May Artifact of the Month: Charles Williams’s Honorary Master’s Degree

Museum display at the Wade Center featuring Charles Williams's honorary Masters of Arts degree from Oxford University, and the mortar board he wore during the ceremony.

Museum display at the Wade Center featuring Charles Williams’s honorary Master of Arts degree from Oxford University, and the mortar board he wore during the ceremony.

With graduation season beginning, we thought it appropriate to highlight the honorary Master of Arts degree Charles Williams received from Oxford University on February 27, 1943 as our May “Artifact of the Month.” This post also celebrates a full year of “Artifact of the Month” blogs on “Off the Shelf!” After this point we will continue to highlight materials from the Wade Center as “Featured Artifacts,” but not on a monthly basis. Keep reading “Off the Shelf” for more artifacts to come!

Charles Williams began his college career by being awarded a scholarship to University College, London where he studied mathematics, literature, history, and languages  (Hadfield, Alice Mary. Charles Williams: An Exploration Of His Life And Work. New York : Oxford UP, 1983. p. 11). Despite his promise as a student, the Williams family could not afford Charles’s college tuition and he had to withdraw after two years. He was never able to return and complete his degree, though he went on to become an editor at Oxford University Press in London.

At the outbreak of World War II in 1939, Charles Williams and his colleagues at Oxford University Press relocated their offices from London to Oxford due to bombing by the German Luftwaffe. This move enabled Williams to spend more time with C.S. Lewis and the rest of the Inklings, the group which he had already been attending when he was able to make the journey from London to Oxford. Lewis had first invited Williams to join the Inklings in 1936 after reading his novel The Place of the Lion, and became a fast friend and admirer of his work. Knowing of Williams’s lectures at the City Literary Institute in London, his prodigious intellect, and his passion for literature in general, C.S. Lewis arranged for Williams to give guest lectures at Oxford University. He began with a series of lectures on Milton, which greatly impressed Lewis and captivated his audience.

On Monday C.W. [Charles Williams] lectured nominally on Comus but really on Chastity. Simply as criticism it was superb — because here was a man who really started from the same point of view as Milton and really cared with every fibre of his being about “the sage and serious doctrine of virginity” which it would never occur to the ordinary modern critic to take seriously. But it was more important still as a sermon. It was a beautiful sight to see a whole room full of modern young men and women sitting in that absolute silence which can not be faked, very puzzled, but spell-bound … It was “borne in upon me” that that beautiful carved room had probably not witnessed anything so important since some of the great medieval or Reformation lectures. I have at last, if only for once, seen a university doing what it was founded to do: teaching Wisdom.

–C.S. Lewis in a letter to his brother Warren H. Lewis, February 11, 1940

Williams’s involvement at Oxford evolved to later include tutoring as well as giving additional lecture series on Wordsworth, Shakespeare, 18th Century poetry, the Arthurian tradition, and other literary topics. In 1943, Oxford University acknowledged Williams’s contributions to literature and the University by giving him an honorary Master of Arts degree, shown here.

Diploma_watermarked

Honorary Master of Arts degree, written in Latin, for “Carolum” Williams, dated February 27, 1943.

Williams, delighted by the honor, wrote in a letter to his wife:

I broke the news to [Anne Spalding and Gerry Hopkins, nephew of Gerard Manly Hopkins and fellow colleague of Williams at Oxford UP] — about the degree, I mean. … This morning Ursula [Grundy] rang up to congratulate me, having heard from Michael [Williams’s son]. She says M. is very pleased … so I owe him my thanks. I do like him to show well. She wants to come, “if it’s convenient.” (I thought she would!) G.H. thinks anyone can go, but are supposed to be under the convoy of “a member of this University,” but he has put himself at your disposal, & anyone you bring.

–Letter to Florence (“Michal”) Williams, February 12, 1943. The letters between Charles and Michal Williams are located in the Charles Williams Papers collection at the Wade Center, and in the book To Michal From Serge: Letters From Charles Williams To His Wife, Florence, 1939-1945. Kent, OH : Kent State University Press, 2002.

