C.S. Lewis on royalty

Charles Butler hannibal at thegates.fsbusiness.co.uk
Thu Jun 17 04:11:57 EDT 2004


Judith

> In my meanderings in search of the reference, I came across a site which
> dissed Hooper badly (pardon the Americanism) saying he didn't have the
close
> relationship with Lewis he claimed and that his books were therefore not
to
> be trusted. I didn't read further but it sparked my interest. Is there a
> scandal or is this just bitchery?

>From what I understand, Hooper got to know CSL very near the end of the
latter's life, when Hooper was his secretary - maybe only for a matter of
months. Afterwards however, he certainly made himself the keeper of CSL's
flame and hagiographer in chief, and (perhaps) let the blurbs on his books
imply, as you say, a closer and longer-standing relationship with CSL than
actually existed. That said, he's worked pretty indefatigably on CSL's
behalf ever since, bringing out biographies, edited letters, unpublished
manuscripts galore, etc. and generally being CSL's vicar on earth. Naturally
this has brought him into conflict with more sceptical Lewis scholars like
A.N. Wilson, who tend to see him as a) keeping material to himself; b)
bowdlerizing CSL's less pleasant aspects; c) presenting an image of CSL
entirely in keeping with the conservative religious vision of Walter Hooper.

The latest Wilson-Hooper spat was in the pages of the TLS a few weeks ago,
when Wilson used a review of Hooper's latest volume of CSL's letters to
attack both men - but was attacked himself in subsequent weeks via the
letters page.

Anyone who wants to decide for themselves and lives near Oxford can take an
"Inklings Tour of Oxford" as part of the Landscape with Angels conference
taking place there 12-15th August (see
http://www.secondspring.co.uk/fantasy/conference.htm for details). It comes
with this glowing recommendation from Philip Pullman:  "These people have a
fervently reactionary Catholic agenda, and they hate my work
with a passion bordering on hysteria."

Enjoy.

Charlie

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