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The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume 3

Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy, 1950 - 1963

The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume 3 by C. S. Lewis
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This collection, carefully chosen and arranged by Walter Hooper, is the most extensive ever published. Included here are the letters Lewis wrote to such luminaries as J.R.R. Tolkien, Owen Barfield, Arthur C. Clarke, Sheldon Vanauken, and Dom Bede Griffiths. To some particular friends, such as Dorothy L. Sayers, Lewis wrote fifty letters alone. The letters deal with all of Lewis's interests—theology, literary criticism, poetry, fantasy, children's stories—as well as his relationships with family members and friends.

The third and final volume begins with Lewis, already a household name from his BBC radio broadcasts and popular spiritual books, on the cusp of publishing his most famous and enduring book, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, which would ensure his immortality in the literary world. It covers his relationship with and marriage to Joy Davidman Gresham, subject of the film Shadowlands, and includes letters right up to his death on November 22, 1963, the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

This volume also includes both a special section of newly found letters from earlier time periods covered in volumes one and two and mini-biographies of Lewis's regular correspondents.

HarperCollins; July 2009
1840 pages; ISBN 9780061947285
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Title: The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume 3
Author: C. S. Lewis

Chapter One


During the spring of 1949 Lewis began dreaming of lions and by May 1949 he had written the first of the Chronicles of Narnia—The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. This was hardly finished when he had the idea for the next story, Prince Caspian—or 'A Horn in Narnia' as it was first called. By the time this volume of letters opens Lewis was at work on yet another Narnian story, The Voyage of the 'Dawn Treader', the manuscript of which would be ready for Roger Lancelyn Green1 to read when he visited Lewis at the end of February 1950.2

To Jonathan Francis 'Frank' Goodridge (P):3

Magdalen College
[1 January 1950]

There have been very few pupils in my 26 years' experience as a tutor for whom I can speak so confidently as I can for Mr. Frank Goodrich.4 As a scholar he has quality which his actual degree did not at all represent. The year in which he sat for his Final was one of strange surprises for many tutors about many pupils: but apart from that, his failure to do himself justice can be explained by two factors.

(1.) He is really too conscientious a student, too determined to get to the bottom of every question, to make an ideal examinee: good at probing and not at all good at advertising: incapable of 'bluff '.

(2.) He gave rather more time than he could afford to his duties as secretary of a philosophical club.5 I saw a good deal of him in that capacity and it was his Minutes which first convinced me that he had attributes quite out of the ordinary. He could condense, and slightly popularise, the arguments of speakers (often very erudite) with less loss than any man I have ever known.

This satisfies me that he will be a good teacher: he might very well turn out to be one of the great teachers. His personal character won my respect from the beginning and this respect steadily increased during the time he was with me. He is one of the most disinterested—I think I could say one of the most selfless—men I have ever met: and, in spite of his good humour and patience, which are unfailing, I should not like to be the boy who tried to 'rag' him. If I had a son of my own there is no one to whom I would entrust him so gladly as to Mr. Goodrich.

C. S. Lewis
Fellow & Tutor of Magdalen