Talk:C. S. Lewis/Archive 1

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Archive 1 | Archive 2


I have replaced the references to Ireland for the reasons listed directly below.

In 1898, Northern Ireland did not yet exist as a political entity. Logically, his birthplace should be refered to as Belfast, Ireland (currently Northern Ireland). BTW - Lewis specifically and repeatedly identified himself in his published letters and diary as being "an Irishman".

Lets get away from the Irish or not thing. Say he was born in Belfast, that he lived in England and let people come to their own conclusions. Otherwise we get this very non NPOV claiming of him for one nationality or another. Doesn't anyone here know how to sign their name with the ~~~~ ? , Dabbler 21:53, 5 August 2005 (UTC)

I agree with your change, Dabbler -- wise move. Oh, and the conversation immediately below took place in 2002....I don't think the software then allowed the four tilde signature, and apparently these authors weren't in the habit of signing their remarks. :-) Further down the page you'll see we mostly sign our comments. :-) Jwrosenzweig 22:17, 5 August 2005 (UTC)ma

Obsolutely wrong -- If we were talking about any other group, there wouldn't even be a debate over listing his nationality. The British have a long history of labeling all that is good about the Irish as "British" and all that is bad as "Irish". Richard Harris once noted that when he won the Golden Globe all the British papers said "British actor wins award", but when he got into a bar fight the British papers said, "Irish actor in bar brawl." 18:33, 6 August 2005 (UTC) joey1899

As someone with Irish origins myself albeit removed a generation, I don't think that is the case here. I suggested that we let people make their own mind up, but you are putting in your POV that he was Irish. I didn't say he was British, I said he was born in Belfast, that is a fact. There are unreferenced claims above that Lewis said he was Irish. Dabbler 02:01, 8 August 2005 (UTC)


If he was born in Ireland, why do you call him English? Did he have English parents and thereupon move back to England?

He lived at various locations in the British Isles.

That doesn't make him English, does it?

He was a professor of English at an english university (Oxford). That sounds like an english academic to me. Make it British if you're so uptight about it!

Huh, that makes him an Irish-born professor of English at an English university. Clear enough. I'll make the change.

On Larry's query about him being a professor of english; the C.S. Lewis foundation's web page ( has this:

On May 20, Lewis was elected a Fellow of Magdalen College,
Oxford, where he served as tutor in English Language and      
Literature for 29 years until leaving for Magdalene College, 
Cambridge, in 1954. 

..and when he moved to Cambridge he got the chair of Medieval and Renaissance Literature; so even if he wasn't a professor at Oxford, he was at Cambridge.

He was born in Belfast which (for political reasons) does not make him Irish but British, as Belfast is part of Northern Ireland which is itself part of the United Kingdom. As an Irishman, I'm not going to comment on the politics :) --John Lynch

1) As an adult convert he was very much interested in presenting a reasonable case for the truth of Christianity." - Convert to which faith exactly? C of E, I presume, but I don't know.

Yes, C of E.

2) "his relationship with an American fan, Joy Gresham, whom he met and married in London" -- this site gives her name as "Joy Davidman".

Davidman was her maiden name; Gresham is from her first marriage.

as for the spelling of "medieval": The OED reports no recent uses of "mediaeval". Lewis himself had "medieval" in the title to "The Discarded Image" (as old versions of the page, and other sources, show). The OED reports nothing distinctively American about "medieval" or British about "mediaeval", recording uses from both sides of the pond (though the latter, as I said, has no recent uses). --Tb 06:05 16 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Catholicism etc.

