The Ken and Jean Hansen Lectureship

Last November the Wade Center welcomed a new era of public programming and scholarship with the launch of the Ken and Jean Hansen Lectureship. The lectureship is an annual faculty lecture series named in honor of former Wheaton College Trustee Ken Hansen and his wife Jean, and endowed in their memory by Walter and Darlene Hansen. Each academic year three lectures will be presented by a Wheaton College faculty member on one or more of the Wade Center authors. The 2015-2016 lectureship series features Wheaton College President Philip G. Ryken and the topic: The Messiah Comes to Middle-earth: Images of Christ’s Threefold Office in The Lord of the Rings.

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At the inaugural lecture on November 12, 2015, Walter Hansen shared how some of the works of the Wade authors influenced the life of his family:

“While I was still in college, [my parents Ken and Jean] took an evening course on Lewis and Tolkien with Clyde Kilby. The class was limited to nine students so that they could meet in Dr. Kilby’s living room. Martha served tea and cookies. My parents were avid readers, collectors and promoters of the books of the Inklings. They hosted a book club in their living room led by Dr. Kilby to read and discuss the books of the Inklings. When they moved to Santa Barbara in 1977, they named their home Rivendell. … Our family treasures memories of our times at Rivendell, highlighted by storytelling. Our conversations were often laced with images and quotes from the stories of the Inklings. … The purpose of the Hansen Lectureship is to enjoy the great literature of the Seven so that we can escape from the prison of our self-centeredness, see with other eyes, feel with other hearts, and be equipped for practical and heroic deeds in real life.”

Walter & Darlene Hansen with Dr. Jennifer McNutt (faculty respondent) and President Philip G. Ryken on the night of the second Hansen lecture, February 4, 2016.

Walter & Darlene Hansen with Dr. Jennifer McNutt (faculty respondent) and President Philip G. Ryken on the night of the second Hansen lecture, February 4, 2016.

It is the hope of the Wade Center as well that these lectures will serve as a new way to connect others with the works of our seven authors. For those unable to attend in person, lecture content is available on the Wade Center’s YouTube channel, and each series will also be published in book form.

President Ryken’s three talks for the 2015-2016 lecture series are:

Through each lecture Ryken examines how the personhood and nature of Christ’s three offices (prophet, priest, and king) are manifested in the characters and storyline of Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. He commented on this approach in his second lecture:

281A8664“To see images of the Messiah in Middle-earth is one way to see the significance of The Lord of the Rings, and we can do this without mistakenly treating the novel as an allegory. … If Gandalf, Frodo, and Aragorn remind us in various ways of Jesus Christ, it is not because the novelist had this explicitly in mind. It is rather because the biblical worldview so thoroughly penetrated his imagination that inevitably it pervaded his literary art. So when, for example, Tolkien had a character bear a heavy burden for the sake of a kingdom, it was only natural for him to have that burden shared by a fellowship of love that reminds us of the priesthood of all believers.”

A look over the crowd at the February 4, 2016 lecture.

A look over the crowd at the February 4, 2016 lecture.

Following each lecture, a Wheaton College faculty respondent shares a brief reflection on the lecture and then, along with Dr. Ryken, facilitates a question and answer session with the audience. The faculty respondents for the first lecture series are:

Dr. Sandra Richter, President Ryken, and Walter Hansen following the November 12, 2015 Hansen Lecture.

Dr. Sandra Richter, President Ryken, and Walter Hansen following the November 12, 2015 Hansen Lecture.

These responses provide an opportunity for a conversational approach to the lecture material, often from a different field of expertise, and allow for additional points of dialogue and perspective. The first two lectures and faculty respondents have provided enjoyable and stimulating evenings with the Bakke Auditorium full of attenders; between 130 and 150 people were in attendance at each talk.

In the next few years, we look forward to the following Hansen lecture series with Wheaton College faculty:

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Dr. Timothy Larsen will present three lectures on George MacDonald for the 2016-2017 Hansen Lectureship.

If you would like to be notified of upcoming Hansen lectures, and other Wade Center events, you may sign up for email announcements on our contact page.

We hope you will join us for our last Hansen lecture by President Ryken on March 31 at 7pm: “The Coronation of Aragorn Son of Arathorn” with faculty respondent Dr. William Struthers, Professor of Psychology, Wheaton College.


Photos used in this post are courtesy of Maas Photography.

50th Anniversary Celebration Videos

We are pleased to share these two videos, the event program, and a commemorative poem from the 50th Anniversary celebration of the Marion E. Wade Center, and the dedication of the Bakke Auditorium, which took place on October 29, 2015. We enjoyed marking this milestone event with many friends of the Wade Center, and are glad we can provide these items here to all who were not able to join us in person for the program – or those who would like to see them again. Enjoy.

