Upcoming Event: Book Launch of C.S. Lewis’s The Pilgrim’s Regress: Wade Annotated Edition

The cover for C.S. Lewis’s THE PILGRIM'S REGRESS: WADE ANNOTATED EDITION (Eerdmans, 2014)

The cover for C.S. Lewis’s THE PILGRIM’S REGRESS: WADE ANNOTATED EDITION (Eerdmans, 2014)

On Friday, September 19th, at 7:00 in the evening, the Wade Center will welcome Dr. David Downing to its classroom for the book launch of C.S. Lewis’s The Pilgrim’s Regress: Wade Annotated Edition (Eerdmans, 2014). All are welcome to this talk and book signing surrounding this new edition of a C.S. Lewis classic. First published in 1933, the book— modeled after John Bunyan’s classic morality tale, The Pilgrim’s Progress—marked several firsts for Lewis. It was the first book he wrote after his conversion to Christianity, the first book published under his real name, and his first published work of fiction.

The Pilgrim’s Regress can be difficult in places, which has perhaps kept it from becoming as well-known and well-loved as other spiritual classics by Lewis, such as Mere Christianity or The Screwtape Letters. Lewis was aware of some of the points of confusion and obscurity in this work, which is why he personally annotated a copy of the book for a student—Richard Thornton Hewitt—in 1937. That annotated copy was purchased by the Wade in 1987, and it was the starting point for the research Dr. Downing did for this new edition. Among the hundreds of notes in the annotated edition are all of the comments made by Lewis on Hewitt’s copy (unpublished until now) as well as Dr. Downing’s additional clarifications, explanations, and cross-references.

David C. Downing

Dr. David C. Downing

What follows is an interview with Dr. Downing, a Lewis scholar and the R. W. Schlosser Professor of English at Elizabethtown College in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. He gave us a peek at what more is in the new edition, how he went about annotating C.S. Lewis, and what he’ll talk about during his evening at the Wade. A reception will follow the lecture, and copies of the Wade annotated edition of The Pilgrim’s Regress will be available for sale and signing by Dr. Downing.

The Wade Center: Please explain a little bit of the story and timeline behind the idea for and manifestation of this annotated edition. When did you begin the project? Did you start your work at the Wade?

David Downing: When my wife and I visited the Wade in the summer of 2012, I told [Associate Director] Marj Mead that I wanted to write an interpretive guide to Regress—translating foreign phrases, identifying allusions, and cross-referencing key characters and themes with Lewis’s other books. When Marj heard my idea, she got a twinkle in her eye and said, almost in a whisper, “There is something you ought to see.” I thought she was going to take me to the wardrobe and show me a trap door that actually leads to Narnia. But instead she handed me an early edition of Regress with several dozen notes in Lewis’s own handwriting—citing Bible verses, identifying the models for various characters, and giving hints about difficult passages. Lewis had apparently taken the time to add these notes for a student of his who must have felt he was missing a lot when he tried to read the story on his own. Marj said that she and Jon Pott at Eerdmans had talked about producing a new annotated edition of Pilgrim’s Regress, placing Lewis’s own notes beside the text and adding other interpretive aids. So I combined Lewis’s handwritten notes with some excellent print and online sources identifying all the book’s quotations and allusions, adding my own explanatory and interpretive remarks. The result is a new version of The Pilgrim’s Regress that I think most readers will find much more understandable—both more insightful and more delightful than earlier editions. (I haven’t had time yet to look for that trap door in the back of the wardrobe!)

WC: Can you explain what constitutes an “annotated edition” in this case? What can readers expect to find in this edition of The Pilgrim’s Regress?

DD: In this edition of The Pilgrim’s Regress, there are sidenotes in the margins explaining details that readers might not otherwise understand. There are about 75 notes penned by Lewis himself, plus more than 500 additional notes translating foreign phrases, identifying characters, defining unusual terms, and comparing elements of this story to Lewis’s other books. Readers who want to read the main text straight through can do so without distracting footnotes. But those who have questions can glance over to the margin for some extra help understanding the text.

WC: What resources did you use at and through the Wade Center to complete this project?

DD: The key resource I used in this project was a 1937 edition of The Pilgrim’s Regress owned by one of Lewis’s students, R.T. Hewitt. Lewis’s handwritten notes in Hewitt’s copy of the book helped illuminate several passages whose full meaning has eluded most readers, including Lewis scholars. I also found new insights by consulting a 62-page unpublished autobiography that Lewis wrote in late 1930 or early 1931, after he had become a Theist but before his conversion to Christianity. (This fragment has since been published as “Early Prose Joy” in the 2013 volume of the Wade Center’s journal, VII: An Anglo-American Review, where it was introduced and edited by Andrew Lazo.)