"His writings so closely parallel the theology of Catholicism that his apparent decision to remain an Anglican is the subject of biographical interest.". This really needs to be explained. Lewis' beliefs were fairly middle of the road for Anglicanism. Read his own introduction to Mere Christianity for examples of how he considered his beliefs different from Catholicism. Which aspects of his theology do you think were particularly Catholic? DJ Clayworth 13:57, 18 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Hello! I wasn't concerned so much with theological comparisons. I was just looking for a segue to make the demographic point, that Catholics are always passing his books back and forth and wonder that he didn't convert. Lewis was opposed to women serving as clergy; perhaps that would have been the last straw. Anyway, Catholics are curious about this subject, and it is the focus of a recent biographical book. I have tried to find another (closer to my original way) of phrasing the matter. Trc | msg 14:29, 18 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Lewis' writings, at least his popular ones, are appreciated by such a wide range of Christians that I think many of them wonder why he didn't convert to their denomination. I think that was part of his genius. DJ Clayworth 15:06, 18 Jun 2004 (UTC)
He was a fine ecumenist. Today, of course, members of denominations with women clergy would be less inclined to feel this affinity. I don't want to claim CS Lewis for Catholicism; don't mistake me. I think it plausible that had he lived to see the adoption of women clergy in the Anglican church he would have left it then, but that's a little like saying, If I had a brother, would he like spinach. Who can say? I want the entry to in some way reflect the especial interest Catholics feel for his writings. I think it goes a little beyond, in relation to their totality, what other groups feel. Trc | msg 15:43, 18 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Trc, as an evangelical who has close friends and relatives who are Catholic, I think you severely underestimate the level of devotion other denominations pay to Lewis. :-) I certainly agree with you that many Catholics see Lewis as a good candidate for conversion to their denomination -- I could offer you a long list of mainline and evangelical Protestants who would like to think he would have chosen them also. Furthermore, I have to say that this is at the edges of biographical interest -- an unidentifiable number of Catholics believe a certain historical figure was a good candidate for conversion, and are surprised that he never did so. Given that Lewis didn't make this switch, and that his close Catholic friends seem never to have pressed him to do so (indeed, I can't think of any of them suggesting he would become Catholic, even in private letters now published), it's speculative enough that we might be best to do without it. Leaving it in as it stands implies, to me, that Lewis "really was more Catholic than Anglican" -- anyone familiar with Lewis's beliefs can point to any of a dozen reasons he had for rejecting Catholicism (while continuing to respect the beliefs of his Catholic friends), and certainly Tolkien was often angered by "the Ulster blood" in Lewis, which I can only take to mean that Lewis had some kind of anti-Catholic tendencies as a result of growing up in Northern Ireland. He was a very traditional thinker who was brought to Christ by Catholics and whose heroes tended to be Catholic, and Catholics love to read his works, but I think we mislead too much if we note that Catholics everywhere are filled with wonder that he did not "go over to Rome". That's my thoughts. Jwrosenzweig 16:15, 18 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Okay, I'm convinced. Go ahead and adapt the wording to your liking. I don't have before me a detailed comparison of Lewis' and Catholic theology, so I can't really much work on this anyway. Actually, let's remove my whole addition, except to make sure the article says he was Anglican, which it didn't before yesterday. There is one important point that one day might find its way in to the article: he objected to a female clergy. He thought that was pretty important. In a moment now, I'll put the page back, except to include an Anglican mention. Trc | msg 18:28, 18 Jun 2004 (UTC)
I added a book reference. Other books might be listed there too. The one I listed sounds quite interesting. If you like, incorporate it into the text rather than have a separate listing section. Trc | msg 18:44, 18 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Trc, didn't mean to shut you down completely -- I hope you're satisfied with this resolution. I'll add to that list of books....we need to cover at least the Green & Hooper biography, the Kilby bio, and the Wilson bio, as well as something by Lindskoog and probably Kreeft as well. Get the major works in there. Jwrosenzweig 20:42, 18 Jun 2004 (UTC)
It's a good solution. I knew my point was one of minor coloration to start with, and the book listed there certainly makes it better than I would be able to do. Cheers! Trc | msg 23:16, 18 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Re Lewis and Catholicism. Features of Lewis's life/thought that have made some people think that he "feels Catholic" include: (i) his belief in a version of the doctrine of purgatory; (ii) the fact that he made a regular confession for much of his life; (iii) his love of pre-Reformation literature (eg Dante); (iv) his admiration for Chesterton; and (v) his close friendships with Catholics such as Tolkien and Bede Griffiths. None of this makes him a closet Roman Catholic, or even an Anglo-Catholic. He was an Anglican with a visceral dislike for factionalism within the church. His correspondence (in Latin!) with an Italian priest in Verona, written between the late 1940s and the early 1960s, makes clear both his strong desire for reconciliation between the churches, and his inability to accept significant aspects of Catholic teaching (in particular the teaching about the role and authority of the Pope). I haven't tried to put any of this in the article.
POV concern—This is regarding this quote near the end of the Trilemma section:
Although an Anglican, Lewis' Catholic leanings appeared to influence his beliefs; he accepted the Catholic doctrine of mortal sin, implying that he believed a Christian could lose their salvation, a belief somewhat at odds with reformed views on justification. This opinion was thoroughly explored in Lewis' book The Screwtape Letters.
This statement makes the error of lumping all protestants under one roof, that is, under the roof of Reformed Dutch Theology. For instance, mortal sin and the implication that a Christian could lose one's salvation is not exclusively a Catholic view: Arminian Methodists believe the same thing. Gryphon Hall 12:06, 16 May 2006 (UTC)
I agree: Lewis's theology is quite mainstream Anglican. To say that any Christian writer's belief are "at odds with reformed views" is simply a POV way of saying that they are not Calvinist; but I see no reason to be surprised that Lewis was not a Calvinist. Myopic Bookworm 13:45, 16 May 2006 (UTC)

This is an interesting topic of conversation, but I must admit to being taken aback by the assertion that Lewis was a "mainstream" Anglican. I think that's only true to a degree. He certainly presented himself as mainstream in _Mere Christianity_ but the book's argument and purpose made such a position necessary. If we wish to place Lewis within Anglicanism, I think he fits best into the Anglo-Catholic camp. His views on purgatory, mortal sin, his acceptance of real presence in the Eucharist, his notions of the priesthood, as well as his regular participation in private confession suggest, to me at least, that he was a high churchman, preface to _Mere Christianity_ aside. - Josh

Just because a lot of Anglican and Catholic beliefs that Lewis held are similar or exactly the same does not make him "lean" towards Catholicism "although" he is Anglican; neither does it mean that just because Catholics happen to hold those doctrines that certain Anglicans also hold make it a "Catholic" doctrine. One might as well argue that since the Chinese and the Inuit both have almond-shaped eyes, the Inuit are necessarily Chinese. As I mentioned earlier, Methodists believe a lot of the same things (such as Sacraments), but they have always been at odds with Catholicism. It just so happens that certain Christian doctrines are "mainstream" in all Christian denominations.
Can we please put back that indication that Lewis being "Catholic" is being disputed (which it is); I'm not asking that it would be deleted. Gryphon Hall 15:25, 26 July 2006 (UTC)

In Lewis' day there would be nothing unusual about Lewis' beliefs within the Anglican church. The Anglocatholic 'wing' was only part of the body of Anglicanism, but it was certainly not in any way a 'fringe' part of it. I don't believe there was anything in Lewis' beliefs that would make him unusual within the church. Certainly his writings are accepted by evangelicals and broad church the world over. Believing that a Christian can lose their salvation is far from being a fringe belief.

It also looks as if the author here is relying on statements made in The Screwtape Letters to back up his belief that Lews thought a Christian could lose his salvation. But - and this is important - Lewis states very clearly in the introduction to the book that Screwtape is a devil, and therefore a liar! The fact that Screwtape believes a Christian can be enticed away from God does not mean that Lewis believes it. I'm going to remove this passage. DJ Clayworth 17:57, 9 June 2006 (UTC)

(DJ Clayworth said)"The fact that Screwtape believes a Christian can be enticed away from God does not mean that Lewis believes it."