Program with Speaker Biographies

“The Space Inside” original poem by Luci Shaw

Video of the event:

 

Commemorative video shown during the event:

The 50th Anniversary of the Marion E. Wade Center

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Today is a special day. The Marion E. Wade Center celebrates its 50th anniversary (1965-2015), and the dedication of the Bakke Auditorium. You can watch the event live at 7pm Central Time via WETN (online or via mobile device). If you are in the Wheaton area, the local cable stations below will also be broadcasting the event:

  • Wheaton channel 72
  • West Chicago channel 10
  • Warrenville and Winfield channel 17
  • Channel 4.1 on Wheaton College campus televisions

We hope you can join us! A recording of the presentation will be made available online as soon as possible following the event.

And please also sign the Wade Center’s 50th Anniversary Guestbook. We would love to hear from you, and this is a great way to celebrate with us.  Thank you to all who have supported the work of the Wade Center over our past 50 years. We are very grateful for you.

Celebrating 50 Years of the Wade Center: 1965-2015

The Seven Wade Authors

Happy New Year to all! This is an especially exciting year at the Marion E. Wade Center as we are celebrating our 50th Anniversary.

The story of the Wade began with Wheaton College English professor Clyde S. Kilby. Greatly impacted by the books of C.S. Lewis, Kilby began a correspondence with Lewis in the 1950s. Following Lewis’s death in 1963, Kilby was inspired to begin “The C.S. Lewis Collection,” a repository that eventually would include not only Lewis items, but also materials from six other like-minded British writers. Kilby’s proposal for the collection was accepted by the Wheaton College Library Committee in 1965, and thus began our now 50 years of history filled with wonderful relationships, life-changing literature, and pivotal acquisitions. All of these have helped form the world-class research collection—along with a museum and various educational endeavors such as publications and programming—that the Wade has become today.

Clyde S. Kilby, founder of the Wade Center

Clyde S. Kilby, founder of the Wade Center

Over 50 years, the Wade Center has moved house a number of times between Wheaton College’s Buswell Library, the English Department in Blanchard Hall, and then into our current facility in 2001. In 1974, friends and family members of Christian businessman and C.S. Lewis enthusiast Marion E. Wade began an endowment following Mr. Wade’s death in 1973. The Lewis Collection was then renamed “The Marion E. Wade Collection,” and the name changed officially to “The Marion E. Wade Center” in 1987 to reflect our broader purpose.

Wade Center Reading Room in Buswell Library. You can see the Lewis Family Wardrobe, and off to the right, C.S. Lewis's dining room table.

Wade Center Reading Room in Buswell Library, ca. 1975. You can see the Lewis Family Wardrobe, and off to the right, C.S. Lewis’s dining room table — then serving as a as a table for researchers (it can now be viewed in the Wade Center’s museum).

Our annual journal, VII: An Anglo-American Literary Review, started in 1980 under the guidance of Barbara Reynolds of Cambridge, England, Clyde S. Kilby, founder of the Wade Center, and Beatrice Batson, at that time Chair of the Wheaton College English Department. The journal has just released its 31st volume, and continues to produce in-depth and lively discussion on the seven Wade authors through peer reviewed articles, news and events, and book reviews.

To date, the Wade Center has had three Directors: Clyde S. Kilby, Lyle W. Dorsett, and Christopher W. Mitchell. Associate Director Marjorie Lamp Mead has been here supporting all three directors, and continues to serve at the Wade Center today along with the rest of the Wade’s dedicated staff members. We look forward to continuing the legacy of helping others to enjoy and benefit from the writings and thoughts of our seven authors by building relationships, offering programming and educational opportunities featuring the lives and works of our authors, and supporting research and scholarship on these seven significant writers.

Anniversary Year Items of Note:

  • Construction on the Wade’s 100-seat auditorium has begun! Work started on December 15th, and the Bakke Auditorium is expected to be complete by the fall of 2015. Construction photos available on our Facebook page.
  • Watch for a display commemorating the 50 years of the Marion E. Wade Center in the Wade’s Museum.
  • A special issue of Christian History magazine to be published in 2015 on the seven Wade authors.
  • We have some exciting events planned as well. Stay tuned to this blog, and the Wade’s website and Facebook page for upcoming notifications of these events! Please contact us if you would like to be added to our email list.
Dr. Jill Peláez Baumgaertner

Dr. Jill Peláez Baumgaertner

We leave our readers with a poem by Dr. Jill Peláez Baumgaertner, Professor of English and Dean of Humanities and Theological Studies at Wheaton College. The poem was commissioned by the Wade Center in celebration of the opening of its new building in 2001, and was written while Dr. Baumgaertner was at Oxford with the Wheaton in England program in the summer of 2001. She reflects on the poem’s composition:

The poem begins with one of my earliest memories: my grandmother teaching me to read at age 3. I was asked to write a poem about a building holding the collections of the Inklings, but the poem was about much more than a building or the Inklings. It was about the experience of reading through the years—eventually tied intimately to the Wade Center in its early sites and later in the elegant home of its current housing. Then I reached forward, Whitmanesque, imagining the Wade Center in the future—maybe one hundred years from now. All of this because literature is timeless, and we are made custodians of all that is precious in written language.

