Photographic Plates of C.S. Lewis’ Manuscripts and Letters

Lewis Letter 1956A reader suggested I add to my collection of previously unpublished C.S. Lewis manuscripts (“The Lost-But-Found Works of C.S. Lewis“) by providing a list of manuscripts that show up in photographic plates in books and journals. I know that most of these are published by now, but this list is valuable for people who want to get to know C.S. Lewis’ handwriting. You will doubtless know of far more that you could add to this list, so send me a note or leave a comment.

Photographic Plates of Manuscripts and Letters

  • Anonymous, “C. S. Lewis and Univ.” University College, Oxford. A small online exhibition including pictures, an admissions register, some Martlets material, and part of a  1959 letter not in The Collected Letters. Unfortunately, the photo quality is low.
  • John Beversluis, C.S. Lewis and the Search for Rational Religion (Rev. ed.; Prometheus, 2007), pp. 319-20. A letter Lewis wrote to Beversluis in 1963.
  • Edwin W. Brown and Dan Hamilton, In Pursuit of C.S. Lewis: Adventures in Collecting His Works (Proleptikos Press, 2006), pp. 111-14, 138-39. This includes samples of his signature, excerpts from letters and essays, and some manuscript fragments. There are also some book covers copied in the text.
  • lewis_letter to children sarah cat drawingLyle W. Dorsett and Marjorie Lamp Mead, eds., C.S. Lewis’ Letters to Children (MacMillan, 1985). I do not have a copy of this, but I know the leaves inside the covers have pictures of Lewis’ letters, including the one with the cat drawing.
  • David C. DowningThe Most Reluctant Convert (IVP, 2002), p. 97. A Boxen illustration with handwriting beneath.
  • Norbert Feinendegen and Arend Smilde, eds., “The ‘Great War’ of Owen Barfield and C.S. Lewis: Philosophical Writings (1927-1930),” Inklings Studies Supplement 1 (2015), back cover. The covers have excerpts of the “Great War” letters between Barfield and Lewis the late 1920s. There are sketches throughout, plus a transcription and translation of the Greek text, “Biographia Theologica.”
  • Douglas Gilbert and Clyde S. Kilby, C.S. Lewis: Images of His World (Eerdmans, 1973), pp. 15, 45, 98-105, 113, 117, 158, 188-89.
  • Laurence Harwood, C.S. Lewis, My Godfather (IVP, 2007), pp. 18-9, 20, 53, 64, 69, 85, 99, 100, 102, 103, 108, 115, 116, 122, 126, 132. In this pictographic book are quite a number of Lewis letters, including most of “Biographia Theologica.” Many of these photographs do not have the entire page, but there are transcripts.
  • Walter Hooper, Through Joy and Beyond: A Pictorial Biography of C.S. Lewis (1982), pp. 23, 87, 93, 94-95, 110, and 112. This includes drawings of Lord Big, Warren Lewis, and a Narnian map, letters to Dr. Warfield M. Firor (below) and Sister Penelope, and a plot outline of the The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
  • Clyde S. Kilby, ed., Letters to an American Lady (Eerdmans, 1967), inside front and back covers. Reproductions of two letters, November 27th, 1953 and Oct 9th, 1954.
  • John Lawlor, Memories and Reflections (Spence, 1998), after p. 46. Includes 4 pages of letters and 6 pages of a Julian of Norwich text with Lewis’ margin notes.
  • Andrew Lazo, “Early Prose Joy: C.S. Lewis’s Early Draft of an Autobiographical Manuscript,” SEVEN 30 (2013): 13-49. While not a manuscript, this is a close typescript of a manuscript, including edits.
  • C.S. Lewis and Alastair Fowler, Spenser‘s Images of Life (CUP 1967, 2013), before first pages. This book is built upon notes from Lewis’ lectures and includes a 2-page sample.
  • Alister McGrath, C.S. Lewis: A Life (Tyndale, 2013), p. 351. The letter Lewis sent to the Nobel committee, nominating J.R.R. Tolkien for the 1961 Nobel Prize in Literature.
  • Thomas Möllenbeck & Berthold Wald, eds., Wahrheit und Selbtüberschreitung: C. S. Lewis und Josef Pieper über den Menschen (Ferdinand Schöningh, 2011), pp. 12-13. A letter dated Jan 25th 54 to the German philosopher Josef Pieper.
  • Justin Phillips, C.S. Lewis at the BBC (HarperCollins, 2003), after p. 132. A letter to Fenn of the BBC in 1944, as well as a requisition for paying Lewis for a broadcast.
  • A.T. Reyes, ed., C.S. Lewis’s Lost Aeneid: Arms and the Exile, ed. A.T. Reyes (Yale University Press, 2011), ii, xvi, xxiv, 34-35, and the back of the dustjacket.
  • Stephen Schofield, ed., In Search of C.S. Lewis (Bridge, 1983), pp. 63-5, 193-97. Letters from Lewis to admirers, including notes where Lewis returned Schofield’s letter with a note on the bottom. See also p. 113 for an exchange between Ruth Pitter and Lewis where she finds a gap in the logic of Narnia.
  • Stephen Schofield, ed., The Canadian C.S. Lewis Journal (1980s-1990s). I only have a few of this rare and unusual journal, but they include photocopies of quite a number of letters–many of which I’m pretty sure they did not have permission to print. The ones I have are No. 35-36, p. 16; No. 54, p. 11; No. 59, p. 1-2; No. 63, p. 11; No. 64, p. 10. I have only 5 volumes and there are letters in each, so I presume that the archive will be rich in this material.
  • Charlie W. Starr, Light: C.S. Lewis’ First and Final Short Story (Winged Lion, 2012), pp. 32, 37, 116. Brings to print the short story “Light” and compares with the “Man Born Blind” manuscript and revisions. Includes the first page of “Light” and some samples of Lewis handwriting up close.
  • Charlie W. Starr, “Two Pieces from C.S. Lewis’s ‘Moral Good’ Manuscript: A First Publication,” SEVEN 31 (2014): 30. Two samples of Lewis’ handwriting from the manuscript.
  • Michael Ward, Planet Narnia (OUP, 2008), after p. 126. Within photos that support Ward’s thesis is a typescript of p. 121 of The Silver Chair.
  • A.N. Wilson, C.S. Lewis (Norton, 1990), after p. 238. Manuscript page from Surprised by Joy.