Except that Lewis did believe it, and explored it in Mere Christianity, too. It is fair to say that many Christians from diverse denominations enjoy Lewis' writings, but to say in one breath that "certainly his writings are accepted by evangelicals", and in another to dispute his own professed and published beliefs puts you on shaky territory! Of all protestant Christian groups, it seems that evangelicals - especially the more fundamentalist conservative types - are the least likely to agree with Lewis on matters of doctrine. Indeed, many (if not most) evangelicals dispute the Real Presence at Eucharist, the nature of Purgatory, mortal sin, the necessity for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and even One Baptism in many cases! I fully appreciate the desire of all Christians to claim Lewis as one of their own: the fact remains he was a high-church Anglican at a time when the Anglican church looked a lot more like the Catholic Church than it does today.Cravenmonket 22:31, 15 September 2006 (UTC)
I didn't realize I was walking into a current controversy, but here's what I did. The material on Lewis's "Catholic" leanings was in the Trilemma section, where it was off-topic. I moved it to the "conversion," section, which seems to be the only place where we talk about Lewis's beliefs, per se. An alternative would be to create a new section, something like "Lewis's Beliefs." I also mentioned the Purgatory element because Lewis himself considered it controversial enough that he took the time to explain and defend that belief. Jonathan Tweet 04:19, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
I would like to reword this brief section. In attempting to provide a neat train of thought, the wording is inadvertently introducing false implications, notably (a) that Catholic theology in an Anglican indicates Roman Catholic "leanings"; (b) that rejection of a Calvinist doctrine of justification is unusual among Anglicans. (The word Although is a weasel-word here.) I suggest it could just as well read: As an Anglican, Lewis tended towards High Church or Anglo-Catholic theological views, and his writings indicate acceptance of the Catholic doctrine of mortal sin and the concept of purgatory. I don't think there's any need to apologise for his not being "Reformed". His attempted posthumous co-option by non-Anglican Christian denominations is a separate issue from a description of his own theological position. Myopic Bookworm 11:05, 27 July 2006 (UTC)
I've tried to re-establish my alteration in a less controversial form: I still hold quite strongly that there is nothing surprising about a 20th century Anglican holding views which are at odds with Reformed (i.e. Calvinist) doctrine. Myopic Bookworm 12:26, 6 October 2006 (UTC)

Another reference to explore: The Winter 2006 number of Cowley Magazine has an article "C.S. Lewis and the Cowley Fathers" by Lyle W. Dorsett (link to pdf - see pp 11-12) which discusses Anglo-Catholic influences on Lewis's thought, particularly through his connections with a monk of the Society of St John the Evangelist. (Dr Dorsett has a book on Lewis's spirituality: Seeking the Secret Place; The Spiritual Formation of C. S. Lewis (Brazos Press, 2005). I submit this in the hopes that an editor with more experience than I might be able to make use of this. JoanR 00:20, 18 September 2006 (UTC)


I'm a bit concerned about the recent removal of information from this page by User:SilentT. For example, it's useful to note that he's the winner of a Carnegie medal, and to mention a movie made about his life. Could we either have the information restored, or have some discussion on why it should be removed? Cheers. — Matt 22:16, 6 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I rather think the same, so I've decided to be bold and put most of the text back in. I'm not sure that some of it shouldn't go, but the place to discuss it is here, rather than in submission remarks, since clearly there's a disagreement among editors. Dandrake 23:24, Aug 6, 2004 (UTC)
Hi, I'm sorry if my changes were drastic. I'm new when it comes to editing, and I wasn't aware that I should have said anything here about my changes.
No problem; it's great that you want to contribute, and Wikipedia (as you probably know) has a policy of "be bold" in making changes (Wikipedia:Be bold). For some changes, though, particularly deletions, it's often prudent just to drop a note on the Talk: page to double check, and if noone responds press ahead. — Matt 00:24, 10 Aug 2004 (UTC)
I removed the reference to the Carnegie Medal mainly because it was a one-sentence paragraph. I didn't know how to expand it, and I couldn't figure out how to work it into a different paragraph, so I just removed it and added a sentence about it to the Final Battle page.
I think it's important to mention literary awards; perhaps we can work harder to find a way to work it in. Did he win any other accolades?— Matt 00:24, 10 Aug 2004 (UTC)
The See also section seemed to be unnecessary clutter to me. It contained a link to Joy Gresham, which was unnecessary as she is mentioned earlier in the article. It also contained links to Douglas Gresham and the Dark Tower. I wasn't sure of how to work a reference to either into the main part of the article, and they just didn't seem important enough to warrant a seperate section.
In a way, the "See also" section is the ideal place for links that aren't important enough to warrant a section, or that can't otherwise be worked into the text; but I don't think it matters much either way. — Matt 00:24, 10 Aug 2004 (UTC)
The narnia template just seemed out of place to me. It's great for people who want to know about the Chronicles, but unnecessary for people who want to know about Lewis.
Sure. — Matt 00:24, 10 Aug 2004 (UTC)
I removed the Movies about Lewis section because the only movie mentioned was Shadowlands, which is mentioned earlier in the article.
Oops, I didn't notice the previous Shadowlands mention before; I agree with the change, then. — Matt 00:24, 10 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Just in case you were worried, I would like to say that I'm done making removals. :-) There are a few things I would like to add to the article. I think a picture of Lewis would be nice, though I'm not really sure how to find one that's public domain. Also, I think it'd be nice if the article had a more logical flow - right now it seems kind of rambly, but maybe it's just me. I was thinking it'd be helpful to divide his life into three or four sections and then write about what happened to him during each period, as well as what he wrote during each period. After that, there could be a section about the things he wrote that were published after his death, as well as the books and movies that have been made about him. And last there could be a bibliography of his works. What do y'all think of this idea?
SilentT 04:59, Aug 7, 2004 (UTC)
The article certainly needs to be divided into sections; your division sounds good to me! — Matt 00:24, 10 Aug 2004 (UTC)
I agree about the need for sections. My proposal would be "Life", "Fiction and Poetry", "Scholarly Writings", "Christian Non-Fiction" (including Surprised by Joy), and "Works About Lewis", not necessarily in that order. However, I'm perfectly happy to leave the decision to people who know more about Lewis that I do, which is probably all of you reading this. However, I'm about to try to straighten out the part about the novels, which may make reorganization easier for SilentT (tmesis?) or whoever. --JerryFriedman 20:14, 12 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Isn't The Screwtape Letters a novel? If so, I think mention of it should be moved. And isn't Dymer a long poem? If so, I think the article should say that both of Lewis's pre-conversion books were poetry. --JerryFriedman 20:14, 12 Aug 2004 (UTC)

The Screwtape Letters is indeed a novel, so we should probably move it out of its current paragraph (which notes that Screwtape is "in addition" to Lewis' novels). Anyone object? -- Walkiped 16:00, 16 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Although I haven't read it (it's on my "To-Read" list...), I understand that it takes the form of a series of letters from Screwtape to his nephew. I presume this form doesn't discount it from being classed as a novel? — Matt 23:43, 16 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Yeah, apparently it's technically an epistolary novel. I moved the reference to The Screwtape Letters up in the article and rewrote it to reflect that it's a novel. - Walkiped 00:30, 26 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Duplicate links

I assume that the anon. user edited out the links either because they were duplicates (linked to earlier in the article) or because they were years without more general significance for the article. There's some disagreement over the latter (some users want to link to everything linkable, others feel that too many links spoil the look and readability of the text and distract attention from the genuinely relevant and useful links), but I don't think that there's any over the former. My sympathy is with those who want to cut down on links, but we could discuss it if you'd like. Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 10:28, 13 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Minor link

22 November 1963 was also the day of the first boradcast of Dr Who.

It was also the day that Aldous Huxley died. Dabbler 17:04, 11 Mar 2005 (UTC)


Why is Letters to Malcolm, Chiefly on Prayer in the fiction section?