WC: What element of this project did you find particularly surprising or engaging?

C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis, ca. 1940. Used by permission of The Marion E. Wade Center, Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL.

DD: First and foremost, I couldn’t help but be astonished yet again by the brilliant and capacious mind of C.S. Lewis. He wrote The Pilgrim’s Regress in two weeks while on holiday in Ireland, apparently without access to his own library or to all the other resources available in Oxford. And yet he quotes from dozens of philosophers and literary figures, ancient and modern, sometimes in the original Greek, Latin, French or Italian, sometimes offering his own translations of passages he knew by heart. I filled an entire bookcase in my study with the resources that Lewis apparently carried around with him all the time in his head.

Secondly, I’ve always wondered why Lewis used such a narrow definition of “Romanticism” in the story, associating it almost exclusively with his experiences of Sweet Desire. I have also been puzzled why Lewis’s satire becomes so caustic in his portrayal of the Modernists and the Counter-Romantics. (Lewis himself apologized for the book’s “uncharitable temper.”) But in reading the books Lewis identified in his handwritten notes, I discovered a similarly narrow definition of Romanticism and a very disdainful tone, which I think evoked a similar note of disdain in Lewis’s allegorical rebuttal.

As for “Early Prose Joy,” I found that it shed new light on the characters called the “brown girls,” Lewis’s symbol for lust. Some readers have worried about racial overtones in passages in The Pilgrim’s Regress concerning the “brown girls.” But I think Lewis’s unfinished memoir offers a much clearer explanation of those chapters and their symbolism.

WC: What are your hopes for the publication of this annotated edition?

DD: Whenever I teach a class on Lewis or speak at an Inklings conference, I find that The Pilgrim’s Regress is the book most often mentioned as the one that Lewis fans have never read—or never finished. Too often readers feel enmired in the narrative or they get discouraged by the foreign phrases and technical philosophical terms. I am hoping that this edition will reveal all the insight and humor hidden in a somewhat difficult text. I would like to see a lot of Lewis fans move this book from the Unread shelf in their Lewis collection to the Favorites shelf.

WC: Can you give us a hint of what the theme of your talk will be here at the Wade?

DD: I plan to give a presentation called “Journey to Joy.” This will review the main storyline of The Pilgrim’s Regress, identifying the real-world models for several key characters, explaining some of the difficult passages, and showing all the parallels with Lewis’s later and better-known books, especially Surprised by Joy and the Chronicles of Narnia.

We are grateful to Dr. Downing for this interview and look forward to seeing many of you at the Wade Center at 7:00pm on Friday, September 19th for the book launch of The Pilgrim’s Regress! This event is free and open to the public. Questions? Contact the Wade at 630-517-8440 or wade@wheaton.edu.

Flyer for the book launch. Please post and share with others.

Flyer for the book launch. Please post and share with others.

August Artifact of the Month: Translations Collection

Hello_World_In_Several_Languages_3It is obvious to all of us at the Wade Center that our seven authors have garnered great interest throughout the world today. On a daily basis, we enjoy welcoming visitors and answering emails from many countries, but nowhere is this international interest more clearly illustrated than in the Wade Center’s book translation collection; our feature for the August “Artifact of the Month.”

Due to generous donations over the years from scholars, visitors, Wheaton College alumni, and international publishing houses, the Wade Center now has close to 900 volumes in its translation collection. These books include titles by and about the Wade authors that have been translated from English to other languages, and secondary sources originally written in a non-English language. The number of titles available varies greatly depending upon the language, but new ones appear frequently as translators and publishing houses around the world are hard at work introducing additional titles by the Wade authors to their own cultures and languages. Over the summer, for example, some new Romanian translations of works by C.S. Lewis were donated by a Romanian scholar. The Wade Center is also pleased to have a visiting Fulbright scholar from Russia here for six months who will be writing the first Russian biography of George MacDonald.

The number of translations also depends on the popularity of a book. For example, The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis, one of his most popular works, has received quite a lot of attention and has been translated into at least 47 different languages. The Wade has roughly between 25-50% of these Narnia translations, varying by each of the seven titles.

The Wade’s translation collection has a diverse amount of languages represented, even if only by one book. The languages at the Wade include: Afrikaans, Albanian, Arabic, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese, Croatian, Czech,  Danish, Dutch, Esperanto, Estonian, Faroese, Finnish, French, Gaelic, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Latvian, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Ukranian, and Welsh.