I only have a dozen each of Mythlore and the Bulletin of the New York C.S. Lewis Society and there are no manuscript photographs–let me know if you have ever seen any. If you have something to add to this list, let me know in the comments below. You can also email me at junkola [at] gmail.com. Make sure you check out my blog on “C.S. Lewis Manuscript Collections and Reading Rooms” if you would like to go and see more of Lewis’ works in manuscript form in real life.

Inklings List 1948 Ham

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About Brenton Dickieson

“A Pilgrim in Narnia” is a blog project in reading and talking about the work of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the worlds they touched. As a "Faith, Fantasy, and Fiction" blog, we cover topics like children’s literature, apologetics and philosophy, myths and mythology, fantasy, theology, cultural critique, art and writing. This blog includes my thoughts as I read through Lewis and Tolkien and reflect on my own life and culture. In this sense, I am a Pilgrim in Narnia--or Middle Earth, or Fairyland. I am often peeking inside of wardrobes, looking for magic bricks in urban alleys, or rooting through yard sale boxes for old rings. If something here captures your imagination, leave a comment, “like” a post, share with your friends, or sign up to receive Narnian Pilgrim posts in your email box. Brenton Dickieson is a father, husband, friend, university lecturer, and freelance writer from Prince Edward Island, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter, @BrentonDana.
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37 Responses to Photographic Plates of C.S. Lewis’ Manuscripts and Letters

  1. Charles Huttar says:

    Thank you for this useful compilation. In a quick read, I noticed only two typos you may want to fix, in Harwood’s title (Godfather) and the spelling of Marjorie Mead’s name.