Letters to Malcolm, Chiefly on Prayer is a fictional work, written in the style of letters to a hypothetical correspondant.
I wish to disagree, and strenuously. It is a nonfictional work on the subject of prayer, cast fictively in the form of a series of letters to a hypothetical correspondant. That is, while the fictional correspondent is used to give the material form, the material itself is nonfictional. Sturgeonslawyer (12Apr05 4.30 PM PDST)
I don't know, this is a difficult distinction to make. After all, Lewis invents a crisis for his fictional correspondent (Lewis makes a joke about the fellow's son, then apologizes in the next letter for the bad timing of his joke, saying how sorry he was about the accident involving the son, and wishing him a speedy recovery). I don't see how we can call this "non-fictional material"--it's not that Lewis is simply saying true things about prayer to an invented name in the form of letters...he's actually pretending that there is a real person on the other end (to joke with, and apologize to, etc.), and that puts this in an unusual category. Hard to classify, but I don't think "a nonfictional work on the subject of prayer" is quite it. Jwrosenzweig 22:11, 9 May 2005 (UTC)
I understand what you're saying, but that's exactly the kind of thing that makes me think of it as a nonfiction work. The events in "Malcolm's" life are so blatantly manipulated to give Lewis the opportunity to make the points he wishes to make, that "Malcolm" utterly refuses to gel as any kind of character whatsoever; he's less a character than the slave in Plato's dialogue "Meno." In fairness, one could almost say the same thing about The Screwtape Letters, if it were not that Lewis doesn't speak in propra persona (and can't, since Screwatpe exists to take, essentially, a contrarian position: a strawman with nobody to demolish him). Still, the question is hardly open-and-shut, is it?Sturgeonslawyer 17:02 PDST 9 May 2005
I agree--not open-and-shut at all. Sorry if I wasn't clear about that. On balance, having considered it, I think it's probably best in non-fiction (perhaps with an explanatory note?). Certainly if we consider it an epistolary novel, it's terribly weak, but as a non-fiction work on the role of prayer, it makes much more sense. Honestly it feels more than anything else like a sort of confessional memoir--almost as though Lewis had named his Diary "Malcolm" (save those few invented details of Malcolm's life which I've already alluded to). Definitely a tough question. Jwrosenzweig 22:11, 10 May 2005 (UTC)

It may be helpful to know that both my local Library and the Library of congress classify this book as non-fiction

IMO "Letters to Malcolm" is clearly non-fiction. Lewes uses the literary form of letters to an imaginary correspondent in order to development theological arguments. Similarly many philosophers have written dialogues between imaginary characters in order to develop philosophical arguments. Is Hume's "Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion" a work of fiction beause the characters don't exist? Or are Plato's dialogues fiction, on the grounds that they are unlikely to be a verbatim report of what Socrates and his interlocutors actually said? With all due respect to earlier correspondents, I don't think these are hard questions at all. Hume and Plato belong in philosophy, not fiction; and "Letters to Malcolm" is theology, not fiction.

This discussion seems to have been held some time ago, and come to a reasonably balanced consensus that Letters to Malcolm is best listed among the non-fictional works. Yet it is still listed as fiction. Would anyone object if I move it? (I'd also prefer to split non-fiction into works on literature and works on religion, but I'm aware that it might not be a simple division to make.)Myopic Bookworm 16:35, 9 May 2006 (UTC)


Should a section be devoted to his poetry like the Late Passenger? 21:07, 9 May 2005 (UTC)


Added a point to the trilemma argument. I was considering adding a possibility that yes, Jesus was divine, but so are we all - don't we each have the power to forgive? However, this would be original research. The point I added was taken from Earl Doherty's book and is not.

Check trilemma. A critique would not be POV there. David Bergan 21:41, 21 July 2005 (UTC)

I removed the following text, which followed the trilemma:

(The problem with this argument, of course, is that it presupposes that the stories in the Gospels are true. It assumes that the miracles actually happened; that Jesus actually spoke the words attributed to him. It is faulty logic because if one believes the Gospels are true, then one already is a Christian, and therefore needs no argument in favor of Christianity. If one does not believe the Gospels are true, then the argument is baseless and therefore ineffective as a persuasive argument.)

Removed because it is clearly POV. The purpose of this section is to state Lewis's trilemma argument, not to provide support or opposition to it. --Staecker 5 July 2005 18:16 (UTC)

Why then not remove this sentence: If He was a liar or insane, this would presumably invalidate His moral teachings.? -- It is another unjustifyable and unneeded POV because liars and insane people can be [good] moral teachers. Why not?
The point of the section is to explain Lewis' trilemma argument as he presents it. The above sentence is a critical part of Lewis' argument. Of course it is POV because the whole trilemma argument is POV. But the section's job is to explain what the trilemma is, not to give support or opposition. The above sentence is not support, it's crucial to the argument. --Staecker 14:40, 18 July 2005 (UTC)
Actually, the Trilemma is grossly shortened here, which is what allows that POV critique in the first place. The Trilemma has two parts; the first proves that Jesus claimed to be divine, the second proves his claim was true. As for the idea that we are all divine, that just accepts one idea as being true, that Jesus was divine. It ignores everything else he said in his ministry. The entire trilemma is as follows:
      • Assuming people claimed that Jesus claimed to be God (simple fact)
      • The reports were either true, or they weren't
      • 1. If the reports were false, then the witnesses either knew it or they didn't
        • A. If they knew it then they were lying. Yet they were willing to die torturous deaths for the lie, even after watching others die torturous deaths
        • B. Then they didn't know it, then how did such legends spring up so quickly, within Jesus' own lifetime and among people who knew him personally?
      • 2. If the reports were true, then Jesus was either telling the truth or a falsehood
        • A. If Jesus was making a false claim he either knew it or he did not
          • i. If he knew his claims were false, then he was a liar. Yet he was willing to die for the lie, in a brutal painful fashion, despite being given an "out" by the Roman Prelate
          • ii. If he did not know his claims were false, then he was insane. Yet his actions and words were not those normally exhibited by insane men, and those who followed him believed him to be quite sane
        • B. All other possibilities eliminated, Jesus claimed to be God, WAS God, and therefore, there IS a God.
Makes quite a difference this way, huh? Tom S 17:27, 25 August 2005 (UTC)

Dear lord the lewis page is horrible. I'm sorry but an author of his magatude deserves something better than this thrown together mush.