Three others were given M.A. degrees at the same ceremony: Reginald John Shambrook, Alberto Jiménez, and Captain Lord William Romilly. Mr. John G. Barrington-Ward, Public Orator’s deputy, gave brief speeches of presentation for each of the degree recipients, which like the degrees themselves were also written entirely in Latin. A leaflet, with the text from the speeches, is shown below from the Wade Center’s Article File collection. Our thanks to Dr. Leslie S.B. MacCoull of the Society for Coptic Archaeology (North America) for offering the following translation of the speech on Williams:

There follows a most keen critic of literature, yet also a talented poet, in whom indeed we see refuted what has often been customarily said, “those who could not turn out to be poets always settle for critical studies.” But rather this man, our outstanding poet, “who did not turn pale with fear to drink from the Pindaric fountain” [Horace, Epistles 1.3.10], even in that admittedly difficult Pindaric form has already garnered so many outstanding laurel crowns, and has been observed to form such serious judgments about literary works and authors, that, called by our staff members to undertake the function of a sponsor, he filled that role for them so that, if anyone had written anything, he read it all through, carefully weighed it in the balance, and finally made a judgment of it as to whether it would be worthy of the staff members’ smoothing pumice-stone or should rather be consigned to the waste-paper pile. And now in our schools how gladly have we recently listened to him expounding in public on the English poets! With what keenness of mind he spoke, with what fervor of spirit he recited! Therefore, so that this outstanding craftsman and judge of literature may be added to our ranks and may add our laurel crown also to those he has already borne, I present to you the most learned man Charles Walter Stansby Williams,  editor and proofreader of the Oxford Press, to be admitted to the degree of Master of Arts _honoris causa_.

LatinSpeeches2_watermarked

Leaflet containing the Latin speeches of presentation for the degree recipients, by John G. Barrington-Ward. From the Wade Center’s Article File: February 27, 1943, cw-MISC section. Click the image for a larger view.

LatinSpeeches1_watermarked

Page 2 of the Latin speech leaflet. Click the image for a larger view.

Williams sent details about the upcoming ceremony to his wife via a series of letters, and the event took place in Oxford’s famous Sheldonian Theatre. At the official lunch that day, Charles and Florence (“Michal”) Williams sat between the Vice-Chancellor and Mr. L.S. Amery (Secretary for the State of India, and another degree recipient). Several of Williams’s friends got together at a separate lunch to celebrate the occasion, including the Douglases, Ursula Grundy, and Gerry Hopkins. Two articles reporting the ceremony follow below, as well as an image of the procession with participants in full academic dress, and an image of the Oxford M.A. academic gown. Click on the images for a larger view.

Williams remained in high demand at Oxford University, and with other scholarly groups and clubs such as the Dante Society, until the event of his untimely death in May 1945. His style, since he was not formally university educated, was seen as fresh and different from the other academic lecturers of the time, and as Lewis noted above, the quality of his criticism was brilliant. He had a large following and his talks were well-attended. Surely it was gratifying for Williams to be acknowledged by the academy in such an official capacity before the end of his career.

The procession for the awards ceremony, with participants in full academic dress. Williams is thought to be in the middle with his face obscured, making identification difficult.

The procession for the awards ceremony, with participants in full academic dress. Williams is thought to be in the middle with his face obscured, making identification difficult.

This is what the Oxford University Master of Arts robe and hood looks like, along with an illustration of how it is worn and a description below from the book: Venables, D. R. and Clifford, R. E. Academic Dress: Of The University Of Oxford. Oxford : Thomas-Photos, 1985. The Wade Center owns both the robes and hoods of Charles Williams and C.S. Lewis. The robe featured in this display belonged to Lewis.

This is what the Oxford University Master of Arts robe and hood looks like, along with an illustration of how it is worn and a description below from the book: Venables, D. R. and Clifford, R. E. Academic Dress: Of The University Of Oxford. Oxford : Thomas-Photos, 1985. The Wade Center owns both the robes and hoods of Charles Williams and C.S. Lewis. The robe featured in this display belonged to Lewis.

Article on the upcoming ceremony from the Oxford Mail, February 18, 1943.

Article on the upcoming ceremony from the Oxford Mail, February 18, 1943. Click the image for a larger view.

Article on the award ceremony from The [London] Times, March 1, 1943.

Article on the award ceremony from The [London] Times, March 1, 1943. Click the image for a larger view.