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    • Thanks Charles. Not the funniest typos I have managed, but I prefer none at all. “Grandfather” is kind of funny. I did an April Fools post a few years ago about C.S. Lewis’ long lost son. Nobody got it, or thought it funny. A grandson would be a novel find.

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      • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

        There’s a very interesting story about a “Mrs. C.S. Lewis” who was running up bills – including at a hotel, which contacted Lewis at The Kilns: a con-woman, as it turned out, whose escapades led to Lewis’s friendship – and, later, that of the real Mrs. Lewis and sons – with Nell Berners-Price, the hotelier. (I don’t know how widely it’s known: I don’t think I’d heard it, until the Wade Center got me to interview Mrs. Berners-Price for the Oral History Archive.)

        Liked by 1 person

  2. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    I’ll second that “Thank you for this useful compilation” – and a fascinating one it is, too!

    The original, separate publication of The Letters of C.S. Lewis to Arthur Greeves (I have the “First Collier Books edition 1986” to hand, but think the plates and pagination apply to the1979 Macmillan hardback as well) has several opposite pp.145 (with two excerpts; from those of probably 1 Nov. and 22 Nov. 1916), 155 (also from that of probably 22 Nov.1916), 157 (probably 29 Nov. 1916), 162 (probably 7 Feb.1917), 211 (“21/2/18”), 273 (probably 11 Apr. 1920), 276 and 278 (both “6? June 1920”), 289 (probably June 1921), 391 (15 Sept. 1930), and 397 (24 Dec. 1930) – unless I’ve hastily missed any. (They are not inserted, glossy plates but are printed on pages in the pagination sequence, such that the one opposite p.155 actual falls on p. [154], etc.)

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    • Thanks David. As you probably guessed, it is YOUR fault I did this post! Your comment on the last blog suggested I throw this one together.
      I will add these. I have not added only glossy plates, but any photo that captures a bit or all of a manuscript (and a couple of typescripts, if appropriate).

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      • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

        Glad to be of (gadfly?) service! It is a fascinating thing to have such a good list of! It’s inherently interesting, and it’s useful to be able to have glimpses of what editorial choices have been made and how they work out in practice (like re-paragraphing for ease of reading, for example).

        I’m glad you included typescripts, too – they’re interesting with or without handwritten changes added! (I remember an interesting essay by Anthony Burgess about how using an old-fashioned typewriter may affect your writing – if I recall correctly, he found in his own experience that he sometimes made different choices in phrasing as he approached the end of a line, somehow conditioned by uniform letter-size and the mere fact of having to slide it back to begin the next line. I suppose computer ease has reversed a lot of such effects – certainly where revising involving retyping the whole page is concerned, I suspect!)

        I remember another photo book analogous to the Gilbert-Kilby one, but can’t think of its title: it may well have some manuscript plates…

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        • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

          Just (ploddingly!) figured out a way to find it: Walter Hooper’s Through Joy and Beyond: A Pictorial Biography of C.S. Lewis (1982) – but I don’t have a copy, and so can’t check for MSS.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks David–and thanks for the idea. I can add to it now that it is in place. In a week or two I’ll make a “tab” of this material.
          I’m including typescripts that the author touched, but there are not that many kicking around anyway. Screwtape is an accident that we have a Typescript and Manuscript (no galley proofs, and just a handwritten preface).
          I added “Letters to an American Lady,” which has letters on the inside covers.

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          • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

            I find this efficiency of getting rid of typescripts – and (if I recall correctly re. The Lewis Papers) manuscripts as well – bewildering in learned men like the Lewis brothers. I suppose it mostly concerns works considered finished – books gone to press, and having appeared, especially (but I don’t see where the Lewis Papers comes into such a picture: I would think of the convenience of transcription and perhaps selection at the service of the originals, safely preserved).