Or even:"Dear Lord, the Lewis page is horrible. I'm sorry, but an author of his magnitude deserves something better than this thrown-together mush." DJ Clayworth 28 June 2005 13:05 (UTC)

This is a talk page. Chill, please. The fact that you pointed out my mispellings and lack of appropriate commas says more about you than my grasp of English.  :)--Allthewhile 23:18, 25 July 2005 (UTC)

Seriously I think 'horrible' is an exaggeration, but the article is remarkably short on biographical detail. DJ Clayworth 28 June 2005 13:12 (UTC)

Clarification on the "Trilemma"

I can say with all sincerity that some people in here have NOT read Lewis and his exposition of the Lord, Liar, or Lunatic argument. The argument is specifically aimed against a specific line of reasoning among unbelievers; "The important thing about Jesus was that he should be remembered as a great moral teacher" Lewis frames it specifically against those who accept him as merely a great moral teacher, but nothing more and also accept what he said as fact. Lewis says that if we assume what is said by Jesus of the bible are his words, then he is either Lord, Liar, or Lunatic. --Allthewhile 23:14, 25 July 2005 (UTC)

I agree. It cannot be taken as a "proof" of Jesus' divinity -- it merely demonstrates (fairly convincingly, to me) that Jesus' status as a "good man" cannot be divorced from his claims of divinity. If someone accepts (largely) the Gospel accounts but believes they show merely a nice fellow, Lewis argues that they are failing to deal with the logical consequences of their position. Jwrosenzweig 07:55, 26 July 2005 (UTC)
Agreed, this is definitely the correct view; I just reverted a change that suggested otherwise. To clarify, the trilemma says that either you accept that Jesus is the messiah or that you view Jesus as a liar or insane. That is, there is no fourth option that Jesus is a great moral leader but not divine. Rlove 02:05, 23 December 2005 (UTC)
The trilemma claims this, of course, but there are other options. For one, Jesus might not have said everything that the Bible claims that he said. Misquotations are hardly an uncommon phenomena. Secondly, even if he did say what he is alleged to say, they aren't necessarily unambiguous claims of divinity. Thirdly, even if he did claim to be God, despite Lewis' claims, there's no reason that "poached egg" or "devil of Hell" are our only remaining options. Lewis' trilemma is a false trilemma.--RLent 21:32, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
First, the trilemma makes the assumption (as the beginning of the logical process) that the account of Jesus in the Gospels is accurate. Second, the number claims in the Gospels to Jesus' divinity leave very little to interpretation. Third, Lewis made the argument that if Jesus said He was God, then you can not assume anything other than the conclusion of the trilemma. Jesus could not have been a truly moral man if he lied about his nature, nor would he have been a great teacher if he did not understand he was not Diety. Perhaps you should look what Tolkien himself wrote about the trilemma to understand it better. --Bakkster Man 03:17, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

As Bakkster Man says, the trilemma assumes that the account of Jesus in the Gospels is accurate. Therefore I've added one line: "Since this argument relies on the premise that Jesus claimed to be God, it carries little weight with those who don't believe that he made such a claim." The trilemma is valid given its premises, but it's easy to see that not everyone agrees with those premises. I also changed the introduction to the trilemma, which had stated that one could not divorce Jesus as the moral teacher from his claims to godhood. In fact, Lewis makes no attempt to prevent one from just such a divorce. Since his premise is that Jesus' claims to godhood are factual, his argument never addresses the option that they're false. A logical argument can't prove that the opposite of its premise is false. Jonathan Tweet 03:58, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

I'd say that, aside from some very questionable premises, the arguments additionally fails to be sound due to the conclusion not logically following. For example, Jesus could have been a wise man with great moral vision yet still have been nuts. The trilemma is considered to be a poor example of apologetics precisely because it has so many easy refutations. Al 04:04, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

An anonymous user added edits to the trilemma section. I edited one addition down to a clause, where it had been a long sentence (longer than the original paragraph). The other addition, about accepting Jesus as God on faith, doesn't belong here. It's a step past commentary on the trilemma, and the trilemma has been used by Christians to prove that Jesus is divine, so this isn't the place to talk about the necessity of faith. Jonathan Tweet 21:49, 2 July 2006 (UTC)

New topic on this section: "Lewis’s argument, which stems from the medieval aut deus aut malus homo." Can someone find a reference for this formula in medieval philosophy? If not, it can just be cut. Jonathan Tweet 01:07, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

And here's another one. Do these sentences have any content? "Atheists have attempted to dispute the truth of their premises as well as the validity of their structure. Nonetheless, for many people they remain significantly more logically compelling than attempted objections." This could just as easily be "For many people, these arguments are logically compelling. Still, atheists have disputed their premises as well as their structure." In other words, if all this says is "Some people buy it and others don't," then we can improve the article by cutting these two sentences. Jonathan Tweet 01:10, 11 August 2006 (UTC)


Lewis is said (in the list of categories) to have been a British linguist. I know next to nothing about him other than what I read in this article, but the article suggests that he was no more a linguist (in even the broadest sense of the word) than is anybody who studies Middle English lit. If this is so, I don't think that he was a linguist. Can somebody either confirm my suspicions that he wasn't a linguist, or beef up his linguistic credentials in the article? -- Hoary 23:35, August 2, 2005 (UTC)

Perhaps this is a conflation between him and his close friend, the philologist Tolkien? Lewis enjoyed playing around with language, as I recall, and learned Icelandic for the purpose of joining some scholarly gentleman's club, but I can't think of any reason to characterize him as a linguist. A scholar in the area of literature, definitely. But that, of course, is a separate issue. Jwrosenzweig 05:20, 4 August 2005 (UTC)
Thanks for the comment. I've removed the category (or removed CSL from it). -- Hoary 03:05, August 6, 2005 (UTC)

Could this Irish/English argument be any more pointless?