Who uses the translation collection? International visitors delight in discovering Wade authors’ work in their native languages on the Reading Room shelves, and researchers from overseas often appreciate the ease of reading works in their own language during their studies here. The occasional Wheaton College student may also drop in to read a translation for extra credit in a foreign language class. Many visitors enjoy just paging through the books to see the beauty of the different languages on the printed page, even if they cannot read the languages themselves. Come see them for yourself!

If you have a translation of some work by our authors you would like to donate, such as the Irish Gaelic translation of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, let us know! We would be grateful for your help in building this resource.

Featured below are a handful of cover images from the translation collection. Enjoy!


Spanish edition of THE INNOCENCE OF FATHER BROWN by G.K. Chesterton. Barcelona: Ediciones G.P., 1974. Translated by Alfonso Reyes.


Russian edition of LILITH by George MacDonald. Nizhny Novgorod: Agape, 2007. Translated by O. Lukmanova.


Japanese edition of THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE by C.S. Lewis. Tokyo: Charles E. Tuttle Co., Inc. by arrangement with Geoffrey Bles, 1966.


French edition of GAUDY NIGHT by Dorothy L. Sayers. Villeneuve d’Ascq cedex: Septemtrion, 2012. Translated by Daniel Verheyde with an introduction by Suzanne Bray.


Croatian edition of THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING by J.R.R. Tolkien. Zabreb, Croatia: Algoritam, 1995.

My Career Started with Tolkien: Reflections of a Former Wade Student by guest writer Abigail Nye


Abigail Nye, Wade Center student worker from 2004 to 2008.

Strange though it may sound, I owe my job to J.R.R. Tolkien. I picked up The Hobbit as a seven-year old and was swiftly drawn into Tolkien’s legendarium. I read my father’s paperback copy of The Lord of the Rings to pieces (I don’t think he’s quite forgiven me yet) and moved on to devour The Silmarillion. Unbeknownst to me, my love for Tolkien would lead me to the Marion E. Wade Center.

When I walked into the Wade Center as a prospective Wheaton student, I knew only that it contained more Tolkien and Lewis books than I had ever read. Standing in awe before Tolkien’s desk and the intricately carved Lewis Family wardrobe, I was convinced that I had stumbled upon a magical place. Not until I worked there as a Wheaton student did I realize that the resources on display in the Wade Center Museum and Reading Room were just the tip of the iceberg. From dissertations to fanzines, manuscripts to oral histories, first editions to unpublished letters, where else can you find such a wealth of resources from such an influential group of British authors?

During my four years working there, I transcribed selections from Lewis’s letters and oral histories on Sayers. I learned how to describe archival collections as I updated the Wade Center history records. When supervising the Reading Room on the weekends, I attempted to explain the vast array of collections to visitors, but even four years isn’t enough time to become an expert on everything the Wade Center holds.

I was drawn to the Wade Center because of my love for J.R.R. Tolkien, but my attention was soon captured by the ways in which the Wade Center and its staff present their resources to the world. Too often archives are thought to have—to borrow an image from Tolkien—Smaug-like archivists jealously guarding dusty collection hoards. Thankfully, the staff at the Wade Center are not dragon-like; on the contrary, they approach their work with the cheerful goodwill of hobbits—eager to share their treasure with all who come.

I learned that significant effort goes into preparing documents before a researcher ever arrives. The Wade Center is loved by scholars not just because of the fine collections, but because the archivists and student workers have invested many hours into preserving the original documents, organizing them, and describing the contents of collections. The work can sometimes be a daunting task, but that labor is rewarded when researchers make crucial discoveries because the preparation was done well.

Researchers in the Wade Center Reading Room.

Researchers in the Wade Center Reading Room.

When I first visited, I was daunted by the usage policies for Reading Room users, though I soon learned the purpose behind them. When, for example, researchers are asked to leave their food and drink outside the Reading Room, the reason for the request is to preserve materials and promote access for future generations of visitors. If a latté is spilled on an original Chesterton manuscript, that manuscript can’t be replaced; everyone loses the chance to see and enjoy it.

The beauty of the Wade Center is that it is accessible to everyone. Now, as an archivist myself, I know that in some countries, only serious researchers are allowed to use archives and often they are required to present a letter of introduction from an academic sponsor. Not so at the Wade Center; it is freely open to the public and offers something for everyone: young or old, casual fan or dedicated scholar.