April Artifact of the Month: C.S. Lewis’s copy of Phantastes by George MacDonald

The Wade Center owns over 2,400 volumes from the personal library of C.S. Lewis. Most of the books were acquired from Wroxton College in 1986, and others have been added from time to time from other donors or purchases. The books offer a unique look into the reading habits, imagination, and mind of Lewis himself, and many of them contain his handwritten notes and markings. Such annotations are a big research draw for Lewis scholars who are able to discern significant aspects of Lewis’s response to his reading; a valuable step beyond simply knowing which titles were on his shelf. Besides the markings, however, are the books themselves as physical artifacts. Observing the different bindings, seeing which ones are worn or barely touched, adds to the stories the volumes tell. In some cases Lewis mentions specific books in his writings, and it is always a thrill for Wade patrons to then hold that same referenced book in their hands.

C.S. Lewis's copy of Phantastes by George MacDonald. (London: J.M. Dent & Sons, Everyman edition, undated)

C.S. Lewis’s copy of Phantastes by George MacDonald. (London: J.M. Dent & Sons, Everyman edition, undated)

One such example is Lewis’s copy of Phantastes written by another of the Wade’s authors, George MacDonald. Phantastes is a fantasy novel for adults which follows a young man, Anodos, on his journey of self discovery. In his preface to George MacDonald: An Anthology – 365 Readings, Lewis openly states the great influence of MacDonald’s works in his life: “I have never concealed the fact that I regarded him as my master; indeed I fancy I have never written a book in which I did not quote from him.” His introduction to MacDonald’s works began in 1916 when he picked up Phantastes at a train station bookstall while studying under the private tutelage of W.T. Kirkpatrick prior to his entrance to Oxford University. Lewis recalls the experience in his autobiography, Surprised by Joy:

“I and one porter had the long, timbered platform of Leatherhead station to ourselves. It was getting just dark enough for the smoke of an engine to glow red on the underside with the reflection of the furnace. The hills beyond the Dorking Valley were of a blue so intense as to be nearly violet and the sky was green with frost. My ears tingled with the cold. The glorious week end of reading was before me. Turning to the bookstall, I picked out an Everyman [edition] in a dirty jacket, Phantastes, a faerie Romance, George MacDonald. Then the train came in. I can still remember the voice of the porter calling out the village names, Saxon and sweet as a nut—‘Bookham, Effingham, Horsley train.’ That evening I began to read my new book.” — C.S. Lewis, chapter XI “Check,” Surprised by Joy

Lewis adds this further note in his MacDonald anthology preface: “I had looked at the volume on that bookstall and rejected it on a dozen previous occasions – the Everyman edition of Phantastes. A few hours later I knew that I had crossed a great frontier.”

Spine of Phantastes by George MacDonald.

Spine of Phantastes by George MacDonald.

Throughout Surprised by Joy, Lewis recounts moments during his childhood and young adult years where he has encounters with what he calls “joy” or the German term “sehnsucht,” which includes a quality of longing or desire. Peter Schakel in his book Imagination and the Arts in C.S. Lewis offers the following as a way to better understand Lewis’s concept of joy:

“It is an experience of intense, even painful, but desired, longing, which, after [Lewis’s] conversion, he came to believe was a desire for unity with the divine (though intermediate objects are mistaken for the ultimate object). … [Joy] is imaginative in that it is often set in motion by literature or music, which are the products of the imagination; it involves being transported beyond the physical and emotional to a rapturous state that could take place only in the imagination at an inspired level.” (p. 8) — Schakel, Peter J. Imagination And The Arts In C. S. Lewis: Journeying To Narnia And Other Worlds. Columbia: University Of Missouri Press, 2002.

When he first read Phantastes, Lewis experienced joy or longing as had happened to him often before, but this time he noticed a difference in the quality of the encounter. He goes on to describe it in Surprised by Joy:

“I did not yet know (and I was long in learning) the name of the new quality, the bright shadow, that rested on the travels of Anodos [the main character in Phantastes]. I do now. It was Holiness. … Up till now each visitation of Joy had left the common world momentarily a desert … Even when real clouds or trees had been the material of the vision, they had been so only by reminding me of another world; and I did not like the return to ours. But now I saw the bright shadow coming out of the book into the real world and resting there, transforming all common things and yet itself unchanged. Or, more accurately, I saw the common things drawn into the bright shadow. … That night my imagination was, in a certain sense, baptized; the rest of me, not unnaturally, took longer. I had not the faintest notion what I had let myself in for by buying Phantastes.” — C.S. Lewis, chapter XI “Check,” Surprised by Joy

Although Lewis’s conversion to Christianity would not come until many years later, he cites this episode as a major step along the way, and his future reading of MacDonald’s works continued to delight and inspire him.