            As I recall, Arend Smilde made an interesting discovery in the – manuscript? or typescript? – of Letters to Malcolm in the Bodleian, which I think he included for the first time in his Dutch translation.

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            • I’ll ask Arend about the Malolm piece. I too am amazed that we have almost nothing of the MSS or TSS. Sure, today we do it all by computer, so our great ones will leave only digital trails. But he knew there would be some value and still kept nothing! Or maybe Lewis never believed his MSS would be worth anything.

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              • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

                I remember when there was a certain dismay in one corner of the scholarly world when Jimmy Carter decided to write his memoirs on a p.c. – no drafts to compare among the presidential papers – unless he decided to print things out, in between! (I did know people who liked to print out every substantial draft, in those days, to see ‘what it really looked like’!)

                Charles Williams was joking in the 1920s with his poet/critic friend, John Pellow, about them being able generously to bestow a valuable hand-written page, here and there, in the future – and Lewis did get onto that idea where Sister Penelope’s possible fund-raising was concerned, so, again, why the general ‘tidiness’?

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              • I guess I”m not personally as upset about the published manuscripts being burnt. I would like to see more first drafts, but there are few. I wish there were more notebooks with his lectures, poems, and unfinished pieces.

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              • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

                Generalizing in wild ignorance, I get the impression he did tend to save things he was still working on, or might do more with, etc. (I have yet to familiarize myself with many details of his poetry revision, but that looks an interesting area – published works being further worked on: much as Williams did with the late Arthurian poetry, come to that!)

                Liked by 1 person

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  4. Jason Fisher says:

    Another to add to your list. There is at least one page, and maybe two (I’d have to check my bookshelf) of Lewis’s holograph manuscript translation of Virgil in C.S. Lewis’s Lost Aeneid: Arms and the Exile, ed. A.T. Reyes (Yale University Press, 2011).

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  5. Arend Smilde says:

    (1) There is a letter dated “Jan 25th 54” to the German philosopher Josef Pieper in the volume Wahrheit und Selbtüberschreitung: C. S. Lewis und Josef Pieper über den Menschen, ed. Thomas Möllenbeck & Berthold Wald (Ferdinand Schöningh, Paderborn 2011), pp. 12-13.

    (2) Through Joy and Beyond indeed has some items:
    – p. 23, “Lewis’s drawing of the frog Lord Big”
    – p. 87, “Caricature of Warren by Clive, c. July 14, 1930”
    – p. 93, “The Inklings’ letter of appreciation to Dr. Warfield M. Firor”
    – p. 94-95, “Letter to Sister Penelope Lawson” (May 15th 1941)
    – p. 110, “Lewis’s own drawing of Narnia”
    – p. 112, “Plot outline of the The Voyage of the Dawn Treader”

    (3) Yes, I did include that extra letter to Malcolm in the 2007 revision of my translation of the book, but no facsimile.

    (4) Have you seen this? I mean http://www.univ.ox.ac.uk/node/832 – I never saw it until yesterday!

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    • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

      (1) In what language did he write to Josef Pieper? (“25th” suggests English.)

      (4) Wow! (I never thought to visit Univ’s website to see if they had anything of Lewis interest, despite enjoying the Tolkien material on Exeter’s.)

      This somehow reminds me that Karl Leyser, when he gave a very interesting talk to the Lewis Society, told us that there was a manuscript book at Magdalen College which Vice-Presidents could write in, and only (I think, subsequent) Vice-Presidents could read, and that when he was Vice-President he read in it a delightful humorous play by Lewis, who had composed it for the book when it was his turn. Does anyone know whether it would ever be possible to get permission from the College to publish this play?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Arend Smilde says:

        The letter to Pieper was in English. Pieper was translating the The Problem of Pain into German – so let’s hope his English was better than Lewis’s German.