What started in me as youthful enthusiasm for the beauty of fantasy turned into a passion for preserving history, for providing access to the unique voices captured in archival records, for promoting critical thinking through the study of primary sources. My experience at the Wade Center led me to the conclusion that I, too, needed to become an archivist. I now work at a university archives, teaching students to think critically as they explore the raw materials of history. In many ways, I owe my work to the Wade Center for sparking that passion, and to Tolkien for leading me to the Wade in the first place.

About the author: Abigail Nye is the Reference and Instruction Archivist at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She holds a B.A. in Biblical and Theological Studies from Wheaton College and an MLIS from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She worked at the Wade Center as a student worker from 2004 to 2008.

July Artifact of the Month: George MacDonald’s Personal Book-Plate

MacDonald's Book-plate

The MacDonald book-plate, which includes the family motto: “Corage! God mend al!” (an anagram of ‘George MacDonald’).

George MacDonald was a tremendous lover of books, and if you are reading this blog you might belong to a similar camp. Like many book lovers, MacDonald appreciated not only the content of printed volumes but also the physicality of their bindings. This quote from his novel Annals of a Quiet Neighborhood seems to voice his own appreciation spoken through one of his characters:

“I am foolishly fond of the bodies of books as distinguished from their souls, or thought-element. I do not say I love their bodies as DIVIDED from their souls; I do not say I should let a book stand upon my shelves for which I felt no respect, except indeed it happened to be useful to me in some inferior way. But I delight in seeing books about me … Nay, more: I confess that if they are nicely bound, so as to glow and shine in such a fire-light as that by which I was then sitting, I like them ever so much the better.” (Chapter 11 – “Sermon on God and Mammon”)

That admiration for their physicality later developed into a passion for book-binding as MacDonald’s son, Ronald, describes in his book From a Northern Window: A Personal Reminiscence of George MacDonald by His Son (Eureka, CA: Sunrise Books, 1989):

“George MacDonald was a man beyond the ordinary deft with his fingers, and fond of practicing the arts they were master of. A good practical carpenter, a workman-like stitcher of leather, with some practical experience, I fancy, in boyhood, of smith’s, or at least farrier’s work, his chief pleasure in this kind during his later years was book-binding; its final phase with him being delicate and loving work in the repair of old books. In one of his later novels, There and Back, there is much space given to this gentle art of book-healing, as he calls it; letting us into the secret of the author’s love and reverence for the bodies of his books, and its source in a deeper love of their spirit.” (46-47)

MacDonald took this love of books a step further by designing his own personal book-plate (shown above), as seen in a few examples of his library books at the Wade Center, and here as our July “Artifact of the Month.”

“Book-plates” are labels of ownership which are placed typically on the inside cover of a book. They may simply contain the owner’s name, or may be very elaborate works of art varying in size and detail. MacDonald’s design includes the family motto: “Corage! God mend al!” (an anagram of “George MacDonald”). The saying inspired the naming of the MacDonald house in Boscombe, England: “Corage,” and the house in Bordighera, Italy: “Casa Coraggio.”

Death's Door - William Blake

The etching “Death’s Door” by William Blake, designed to accompany the poem “The Grave” by Robert Blair. Collection of Robert N. Essick. Copyright © 2014 William Blake Archive. Used with permission.

For the book-plate’s imagery, Greville MacDonald, another of the MacDonald children, describes its inspiration in his biography of his father, George MacDonald and His Wife (London: G. Allen & Unwin, 1924):

“For as long as I can remember there hung in my father’s study four of Blake’s illustrations to Blair’s [poem] ‘Grave’ . . . [the fourth one is of] the old man driven – the North Wind blowing where it listeth – into his tomb, to find himself reborn into the fullness of youth, with head uplifted to the risen sun.” (554)

Blake’s etching is titled “Death’s Door,” shown here, by kind permission of the Blake Archive. Several other variations of this etching exist as well. Redemption and rebirth were common themes in MacDonald’s writings, and serve as a fitting identifying image to be placed in books which no doubt helped their owner experience those very subjects.

A book containing MacDonald’s bookplate is currently on display in the Wade Center’s Museum. Drop by to see it in person!


Want to know more about MacDonald’s love of books? Here are some additional materials:

Boice, Daniel. “A kind of Sacrament: Books and Libraries in the Fiction of George MacDonald. ” Studies in Scottish Literature. Vol. 27: Issue 1. 1992: 72-79.