The following photos are from the interior of the Phantastes volume described above. Visitors to the Wade Center are welcome to request this, and the other volumes from Lewis’s library, for on-site viewing and personal study.

Endpapers

The endpapers of Phantastes. The Everyman edition series aimed to produce beautiful printings of classic books at modest and affordable prices.

Title page of Phantastes

Title page of Phantastes

Half-title page

The half-title page of Phantastes. An ownership signature in the upper right corner suggests the book was owned by someone before Lewis. The book itself carries no other notes or annotations, but it is worn and obviously has been read numerous times.

March Artifact of the Month: Correspondence between Clyde Kilby, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien

Today the Wade Center holds an abundance of resources, but the collection’s beginnings were modest and its future acquisitions rested on some key connections established by founder Clyde S. Kilby. Two of these relationships were with C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. The correspondence they shared with Kilby remains at the heart of the Wade Center’s materials and represents some of our earliest accessions. The March “Artifact of the Month” highlights these two letter collections, and continues the celebration of the Wade’s 50th Anniversary year with a look back at these remarkable documents and the relationships they illustrate.

KILBY AND LEWIS

Clyde S. Kilby first encountered the work of C.S. Lewis around 1943 in a book titled The Case for Christianity, which contained content from some of Lewis’s BBC Radio talks later brought together under the title Mere Christianity in 1952. Kilby reflects in his personal history of the Wade Center on that first reading: “I bought the book and read it right through feeling almost from the first sentence that something profound had touched my mind and heart.” After reading more books by Lewis and becoming greatly interested in them, Kilby decided to write to Lewis on December 17, 1952 asking if he could schedule a visit with him during his upcoming trip to England in the summer of 1953. Lewis accepted Kilby’s request, and they met at Lewis’s rooms in Magdalen College, Oxford on July 1, 1953.

Envelope from Lewis to Kilby, sent February 11, 1957.

The memorable visit with Lewis is recalled by Dr. Kilby in Wheaton College’s Kodon magazine (December 1953, Vol. VIII, pp. 11, 28, 30). They discussed sixteenth-century literature, the Renaissance, and the relation of Christianity and art, which was, in Kilby’s words: “one of the main questions I wished to ask Mr. Lewis.” When asked if Lewis had any plans to visit America, he said he had no intention of doing so until his retirement (Lewis never did visit the United States). Kilby summarizes his time with Lewis at the end of the article by saying: “in all his talk there is an incipient good humor and genuineness that makes a conversation with him a real pleasure.” (28, 30)

Kilby continued his conversation with Lewis through a series of letters between 1953 and 1962. These fourteen letters, and Kilby’s article, are available for viewing in the Wade Center Reading Room; they include a discussion, amongst other topics, of Lewis’s book Till We Have Faces; scripture; recommendations of reading material; and news of Joy’s health, Lewis’s wife who was battling cancer. One memorable quote from Lewis’s February 10, 1957 letter to Kilby begins:

Dear Professor Kilby — An author doesn’t necessarily understand the meaning of his own story better than anyone else, so I give you my account of TWHF [Till We Have Faces] simply “for what it’s worth.” …

Intrigued yet? Visit the Wade Center to read more, or find the letter in volume 3 of The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis edited by Walter Hooper.

Following Lewis’s death in 1963, Kilby maintained a lively correspondence and friendship with Warren H. Lewis, C.S. Lewis’s brother, which lasted until Warren’s death in 1973. Warren willed a variety of materials to the Wade Center, including his own personal diaries, excerpts from which were later edited and published by Clyde S. Kilby and Marjorie Lamp Mead in the book Brothers and Friends.

KILBY AND TOLKIEN

Clyde Kilby’s first visit with Tolkien was late in the afternoon of September 1, 1964, on one of his many trips to England from 1953 to 1979. Kilby had read, and duly admired, Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, and was keen to try and meet its author. After receiving encouragement from Dr. Robert E. Havard, Tolkien’s personal physician and fellow member of the Inklings, Kilby walked up to Tolkien’s front door and received a warm and cordial greeting. They shared two enjoyable visits in 1964 before Kilby’s return to the United States.

Envelope from Tolkien to Kilby, sent December 3, 1967.