        Here is a 2013 blog about that Vice-Presidential play. I suppose it will get published sooner or later.

        Liked by 1 person

        • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

          Thanks! Where, exactly, is the 2013 blog?

          Do you happen to know if anyone has written about Lewis’s German? The evidence seems varied – reading Wagner’s Ring with Tolkien, quoting Goethe repeatedly (or such is my impression), yet saying, as late as 1957, “My German is of the kindergarten variety I’m afraid; I don’t speak it and can only read it with a dictionary at my elbow; I wish I did, for not to know German well is a considerable handicap I find.”

          Liked by 1 person

          • Arend Smilde says:

            Sorry to forget actually giving the link to taht blog. Here is is:
            http://ccfather.blogspot.nl/2013/11/michael-piret-on-c-s-lewis.html

            I don’t know much about Lewis’s German beyond the sort of thing you are quoting here. In 1930 he was reading Novalis “at about the pace of a schoolboy translating Caesar” and said that “to be compelled to spell out such stuff word by word instead of galloping
            greedily thro’ it as I certainly should if I could find a translation really forces me to get the most out of it” (CL1, 922). I think it remarkable that he only comments on the difference in speed, not on the experience of reading it in the original language.

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            • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

              Great, thank you! Having thought of the play, I had just been thinking, ‘How idiotic not to ask Michael Piret if he knew more about it, when I was visiting with him last autumn!’ – never knowing he’d given a (clearly informed) talk about it!

              One of the other things Karl Leyser mentioned was that the Vice President had some responsibility for deciding on menus for (I think) High Table, and that Magdalen at the time had a fine French chef – and that Lewis did not take advantage of that, always ordering fairly plain meals! (Maybe that contributed to his non-re-election!)

              Liked by 1 person

            • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

              Thanks for the Novalis reference, which I had forgotten! It does seem remarkable, but maybe he would have been content to get a quick first impression of the contents at that moment, if a translation had been available – but, again, chose something he thought likely to be intrinsically well worth reading, as long as he was going to devote a half-hour daily to German practice. Interestingly, in the letter to Josef Pieper to which you’ve happily introduced me, he remarks on searching Novalis’s Heinrich von Ofterdingen for some kind of analogue to a passage quoted from Kenneth Grahame which Pieper did not seem to find ideal for a German audience. Presumably, he was doing this in German! (And his own dissatisfaction stemmed from not finding anything really analogous to his way of thinking, rather than from his limited mastery of German!)

              Funnily enough, the wonders of internet allow us to discover that he was wrong in telling Arthur Greeves “there is no translation [of Heinrich von Ofterdingen] either into French or English”. There was a French translation as Henri d’Ofterdingen by Marcel Camus available as early as 1900 (if Amazon.co.uk is correct about the copy they’re selling) and an English translation published in the U.S. in 1842 and now transcribed here:

              http://www.gutenberg.org/files/31873/31873-h/31873-h.htm

              Alas, no-one at LibriVox.org has read it aloud, yet, though they do have someone reading Hymnen an die Nacht in German and someone else reading George MacDonald’s translation in English.

              Liked by 1 person

            • I hope they do publish that play, for what it’s worth.

              Like

    • Thank you so much for this, Arend–and the email. The extra Malcolm letter–has it been published in English anywhere? Can you give me the bibliographic detail? I will add it to the other blog.

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  6. Good idea. Here are the items in Hooper’s Through Joy and Beyond (1982):
    —p. 23: Boxen illustration 1907-1908
    —p. 87: charicature of Warnie by CSL 1930
    —p. 93: Inklings letter to Dr. Firor 1949 (already shown on your blog)
    —pp. 94-95: letter to Sister Penelope 1941
    —p. 105: Screwtape drawing by CSL
    —p. 110: Narnia map
    —p. 112: Dawn Treader plot outline

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