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Showing posts from May, 2007

C. S. Lewis Society

There was a fine newspaper article today in the Daily News Record of Harrisonburg, Virginia about our Harrisonburg C. S. Lewis Society. Ray Schneider, pictured above, was one of the members of our group interviewed by Luanne Austin of the Record. To read the article click here: Daily News Record. To learn more about our C. S. Lewis Society click here: C. S. Lewis Society.

The Old Inn

As a follow-up to my last blog about the C. S. Lewis Trail I thought some of you, who might consider a trip to Belfast, would like to see some more photos of the Old Inn, Crawfordsburn, County Down. C. S. Lewis once said that his vision of heaven was of Oxford picked up and set down in the middle of County Down, so that should give you an idea of how beautiful the countryside is. I think I would have to agree with CSL. The Old Inn is the place where Lewis took his wife Joy on their honeymoon and it is set in a lovely part of the county.

To my mind, Ulster (Northern Ireland as a whole) is the best kept secret in Ireland, at least among Americans. During our visits there we were struck by how few Americans we met along the way. Many from Europe have discovered the beauties of Northern Ireland, but I think many Americans are put off by memories of "The Troubles" in the news. Our experience in touring Northern Ireland was that it was a peaceful and breathtakingly gorgeous …

The C. S. Lewis Trail

The C. S. Lewis Trail is a path around the environs of East Belfast, and beyond that to Crawfordsburn, which takes the walker and/or driver around the major sites associated with C. S. Lewis in Northern Ireland. Maps of the C. S. Lewis Trail may be obtained from St. Mark's Church, Dundela. Click here for more info: C. S. Lewis & St. Mark's Church.

I have been "on the trail" on three occasions: by myself in 2002, with my wife in 2003, and with my children in 2004. The photos above are from my visit in 2002. Clockwise from top left are photos of: The Old Inn, Crawfordsburn; the blue plaque at Lewis's birthplace, a view of Belfast, the childhood home of Arthur Greeves (no longer standing), Campbell College (the boys' school Lewis attended for a brief time, the C. S. Lewis sculpture by Ross Wilson in Strandtown, the sign near Dundela Flats (where Lewis was born).

My wife and I especially enjoyed our stay at the Old Inn, Crawfordsburn, where Lewis often s…

A Severe Mercy--The Movie

Great news! I just read today that a company has purchased the rights to develop A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken into a film, and someone is beginning to work on a script for the movie. To read more about it click here: A Severe Mercy.
A Severe Mercy is one of my favorite books of all time. I was blessed to correspond with Sheldon Vanauken and meet him twice during the last year of his life. To learn more about him and the book click here: www.willvaus.com/sheldon_vanauken.

George Sayer

In 1997 my wife and I led a C. S. Lewis Tour to England. George Sayer, C. S. Lewis's former student, friend and biographer, helped us plan what we would do for our visit to Great Malvern, the English country town where Lewis attended preparatory school between the ages of 12 and 15. Sayer told us just what we should see and even where we could go on one of Lewis's favorite walks. To top it all off, Mr. Sayer met with our group and gave us a delightful lecture on Lewis and his work, followed by a tour of Malvern College, where Lewis had been a student and Sayer himself taught English, in more recent years.

To my great joy I discovered today that Dick Staub posted an interview with George Sayer on The Kindlings web site. I listened to the first part of the interview earlier today and felt like I just had a visit again with Mr. Sayer. My one regret about that visit to Great Malvern was that we had so little time together. I told Mr. Sayer that I wished we could spend a lot more …

St. Mark's

Above is my scrapbook page of St. Mark's, Dundela, Belfast, the church where C. S. Lewis was baptized and in which he had his early training in the faith. (The picture below shows the baptismal font in the center.) Lewis's maternal grandfather was the first rector of St. Mark's, and thus Lewis's mother, Flora, grew up in the Rectory (above left). Lewis could see the tower of St. Mark's (above right) from the third floor window of Little Lea, the window at the opposite end of the house from the Little End Room.


Lewis wrote the following about his early church experience in Surprised by Joy:


"If aesthetic experiences were rare, religious experiences did not occur at all. Some people have got the impression from my books that I was brought up in strict and vivid Puritanism, but this is quite untrue. I was taught the usual things and made to say my prayers and in due time taken to church. I naturally accepted what I was told but I cannot remember feeling much int…

Little Lea

One of the greatest joys of my life has been touring C. S. Lewis's Ireland and England, so I thought I would share a bit of that tour with you here in this blog, starting with Lewis's childhood home, Little Lea, on the outskirts of Belfast. Lewis writes of that home in Surprised by Joy:

"In 1905, my seventh year, the first great change in my life took place. We moved house. My father, growing, I suppose in prosperity, decided to leave the semi-detachd villa in which I had been born and build himself a much larger house, further out in what was then the country. The 'New House', as we continued for years to call it, was a large one even by my present standards; to a child it seemed less like a house than a city."


The key phrase in that last paragraph is: "to a child". What Lewis tells us in Surprised by Joy is told from a child's perspective. The house is large, but not so large as Lewis makes it sound. But to a child it would have been huge. I&#…

Fantasist, Mythmaker & Poet

Volume 2 of C. S. Lewis: Life, Works & Legacy focuses on Lewis's work as fantasist, mythmaker and poet. It contains thirteen chapters with essays by various Lewis scholars on subjects ranging from Lewis's Cosmic Trilogy to Narnia, and Till We Have Faces to Screwtape.
One feature of this volume I especially appreciate are the essays by Don King on Lewis's poetry. King is undoubtedly the world expert on this aspect of Lewis's work. I found King's third essay on what he calls Lewis's "topical" poems quite helpful. Rather than surveying Lewis's post-conversion poetry in chronological order, King leads us through, what I consider to be the best of Lewis's poetry, in a topical manner. King concludes with an evaluation of Lewis's explicitly religious poetry. King calls this "perhaps the finest body of poetry he [Lewis] produced."
I would have to agree with King's assessment. Of these religious poems one of my favorites is The A…