After this first meeting, a correspondence between the two professors began, with the first letter from Tolkien written on November 11, 1964, and the last written on March 8, 1973. The Wade Center has fourteen letters from Tolkien to Kilby, only a few of which have been partially published in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, edited by Christopher Tolkien.

The correspondence covers a wide range of topics, including notes on Tolkien’s work; comments on Tolkien’s The Smith of Wootton Major manuscript; discussion on the health of Edith Tolkien, Tolkien’s wife; and one of the most exciting events of Kilby’s friendship with Tolkien: a visit in the summer of 1966 to assist in the writing of Tolkien’s The Silmarillion. Tolkien had worked for years on the content of what later became The Silmarillion, and Tolkien enthusiasts, including Kilby, eagerly anticipated its publication. The work required to get it into a publishable form was substantial, however, and Kilby knew of the difficulty of the task. In a letter dated November 19, 1965, Kilby wrote to Tolkien to offer him any assistance he could provide in helping to prepare The Silmarillion for publication. Among his applicable skills he states that he is “1) a good typist, 2) a bit of a literary critic … 3) an enthusiast for your writings.” Tolkien responds on December 18, 1965:

TOLKIEN AND THE SILMARILLION by Clyde S. Kilby. Wheaton, IL: Shaw, 1976.

TOLKIEN AND THE SILMARILLION by Clyde S. Kilby. Wheaton, IL: Shaw, 1976.

I was deeply touched by [your letter], indeed overwhelmed by your generosity in offering to sacrifice your precious time (and holiday) in helping me. … [Y]our offer under heads 2) and 3) are extremely attractive. … If I had the assistance of a scholar at once sympathetic and yet critical, such as yourself, I feel I might make some of it publishable.  It needs the actual presence of a friend and adviser at one’s side, which is just what you offer.

The experience with Tolkien over the summer of 1966 is recorded in Kilby’s book: Tolkien and the Silmarillion, which is available along with the Tolkien and Kilby letters in the Wade Center Reading Room. The Silmarillion was published in 1977 by Christopher Tolkien after his father’s death. The third chapter of Kilby’s book was removed before publication at Christopher’s request to avoid revealing too much of the subject matter from the then unpublished Silmarillion. Kilby had also made some factual errors in the chapter given that his source material was based on his memory of oral communication with Tolkien. The third chapter has since been published in its entirety in volume 19 (2002) of VII, the Wade Center’s journal.

These letter exchanges give a unique view into the early days of the Wade Center and the important personal connections established with the authors (and their family and friends) now collected, studied, and celebrated here. They are a wonderful reminder of the past as we look into the future. Come read and enjoy them yourself!

February Artifact of the Month: First edition of Lewis’s “The Four Loves,” a post by Elaine Hooker

It’s February. Images and messages about love are everywhere as Valentine’s Day approaches. Fittingly, the First British edition of C.S. Lewis’s The Four Loves is our February “Artifact of the Month.” This somewhat lesser known work by Lewis includes his own insights into various aspects of love, and was written with help from his wife, Joy Davidman Lewis. However, Lewis’s thoughts on love began to take shape long before Joy came into his life.

First edition of THE FOUR LOVES (London: Geoffrey Bles, 1960).

First edition of THE FOUR LOVES (London: Geoffrey Bles, 1960).

On May 4th, 1940, in the midst of World War II in Britain, C.S. Lewis wrote in a letter to his brother Warren, “I pray every night for the people I am most tempted to hate or despise … and in the effort to make this real I have had to do a good deal of thinking.”

Lewis then goes on to outline his thoughts on love, many of which form a framework for what was eventually included in his book The Four Loves published two decades later in 1960.

In this volume, Lewis categorizes love into four distinct types: affection — or in Greek, storge (pronounced store-gay), friendship — philia in the Greek, eros — sexual love, and charity, or agape (in his May 4 th letter to Warren, Lewis notes that agape was hardly used in classical Greek, calling it “a new word for a new thing.)”

In much of The Four Loves, Lewis argues against the idolatry of erotic love and of family love, which he calls “the great error” of 19th century literature, also saying: “Browning, Kingsley and Patmore sometimes talk as if they thought that falling in love was the same thing as sanctification.” (Four Loves, Introduction) Lewis encourages us to broaden our understanding and practice of love away from narrow cultural proclivities.