The poem appeared in Dr. Baugaertner’s recently published book: What Cannot Be Fixed (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2014), and she has graciously allowed it to appear here as a wonderful reflection back on the Wade’s history and legacy, and as an appropriate look ahead to our 50th anniversary year and beyond.

Where Words Regain Their Meaning

 I.

Florida: 1951

The child you once were
sits on the porch swing in the heat
weighted with summer rain.
Grandmother points to each word.
You repeat, “Good morning, Baby.
Good morning, Baby Ray.”
And the longing is unlatched,
the hunger for words that transcend
the world locked into the safety
of Mother’s lunches,
of Father’s Saturday mornings,
of Grandmother’s books stacked
beneath her bed or behind glass doors.

Behind the barriers of ciphers
marching across a page the mysteries
are revealed with your first mouthing
of consonants crisped by unfamiliarity
and vowels forcing the syllables
into language which becomes more than speech.
This is your first transcendence.

 II.

Buswell Library: 1995

Books from the Wade's collections.

Books from the Wade’s collections.

The pleasant mustiness of old books,
the stiffened bindings of the new
and the smell of ink, paper, glue,
and you have found your way again.
The college stacks, the secluded
carrels, the whisper-squeak
of the librarian’s cart.

Up the back stairs into the room
called Kilby, quiet with the hush
of study, the scratch of pen, the click
of laptop keys, a muffled rattle of ideas.

This is the place where words regain
their meaning, the books —Tolkien,
Chesterton — packed in like bricks —
Sayers, Lewis, MacDonald —
and parked on tabletops — Barfield,
Williams. Occasionally, a spray
of dust-moted sun
and through the windows a glimpse
of the unwritten world outside these words.

You have missed entire seasons
inside such spaces (the ripening of summer,
the blazing of fall), besotted with words,
breaking print into patterns,
tracing images, wrestling language
amidst the undiscipline of marginalia
in rooms like this filled with the whisperings
of words, not words that fall back inside
themselves like ice on a thawing pond,
but words that disperse to fill a space,
like breath that weaves the pliant silence
into the warp and woof of music.

 III.

The Wade Center: 2001-2101

The Marion E. Wade Center, September 2001

The Marion E. Wade Center, September 2001

After the months of cement-pouring,
the raising of walls, the bracing
of floors with book-supporting trusses.
After the roofers carefully treading
the sloped surfaces. After the sawdust,
the construction trailers parked behind Edman
in the snow, the temporary front door,
the chimney pots on order, the blueprints
spread on saw-horsed plywood,
the staircases without railings.
After the packing and unpacking of files,
the book boxes stacked six feet high,
the paths between them like a garden maze,
we wander new spaces, pristine,
not yet redolent of concentrated reading,
not yet filled with the rustled silence
of scholars, the children’s corner a mere outline,
Aslan’s portrait leaning against a wall,
Lewis’s bust stashed in a safe corner.

You who follow, you yet unborn,
you will know these spaces for the first time,
too. You will grow familiar, as will we,
with the patterns formed by sunlight
through this glass, with the heft
of the door, with books now older,
their pages brittled by the years.

Think back on us, the new millennium
handed to us like an unproofed book.
You will supply it with words as yet unfleshed,
correcting what we discerned
as mere glimmers and flashes.

Yet you, too, will have your blindnesses.
That “chaos of stark bewilderment” Sayers
saw one Ash Wednesday in the middle
of a century of bones, you will know, too.

Wade Center garden, July 2008.

Wade Center garden, July 2008.

Direct your gaze to the garden,
which to us is no more than the promise soil holds.
There in the nodding daffodils of early spring,
the sweet pea, the day lily, the delphinium
of summer, the phlox and cleome,
the sudden arbor, the rose, the boxwood hedge
precisely trimmed, there you will find
a partial answer to disorder,
the rupture in the stem opening to blossom.

Tum back now to the books before you.
Find there in the uncharted
middle of your life the deep woods
of the Word. You must not hesitate.
Step inside.

– Dr. Jill Peláez Baumgaertner, Professor of English and Dean of Humanities and Theological Studies at Wheaton College, September 8, 2001 for the Dedication of The Marion E. Wade Center

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.