Honestly, I'd like to cut any statement that "he was Irish" or "he was English". It seems far fairer to me to say he was born and raised in Belfast, and lived most of his adult life in England, and let others decide what they will. We could even mention his frequent holidays in Ireland (though not in the introduction). Anyway, whatever we do, I'd like to hear some consensus on it so we can stop this silly slow edit war over the intro -- whether you agree or disagree with me, I hope some of you will comment so we can sort this out. :-) Any ideas? Jwrosenzweig 08:56, 11 August 2005 (UTC)

I agree, there is a complex interplay of emotional responses between the descriptions "Irish" and "British". These are exacerbated when Northern Ireland is involved. If we just state the incontrovertible facts of lewis' birth and residence then people can have their POV not Wikipedia. Dabbler 10:49, 11 August 2005 (UTC)

I absolutely disagree. Virtually every other biography begins by listing the person's nationality. Beethoven is listed as German, although there was no Germany during his lifetime. Dvorak is listed as Czech, although he was born into the Austian-Hungarian Empire. Thomas Mann is listed as German, although he became an American citizen. And on and on. Lewis was born in Ireland and called himself "an Irishman". It is inappropriate to omit his nationality. Only Jwrosenzwieg and Dabbler are creating any pointless controversy about the matter.

Then let's correct those other articles you refer to. I see nothing wrong with noting that Beethoven was born and raised in "what is now Germany". The same goes for Dvorak. If Mann became an American citizen, then this should certainly warrant mention in his article. Turning to Lewis, if he called himself an Irishman, he certainly did not do so often. He is not commonly referred to as an "Irish author" by literary critics. He left Ireland at a young age and did not return there to live. I think this is then clearly a figure whose biography needs to avoid simply categorizing him as "Irish". There's nothing inappropriate with being precise about where he was born and where he lived his adult life. Jwrosenzweig 22:14, 26 August 2005 (UTC)
You misunderstand. Omitting Beethoven's German identity and Dvorak's Czech identity would be less precise - not more precise - because identity is not merely a matter of politics or living situation. Beethoven and Mann identitified themselves as German and Dvorak identified himself as Czech. Rightly or wrongly, we need to know that identity to understand them properly. The same is true for Lewis. Would an Englishman of Lewis's time have had such a complicated and paradoxical view of Catholicism as Lewis did? Would an Englishman have drawn on Celtic mythology as subtly as Lewis did? Would an Englishman have included such odd almost misplaced allusions to Ireland in his work (e.g. the green, harp room in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the Celticized Latin of the Space Triolgy, the basing of the character of Merlin on W. B. Yeats, etc.)? Please note that I'm not claiming that Lewis was an Irish nationalist; he certainly was not. And I'm happy to include that he was from a staunchly Protestant family from the north.

I wish it wasn't an issue, but it is, so I have to weigh in by saying that Anglo-Irish is not the solution. Reading the article shd. be enough to show this. And Lewis isn't Wilde, either. But if I'm the only one who thinks this, I'm fine leaving a niggling point alone. Sirnickdon 01:10, 4 September 2005 (UTC)

Just adding my input. He was born Irish, but wrote like an English author, and became inseperatably part of English/British culture. Therefore, I agree that he should be refered to as neither except in categories, where he'll be placed in both. 02:31, 5 May 2006 (UTC)

Posthumous work?

The article makes a reference to Lewis's posthumous work. Surely someone can't write something posthumously? Is this supposed to be 'posthumously published'?--Sweet-indigo 16:08, 25 August 2005 (UTC)

Possible heretic?

This section has not helped to improve the article, and should be merged with Talk:Heresy, where it may be productive. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 22:23, 1 September 2005 (UTC)
I have start to reply in the Talk:heresy section. MythSearcher 01:14, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
To be of some help, the article might be able to first change to "Some doubt that C.S. Lewis is a Christian, and his way of thinking seems to be different and maybe even heretical to some. However, it seems like a majority still doubt that his thoughts should be doubted." MythSearcher 01:14, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

Frankly that sentence is not helpful. There is, I submit, no single person with any Christian affiliation alive or dead about which it could not be written "some doubt that he/she is a Christian". I've herd it said about Mother Theresa (and every other Catholic), and pretty much every church leader. Then of course there are the sects that claim that they are the only true Christians, so they would doubt Lewis' Christianity (and all the other two billion Christians). I really don't think it's necessary to say stuff like this. DJ Clayworth 16:56, 4 October 2005 (UTC)


Anon - Let me put my question a little more specifically... Why do you believe that Jude, Revelations, and 2 Peter are inspired, inerrant, and infallible... but not The Shepherd of Hermas or Pilgrim's Progress? Where does either God or reason tell us that we must believe the inerrancy of the 66 books of the Protestant Bible? How do you know that those 66 books are God-written and every other book is not? David Bergan 22:13, 1 September 2005 (UTC)

PS And for extra-credit, who was the first person to declare the 66 books to be inerrant, and why? David Bergan 22:13, 1 September 2005 (UTC)

PPS I'll be gone for a few days. But I look forward to reading your answers upon my return. Kind regards, David Bergan 22:13, 1 September 2005 (UTC)

Please remove this discussion to Talk:Biblical inerrancy, where it may become productive. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 22:20, 1 September 2005 (UTC)

Harry Potter

The article currently says (of Narnia) "J.K. Rowling might point them as major influence on her novels". Well she either has done or hasn't, and if she hasn't then we shouldn't mention it. DJ Clayworth 16:05, 31 August 2005 (UTC)

The problem is that Rowling has been reported as saying several different things about the Narnia books, ranging from saying that she rereads them every time she sees one to never having completed the series. Unless you can find a definitive statement, I suspect that it would be better to remove the reference altogether. Dabbler 16:55, 31 August 2005 (UTC) reports the following exchange-- "Q. Did you read the Narnia books when you were a child? A. Yes I did and I liked them, though all the Christian symbolism utterly escaped me. It was only when I re-read them later in life that it struck me forcibly." As it appears to be a transcript of an interview, I'd say it is reasonably reliable. If there are conflicting statements...well, I don't know. We can't clutter up this page with quotes. If someone can produce a direct quotation that says the opposite of this, I think we have to say that "J.K. Rowling has occasionally indicated appreciation for the books, though at other times she has claimed to have read only a few of the books in the series" or something along those lines. If the only indications are people's paraphrases of Rowling, then I think we can leave a more positive claim in. Certainly I could, if I wanted to, misparaphrase the above quotation as "When asked about Narnia, Rowling describes the Christian symbolism in the books as almost physically violent" -- I'm not inclined to trust paraphrases. --User:Jwrosenzweig stopping by anonymously
How about this quote from a Time magazine interview:

'Rowling has never finished The Lord of the Rings. She hasn't even read all of C.S. Lewis' Narnia novels, which her books get compared to a lot. There's something about Lewis' sentimentality about children that gets on her nerves.',10987,1083935,00.html. Dabbler 15:39, 1 September 2005 (UTC)

While the above is not a direct quote, here is another which is almost directly contradictory. 'She loved C. S. Lewis and E. Nesbit, but was not such a fan of Roald Dahl. As for the Enid Blyton books, Rowling says she read them all, but was never tempted to go back to them, whereas she would read and re-read Lewis. "Even now, if I was in a room with one of the Narnia books I would pick it up like a shot and re-read it." '

I think mention of Rowling in this Lewis article is simply unnecessary (and clearly unwise, considering the contradictory references given above). If the article wanted to reference every author who has ever mentioned Lewis as an inspiration, well, it would go on for pages. Admit it: you only want to mention Rowling because she's currently popular and you like her Harry Potter books. More appropriate to the article might be authors who wrote works with the same level of overt Christian apologetics as Lewis' Narnia, and were inspired by him to express their faith likewise. (No one would accuse the Harry Potter series of containing overt Christian apologetics, and Rowling herself would probably slap you, so it really seems quite out of place here.)

Irish? My passport says British... And I really do not care.

The readers can decide on their own by reading the article, and I do not see ANY information loss in not stating if he was Irish or British in the first introduction paragraph. Rather, it is enough to state that he was an author and scholar.
I move to stop this re-editing and stick to not having a nationality in front of that statement.
MythSearcher 13:44, 13 November 2005 (UTC)

I absolutely disagree. Virtually every other biography begins by listing the person's nationality. Lewis was born in Ireland (which he called "home") and consistently identified himself as "an Irishman". It is inappropriate to omit his nationality. In fact, even a passing acquaintance with his own letters reveals that a theme of his life was what it meant to be an Irishman resident in England. Here are two quick examples.

1. In describing his time at Oxford he wrote, “I am often surprised to find how utterly ignored Yeats is among the men I have met: perhaps his appeal is purely Irish - if so, then thank the gods that I am Irish.” (Collected Letters, Vol. 1, pg. 342)

2. Describing an encounter with a fellow Irishman he wrote, “Like all Irish people who meet in England we ended by criticisms of the inevitable flippancy and dullness of the Anglo-Saxon race. After all, ami, there is no doubt that the Irish are the only people, . . . I would not gladly live or die among another folk.” (Collected Letters, Vol. 1, pg. 310)

The fact that he did live and die among another folk (due to his Oxford career) helps explain why Lewis so regularly visited Ireland and sought out the company of the many Irish then resident in England. Lewis refered to this as "my Irish life".

If anything, a section on this theme of Lewis’s life – an Irishman in England – should be added. There is ample source material for it. (As soon as I have the time I will do just that.) - joey1899

Of course if we are insisting on putting down his nationality, then his nationality is unquestionably British not Irish. Dabbler 20:53, 15 November 2005 (UTC)
You've obviously not bothered to read what anyone else has written (especially immediately above).
Well, Anonymous, I would point out that you have not read anything above either or you would have noticed that I have several times expressed my opinion that the whole claim of Irishness or Britishness is rather silly and to myy mind demonstrates a small minded chauvinism. Dabbler 21:19, 15 November 2005 (UTC)
Your opinion is unsubstantiated and beside the point. Being an Irishman in England was clearly an issue for Lewis, as his own letters attest, and must be included. (See above.)
We're not going to get a definitive answer on this. If you were to have looked at Lewis' passport at any time in his life it would have said "British citizen". However the same would have been true for a lot of the people we label as Irish, or Scottish, or Welsh. The trouble is that someone reading 'Irish' might (incorrectly) assume that at some point he was a citizen of the Irish republic. Of course we could go the same route we seem to be going with all Americans, which is to say "British author of Irish descent". Better still, I've just noticed that for Oscar Wilde (an analagous case) we say "Anglo-Irish". DJ Clayworth 21:37, 15 November 2005 (UTC)
First, Lewis's view must be the primary consideration, since being Irish in England was an issue for him and needs to be covered by the article. (See above!!) Second, he was a citizen of the Republic, because by Irish law anyone born on the island of Ireland is a citizen. Third, we are talking about nationality, which is a matter of identity, not citizenship, and Lewis identified himself as "Irish". Since the Republic was only established in 1949, by your logic there were no Irish people until then. Fourth, while he also would have been a U.K. citizen, "British" is only a short-hand expression. The U.K. is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (or when Lewis was born the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland). Even the name of the country distinguishes British from Irish. The British are from Great Britain (Scottish, English, Welsh); the Irish from Ireland (the Republic and Northern Ireland). - joey1899
This is funny enough, that I was born in Hong Kong and my United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland passport(British passport) said "British citizen" in the "Nationality field" so I assumed all GBR passports says the same. But well, of course Hong Kong is the only place where some people actually have the right to obtain a British passport, where other places in the world the passports are issued at the discretion of the Home Secretary under the Royal Prerogative. So that it might be different from other "higher class" U.K. passports. I really don't care about if he is Irish or British, as long as everyone can read and judge by themselves. Also, might as well just state that he is "U.K." author and scholar. And another funny point. His own view does not really matter, too. As one's view does not alter facts, an american claiming himself to be German or Australian just would not make him one, would it? MythSearcher 03:08, 16 November 2005 (UTC)

Whether you care if he was Irish or not is irrelevent (and demonstrably untrue given the time you put into dismissing it), Lewis identified himself as Irish and that does matter, for two reasons.

1. Being an Irishman in England was an issue for Lewis and must be included in the article in order to provide a complete picture of the man.

2. By your logic, there were no Irish people until 1949, when the Republic was founded. So, all the people who died in the Irish Famine (1845-48) or were forced to emigrate were not Irish at all.