The Portent by George MacDonald, quote from ch. VII “The Library” -

“Now I was in my element. I never had been by any means a book-worm; but the very outside of a book had a charm to me. It was a kind of sacrament—an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace; as, indeed, what on God’s earth is not? So I set to work amongst the books, and soon became familiar with many titles at least, which had been perfectly unknown to me before. I found a perfect set of our poets-perfect according to the notion of the editor and the issue of the publisher, although it omitted both Chaucer and George Herbert. I began to nibble at that portion of the collection which belonged to the sixteenth century; but with little success. I found nothing, to my idea, but love poems without any love in them, and so I soon became weary. But I found in the library what I liked far better—many romances of a very marvellous sort, and plentiful interruption they gave to the formation of the catalogue. I likewise came upon a whole nest of the German classics which seemed to have kept their places undisturbed, in virtue of their unintelligibility. There must have been some well-read scholar in the family, and that not long before, to judge by the near approach of the line of this literature; happening to be a tolerable reader of German, I found in these volumes a mine of wealth inexhaustible.”

There and Back by George MacDonald, quote from ch. IV “The Bookbinder and His Pupil” -

“Richard, with his great love of reading, and therefore of books, was delighted to learn the craft which is their attendant and servitor. … It had its prime source deeper than the art of book-binding—in the love of books themselves, not as leaves to be bound, but as utterances to be heard. … Love and power combined made him look on the dilapidated, slow-wasting abodes of human thought and delight with a healing compassion—almost with a passion of healing. The worse gnawed of the tooth of insect-time, the farther down any choice book in the steep decline of years, the more intent was Richard on having it. More and more skillful he grew, not only in rebinding such whose clothing was past repair, but in restoring the tone of their very constitution; and in so mending the ancient and beggarly garments of others that they reassumed a venerable respectability.”

Remembering Christopher Mitchell


Chris Mitchell, former Director of the Marion E. Wade Center, 1994-2013

It is with great sadness that we announce the unexpected death of Christopher W. Mitchell, Director of the Marion E. Wade Center from 1994-2013. In addition to serving as Director, Chris held the Marion E. Wade Chair of Christian Thought at Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois from 2006 to 2013.  Many of those who have visited or researched at the Wade Center over the years will recall Chris’s warm welcome and affable manner in discussing any subject, from woodworking to the nexus of faith and imagination. His love for God, family and friends, great literature, and good food was palpable, and his enjoyment of life’s good gifts was infectious.

Wheaton College President Philip G. Ryken reflected that “Chris Mitchell has been a good friend and a constant encouragement. We became better acquainted through some of his visits to Oxford when I was a student there. I know that over the years Chris prayed for God to bless me in life and ministry. He has advanced the kingdom mission of Wheaton College and helped the wider church by serving as a champion for C.S. Lewis and the other Wade authors. We will all miss his teaching and scholarship. But the loss also has a personal dimension: until I see Chris again, I will miss our good conversations.”

Although Chris had retired from the Wade Center in 2013, he remained closely connected to the staff here and engaged with the ongoing scholarship of our authors. He will be dearly missed and lovingly remembered by each one of us and by the many students, colleagues, and friends his lively and gentle spirit touched during his 62 years of life, and most of all by his wife, Julie, and their four children and four grandchildren.


Chris, November 1, 2013

“Dr. Chris Mitchell served ably as Director of the Wade Center,” noted former Wade Director and fellow Lewis scholar, Lyle W. Dorsett. “A theologian by training and a pastor-teacher by calling, Chris blessed everyone associated with the Wade Center as well as those in the fellowship of scholars and readers who love the works of C.S. Lewis. Dr. Mitchell is fondly remembered and will be sorely missed.”

During Chris’s time at Wheaton, he taught courses in theology, and served as Book Review Editor for Seven: An Anglo-American Literary Review. His publications included numerous articles on the Wade Center authors.  He was currently in the midst of work on a critical edition of C.S. Lewis’s The Abolition of Man.

Prior to coming to Wheaton College, Chris served as a missionary and pastor. He received his M.A. from Wheaton College, and a Ph.D. from the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, where his concentration was Historical Theology.  After his retirement from the Wade Center in June 2013, Chris joined the Torrey Honors Institute of Biola University as Professor of Theology.