In early reviews of The Four Loves, Lewis was praised for his erudite thinking and compelling articulation of the four types of love. The chapter on friendship is especially strong. Lewis points out our modern tendency to ignore friendship, calling it the “least natural” of the loves and the least necessary, while also pointing out its intrinsic value:

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art, like the universe itself (for God did not need to create). It has no ‘survival value’ rather it is one of those things which give value to survival .” (Four Loves, Chapter IV)

The Four Loves is dedicated to Chad Walsh, who was then a professor of English at Beloit College in Wisconsin, an Episcopal priest, and one of Lewis’ earliest American correspondents. Walsh began writing to Lewis in 1945 to praise him for his novel Perelandra. This initial letter marked the beginning of a long friendship that later led to Lewis’s introduction to Joy Davidman (this letter is now part of the Chad Walsh Collection at the Wade Center). After meeting through Walsh’s encouragement, Joy and Jack became friends, and were eventually married in a civil ceremony in 1956 and again by a priest in 1957 when Joy was bedridden with bone cancer. You can read more about this relationship in former Wade Director Lyle Dorsett’s book And God Came In.

The British first edition of The Four Loves was published by Geoffrey Bles on March 28th, 1960. The next month, Joy and Jack Lewis took a final trip together to Greece. They planned the trip before receiving word of a recurrence of Joy’s bone cancer, which had previously gone into remission. Joy died just a few months after returning from this trip on July 13th, 1960. The American edition of The Four Loves , to which Joy held the copyright, was published on July 27th. Many of Joy Davidman’s personal papers relating to her personal life and her writing career can be found in the Joy Davidman Papers, housed at the Wade Center.

The Wade Center also holds a copy of a British first edition inscribed in August of 1960 by C.S. Lewis to Bill Gresham, Joy’s former husband.

Inscription from C.S. Lewis to Bill Gresham, August 1960.

The Four Loves is believed to be one of several works that Joy helped Lewis write, and their relationship certainly shaped his understanding and experience of love. He briefly describes the surprising turns their relationship took in a letter to Dom Bede Griffiths on September 24th, 1957 saying:

“It is nice to have arrived at all this by something which began in Agape, proceeded to Philia, then became Pity, and only after that Eros. As if the highest of these, Agape, had successfully undergone the sweet humiliation of an incarnation.”

Joy's plaque at the Oxford Crematorium.

Joy’s plaque at the Oxford Crematorium, with a poem by C.S. Lewis.

Related resources:

Dorsett, Lyle W. A Love Observed: Joy Davidman’s Life & Marriage To C.S. Lewis. Wheaton, Ill. : Harold Shaw Publishers, 1998. (former title: And God Came In) Call number: PS3507.A6659 Z6 1991

Lewis, C. S. Reinforcing The Spiritual Outreach Of The Church: A Series Of Ten Radio Talks On Love. Atlanta, Ga. : The Episcopal Radio-TV Foundation, ©1959. Call number: BV4639 .L45 R4 1959

Lewis, C. S. Four Talks On Love. Atlanta, Ga. : The Episcopal Radio-TV Foundation, ©1970.
Sound recording of Lewis’s voice. Call number: CSL-V / SR-10

Sibley, Brian. Through The Shadowlands: The Love Story Of C.S. Lewis And Joy Davidman. Grand Rapids, Mich. : Revell, 2005. Call number: PR6023.E926 Z8481 1985

Shadowlands by William Nicholson. Adapted into a television movie in 1985 and a film in 1993. Call numbers: CSL-D / VR-2 and 6.

January Artifact of the Month: 1977 Video of Barfield and Kilby

Continuing the celebration of our 50th Anniversary year, we are featuring a video of Clyde S. Kilby, founder of the Wade Center, and Owen Barfield recorded at Wheaton College on November 3, 1977.

The video is an edited version of the full 37-minute recording by Lord & King Associates, which is held at the Wade Center under call number: CSL-Y / VR-16.

In the video, Kilby begins by showing Barfield the Wade’s recently acquired Lewis Family Wardrobe on display in the Wade Center’s Reading Room, which at that time was housed on the 2nd floor in the Nicholas Wing of Wheaton College’s Buswell Library. Although Kilby states that the maker of the wardrobe is uncertain, it was later confirmed that this wardrobe was handmade by Richard Lewis, C.S. Lewis’s paternal grandfather sometime in the 1800s. The wardrobe stood for many years in the Lewis family home of Little Lea in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and was later transported to C.S. Lewis’s adult home, “The Kilns,” in England.  Along with Lewis’s writing desk, chair, and dining table, the wardrobe was purchased at auction in Banbury, England, on October 30, 1973 after Warren Lewis’s death.

