my mind is that we are currently in National Preparedness Month and the Department of Homeland Security would like to make sure you are ready to survive a disaster, be it hurricane, tornado, flood, or nuclear explosion.  While there is nothing wrong with being prepared, I think the CSPAN lecture and the thoughts of Lewis help us to honestly access the situation, especially in the light of eternity.


Thursday, September 4, 2014


Photo Found Here

Boethius' Tomb - see the end of the previous post.

Interesting Fact of the Day:
It seems Saint Augustine's tomb is in the same church as Boethius' - San Pietro in Ciel d'Oro in Pavia (a town near Milan - ITALY).

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


Christian Century magazine asked Lewis "What books did most to shape your vocational attitude and your philosophy of life?"

On the list was The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius.

I just finished reading the work for the first time and I hoped to have a great line or paragraph to post.  This did not happen.  I read David Slavitt's translation (2008 and pictured above) and while I would have to slowly re-read again and again and again to truly grasp everything, I did fine parts very good and compelling.  Nothing stood out to be posted.  I suppose Boethius did not write in "sound bites."  

Looking through the three volume Lewis Letters I found Lewis mentioning Boethius often enough, in both academic and personal contexts.

In a letter to William Kinter (9/24/1951) Lewis says: "I rather envy your visit to Boethius' tomb: but perhaps his shade wd. be more pleased if I re-read the Consolatio.


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