A memorial service for Chris will be held at 7 p.m. on Friday, July 18 at Wheaton Bible Church, 27w500 North Avenue, West Chicago, Illinois. The visitation will be from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Another memorial service is scheduled for Grace E.V. Free Church, 12717 S. Santa Gertrudes Ave., La Mirada, California, on Sunday, July 20 at 5:30 p.m. Visitation is 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

“The great thing is to be found at one’s post as a child of God, living each day as though it were our last, but planning as though our world might last a hundred years.” – C.S. Lewis 

Tributes page for Chris Mitchell

Chris Mitchell Photo Gallery

“The Gospel as Fairy-Story: The Literary Art of J.R.R. Tolkien” lecture by Chris Mitchell (audio download)

Need Summer Reading Ideas?

Reading in the Wade’s English garden.

Visitors to the Wade Center often ask: “Where do I start if I want to read books by the Wade authors?” This post will hopefully help in beginning to answer that question, and also give you some ideas to add to your summer reading list. Our seven authors wrote in a variety of genres, but the focus of this list will be on works of fiction. If you want to see lists of other books our authors wrote, the names below link to bibliographies available via the Wade’s website, so check those out too.



Owen Barfield: The Silver Trumpet

A fairy tale for children enjoyed by C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Tolkien’s own children. Lewis recounts in a letter to Barfield dated June 28, 1936 that the Tolkien children liked the story so much they were reluctant to return the book to Mr. Lewis, who had lent it to them. The story rests on the fate of the Silver Trumpet, the symbol of hope and the vibrancy of life for a kingdom and its inhabitants.


Father Brown: The Essential Tales by G.K. Chesterton


G.K. Chesterton: The Father Brown Stories

Chesterton’s detection short stories featuring sleuth (and Catholic priest) Father Brown are hailed as classics in detective fiction, and have been adapted into several television productions over the years. They appeared in five original volumes, the first of which is The Innocence of Father Brown, and are available today in various editions. Father Brown: The Essential Tales is a good overview volume to start with to get a taste of the tales. If you are a reader of mystery stories (or even if you are not!), you need to meet Father Brown.


Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis


C.S. Lewis: Till We Have Faces

Did you know Lewis wrote other works of fiction besides The Chronicles of Narnia? Lewis considered this novel one of his finest books, and wrote it in collaboration with his wife, Joy Davidman. It is a dramatic re-telling of the Greek myth “Cupid and Psyche,” and explores the nature of love in human relationships. If you are looking for a thought-provoking and rewarding read, this is your book.


The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald


George MacDonald: The Princess and the Goblin

George MacDonald wrote many fairy tales for children, and this is one of his most well-known and loved. This novel-length tale features Princess Irene, Curdie the miner’s son, and their fight to protect the kingdom from some wicked goblins. The book was a particular favorite of G.K. Chesterton and stands as a classic in the fairy tale tradition.


Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers

GAUDY NIGHT by Dorothy L. Sayers

Dorothy L. Sayers: Gaudy Night

Sayers is one of two Wade authors who wrote detective fiction (the other being G.K. Chesterton), and she also made a name for herself in the craft with twelve detection novels featuring her aristocratic detective, Lord Peter Wimsey. In Gaudy Night (book 11 of the Wimsey books, and book 3 of the 4 books featuring Harriet Vane), Harriet returns to her Oxford college to help solve a series of unfortunate events. This book has love, crime, and academia all in one volume.

Want more detective fiction resources? Audio recordings from an earlier detection book group at the Wade Center are available on our website.


The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

THE HOBBIT by J.R.R. Tolkien

J.R.R. Tolkien: The Hobbit

Tolkien’s classic tale for children and adults alike, and a wonderful introduction to his world of Middle-earth. The prelude to The Lord of the Rings in which Bilbo the hobbit, a band of dwarves, and Gandalf the wizard set off to recapture stolen treasure from Smaug the dragon. Even if you have read this book before, why not get a refresher read in before the third and final Hobbit film comes out in December 2014?


The Place of the Lion by Charles Williams

THE PLACE OF THE LION by Charles Williams

Charles Williams: The Place of the Lion

One of Williams’s seven novels described as “supernatural thrillers” by T.S. Eliot. In this story archetypes are embodied as gigantic animals roaming the earth, such as the Lion of Strength and the Butterfly of Beauty. Their interactions in the world cause havoc, but also produce engaging insights into the hearts of the humans they encounter. This book was highly admired by C.S. Lewis when he first read it in February 1936, and helped start the friendship between Lewis and Williams.

Remember, these books (and all the others the Wade authors wrote) are available for reading at the Wade Center in the beautiful surroundings of the Kilby Reading Room. Is there a particular edition you are looking for? There is a good chance we have it. Let us know, and we will be happy to pull it for you. Stop by and visit us this summer, either in person or via our online resources.

Happy reading!