Kilby then shows Barfield a copy of The Silver Trumpet, Barfield’s fairy tale for children that was enjoyed by C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Tolkien’s children. 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.

After being seated by the Reading Room fireplace, Barfield and Kilby discuss Barfield’s decades long friendship with C.S. Lewis. The video concludes with a brief excerpt from the beginning of Barfield’s lecture, titled “C.S. Lewis: Truth and Imagination,” which was given later that evening in Edman Chapel on Wheaton College’s campus. Barfield’s talk, the third annual Wade Lecture, is available on sound recording at the Wade Center, call number: OB-V / SR-11.

Owen Barfield visited Wheaton College several times between 1964 and 1977, and was the only one of the seven Wade authors to come to Wheaton and see the Wade’s collection. The many interesting connections between Barfield, the Wade Center, and Wheaton College are outlined in a chronology on the Wade Center’s website. The Wade also has three Oral History interviews with Barfield recorded between 1983 and 1985.

As we begin the commemoration of our 50th year, we are delighted to share this video and the intriguing glimpse it gives into the Wade Center’s past. To watch the recording in full, or use any of the other recordings mentioned in this post, please visit our Reading Room. We would love to see you!

December Artifact of the Month: First edition of The Hobbit

One book Tolkien fans always love to see when visiting the Wade Center is our first edition of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.

THE HOBBIT first edition

THE HOBBIT by J.R.R. Tolkien. London: Allen and Unwin, 1937. 1st edition, 1st impression. Cover design by J.R.R. Tolkien.

Originally published in 1937, The Hobbit had a quite notable and unusual beginning. Sometime around the summer of 1930, Tolkien recalls sitting at his desk grading examination papers. The work provided his family with some extra income during the summer months. It was a task which was, according to an interview he did for the film “Tolkien in Oxford” (BBC, 1968), “very laborious and unfortunately also very boring.” He recalls that one page of an examination was left blank with nothing to read, and he scribbled on it without knowing why: “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.” That sentence, the opening line of The Hobbit, has become one of the most famous lines in literature.

Tolkien went on to develop the story as he told it to his four children, and eventually sent it to the publisher Allen and Unwin. Stanley Unwin, the firm’s chairman, believed that children were the best judges of children’s literature and hired his ten-year-old son Rayner to write a review of The Hobbit before officially accepting it for publication. Rayner wrote a very favorable review, stating at the end that “This book, with the help of maps, … is good and should appeal to all children between the ages of 5 and 9.” He received a shilling for his work, and The Hobbit was first published in England on September 21, 1937, with an initial print run of 1,500 copies. C.S. Lewis supported Tolkien by anonymously contributing 2 glowing reviews of the book to The Times in October 1937.

The first printing sold well enough that a second printing was needed before Christmas. Four full-color plates of Tolkien’s own artwork were added for this second printing of 2,300 copies. These Hobbit first editions remain rare to this day and are sought-after collector’s items — most especially due to the unfortunate loss of 423 copies when a London warehouse was bombed by the German Luftwaffe in November 1940 during World War II.

The Wade has both the British (Allen and Unwin, 1937) and American (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1938) first editions of The Hobbit. One of our British first editions (a second impression, “impression” being a term for the number of copies of an edition printed at one time) contains Tolkien’s signature in the front as shown here, perhaps given to someone as a gift.

Tolkien Signature

1st edition of THE HOBBIT signed by J.R.R. Tolkien. Click to enlarge.

The original dust jacket of The Hobbit was illustrated by Tolkien, and similar designs using his artwork appear on modern editions as well.

The-hobbit-first-edition-dust-jacket-book-cover

First edition of THE HOBBIT, dust jacket design by J.R.R. Tolkien.

Enjoyment of The Hobbit continues, and in 2012 the book celebrated its 75th anniversary. This December also marks the release of the last of the Hobbit films in a trilogy by Director Peter Jackson. If you are looking for some special holiday reading, settle in a cozy armchair with a copy of The Hobbit, and enjoy.

For more information on The Hobbit and its various editions, here are some recommended resources:

DID YOU KNOW?
Chapter 5, “Riddles in the Dark,” has a different ending in the first edition than in the current edition. Gollum has quite a different personality. The full text of both editions is available in The Annotated Hobbit as well as The History of The Hobbit (listed above).

November Artifact of the Month: Video footage from Poets’ Corner

One year ago on, November 22, 2013, a ceremony commemorating the 50th anniversary of the death of C.S. Lewis took place at Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey, London. A full gathering of those grateful for the life and work of C.S. Lewis watched the unveiling of a memorial stone in his honor, placing his legacy alongside memorials for over three thousand other men and women revered in the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth, and the English-speaking world.

The Wade Center was very pleased to be able to obtain video footage from the ceremony via a UK-based company filming a documentary on C.S. Lewis, and this video is our featured November “Artifact of the Month.” The film from What Larks Productions Ltd. features unedited footage of the Abbey, ceremony guests arriving and departing, and excerpts from the service itself. Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, gave the Address.

The complete video is available for viewing at the Wade Center (call number CSL-Y / VR-78), and we are glad to provide a sample of it with this excerpt on YouTube.

The video excerpt includes a reading from the final chapter of Lewis’s The Last Battle by Douglas Gresham (younger stepson of C.S. Lewis), prayer, and the unveiling of the Lewis memorial stone. The participants in the video are shown in the photo below.

Unveiling the memorial stone. L to R:  Gregory Lippiatt (godson of Walter Hooper), Walter Hooper (Trustee and Literary Adviser to the Lewis Estate, and Lewis Scholar), the Very Reverend Dr. John Hall (Dean of Westminster), Dr. Michael Ward (Senior Research Fellow, Blackfriars Hall, Oxford, Lewis scholar, organizer of the Westminster Abbey event, and Wade Board member), and Douglas Gresham (younger stepson of C.S. Lewis).

Unveiling the Lewis memorial stone. L to R: Gregory Lippiatt (godson of Walter Hooper), Walter Hooper (Trustee and Literary Adviser to the Lewis Estate, and Lewis Scholar), the Very Reverend Dr. John Hall (Dean of Westminster), Dr. Michael Ward (Senior Research Fellow, Blackfriars Hall, Oxford, Lewis scholar, organizer of the Westminster Abbey event, and Wade Board member), and Douglas Gresham (younger stepson of C.S. Lewis).

The memorial stone, shown below, contains the following quote by C.S. Lewis: “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the Sun has risen, not only because I see it but because by it I see everything else.”

The quote comes from his address titled “Is Theology Poetry,” which he gave at the Oxford debating society called The Socratic Club on November 6, 1944. Dr. Michael Ward reflected on the meaning of these words in the service program for the ceremony:

“The address was one of many he gave to the Socratic Club, the forum for debate between Christians and non-Christians, of which he was President. Thus the inscription points to his role as an apologist who publicly – and not without professional cost – defended the faith … The sentence is straightforwardly confessional, marking the centrality of his faith at a personal level.”

Dr. Ward served as the organizer of the Poets’ Corner event, is on the Wade’s VII Advisory Board, and has been a member of the Wade Board since September 2007.

Walter Hooper, Trustee and Literary Adviser to the Lewis Estate, and his godson Gregory Lippiatt, placed a floral arrangement by the stone during the dedication. The bouquet contained 64 white roses (one for each year of Lewis’s life), 7 sprigs of holly berries (one for each Narnia book), 3 sprigs of rosemary (one for each book of the Ransom trilogy), and a single red rose (for the medieval poem “Romance of the Rose,” featured in Lewis’s Allegory of Love).

MemorialStone-web

The C.S. Lewis memorial stone, now in Poets’ Corner, Westminster Abbey, London.

In addition to the video footage of the ceremony available through the Wade Center, a number of related resources surrounding the anniversary’s events can be found online. An audio excerpt from the Poets’ Corner ceremony is available here. The first words of the recording are of C.S. Lewis himself from one of his BBC Radio broadcasts which later became the book Mere Christianity. This excerpt is from “Beyond Personality: The New Men.”

The Westminster Abbey Institute also sponsored a C.S. Lewis Symposium on November 21, the day before the memorial stone ceremony. Audio recordings of the talks from the symposium are available via the links below:

Telling the Truth through Rational Argument by Alister McGrath

Telling the Truth through Imaginative Fiction by Malcolm Guite

Panel Discussion: What can 21st Century Apologetics learn from C.S. Lewis? Chaired by Michael Ward