Citizenship is not the issue, identity is. All Irish people born in 1898 were UK citizens whether they liked it or not. Would we say "Winston Churchill was a UK politician who sometimes claimed to be English" or "Dvorak was an Austrian composer who sometimes claimed to be Czech"? (BTW - Lewis was also an Irish citizen from 1922 onward.) - joey1899

Your analogy with Chruchill is faulty. Churchill, IIRC, referred to himself as British at least as often as English. Nor is there any possibility of confusion - all English, Scots and Welsh are British (assuming we're talking about the last few hundred years) and calling someone English implies that they are are a UK citizen. It's perfectly sensible to call youself both English and British depending on context, or simply on how you feel that day. Irish is not the same. Irish is not a subset of British. We need to distinguish those who are citizens of the ROI from those who are not. Otherwise what we say can be misinterpreted, which is bad in an encyclopedia. If Lewis really was a ROI citizen that changes things, but I'd like to see a source for it. I want to renew my suggestion that Anglo-Irish sums the situation up perfectly. We use it for Oscar Wilde and the article describes the situation with accuracy. DJ Clayworth 15:37, 16 November 2005 (UTC)

Are you saying that there were no Irish people until the ROI was formed in 1949!!??? Ireland was legally a subset of the UK in 1898 - whether the Irish liked it or not, and most did not. That's why the country was called the United Kingdom of Great Britian AND IRELAND.

Citizenship is not the issue, identity is. Like all Irish people at the time, Lewis was both a citizen of the UK and the Irish Republic, but he identified himself as Irish.

The fact that Lewis identified himself as Irish has been sourced and resourced and re-resourced above. As for his Irish citizenship - see Article 2 of the Irish constitution which reads,

"It is the entitlement and birthright of every person born in the island of Ireland, which includes its islands and seas, to be part of the Irish Nation. That is also the entitlement of all persons otherwise qualified in accordance with law to be citizens of Ireland. Furthermore, the Irish nation cherishes its special affinity with people of Irish ancestry living abroad who share its cultural identity and heritage." - joey1898

First of all, I really don't care about if he was Irish or British, all I care is if the article will be edited and re-edited all the time. Like I said, one's view NEVER changes the fact of what nationality the person is, there is no way I will be American just because I claimed myself to be one. So the logic of "Lewis identified himself as Irish therefore he is Irish" is completely not applicable in this reasoning process. The source of Article 2 is a much more reliable reasoning. However, there is also the countering statement of the UK policy stating the nationality of the people in the country is "British" in the passports. If we look at it this way, both British and Irish have claimed their subjects by law and someone can obviously be both British and Irish. Therefore, I think that it is most NPOV to state that he is "Anglo-Irish" or "English" or "United Kingdom". "English" seems to me the best word of all since it can also refer to his writing as an author uses the language "English". And I hope this editing war settles by both of the British and Irish parties stop insisting on one of the two and a more NPOV term was used in place. Like I said, let the readers decide. MythSearcher 16:54, 16 November 2005 (UTC)

“English” is the worst possible choice. Being an Irishman in England was an issue for Lewis and he had a chauvinistic attitude toward the English, as his own letters attest. (see references above!)

Feigning indifference is not the same as a NPOV, when the facts line up on one side. Those who say “Lewis is not Irish” base their contention entirely on his being a UK citizen, while ignoring the fact that all Irish people were UK citizens in 1898 when he was born. Those who say “Lewis is Irish” have Lewis’s own words that he was Irish to back them up, can demonstrate that being Irish in England was an issue for Lewis, can prove Lewis was born in Ireland and show that he was also an Irish citizen. - joey1899

Like I said above, and obviously you never read that point because you never comment on it. I was born in Hong Kong and does it make me an American or German or Austrian or Spanish or Turkish only if I claimed to be one? In fact, because when I was born, Hong Kong is under British control, it made me a British. However, somehow the chinese government claim me to be their subjects and say that I am Chinese. Similar situation, am I British or am I Chinese? I do not want to be both but if I can choose, I'd rather be British. However, my view does not alter the fact that I am both and I cannot change it. And from my view point, it seems like you are the only one claiming him to be Irish without looking at actual political references but by pure POV from what Lewis wanted to be(which really is not a good reference source of what one's nationality is). I have not the slightest idea of what Lewis is before I read this article and the discussion, and justifies as a reader, if you cannot convince me, then it is clear that it is even harder to convince others who can pull up political references and such. The NPOV template was used because it is clear that the debate had became something that is not even just an issue of Lewis, but "Are Northern Irelanders Irish or British". Remember, Lewis' POV might not be neutral either, this should always be taken into account. MythSearcher 03:16, 17 November 2005 (UTC)

And obvious enough, one does not try to reply to the question I asked before editing the passage. I hope this will be a more civlized discussion other than stating what Lewis "wants to be" but what he "is". Otherwise, it seems indifferent to me that, the British tried to label all goods as British and the Irish are doing the same. From all the facts from the political and constitutional reasoning, what I see is that Lewis is indeed both British and Irish, yet he did joined the British army (not against his own will), and the only counter argument is that he claims himself to be Irish. Why couldn't he be both? There must be a word more appropiate to show that he is both British and Irish. MythSearcher 15:46, 17 November 2005 (UTC)

During Lewis’s life, even the U.K. government recognized that U.K. citizenship in no way diminished one’s Irish identity and distinguished its Irish citizens from the rest. For example, the Irish were excluded from the draft during WWI. Even though Lewis was resident in England at the time, he was not drafted because he was Irish (Collected Letters Vol. I pg. 205). He later volunteered, as tens of thousands of Irishmen did, who often served in separate units such as the Irish Rifle Battalion (Collected Letters Vol. I pg. 519). And, of course, even the name of the U.K. at the time makes the distinction (the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland).
So here’s the situation,
1. The U.K. government identified Lewis as Irish.
2. The Irish government identified Lewis as Irish.
3. Lewis identified himself as Irish.
All these are documented facts. But you contend that Lewis is not Irish and insist on having the final word and claim that your opinion (unsubstantiated by any facts) is the NPOV. - joey 1899

My point is that Irish could be taken two ways - to mean a citizen of the ROI or to mean 'of Irish descent'. We should find a wording (if possible) that makes it clear which one we mean. Yes, obviously 'English' is just plain wrong. However it is possible to be both British and Irish - the one by citizenship and the one by ethnicity or descent. It is even possible to be proud of being both, just like you can be proud of being both English and British. There is, fortunately, one way of stating this that sums the situation up exactly and reduces hugely the possibility of misinterpretation. It is Anglo-Irish. DJ Clayworth 15:59, 17 November 2005 (UTC)

Incidentally, is there any backup to the statement that Lewis was a citizen of the ROI? DJ Clayworth 16:01, 17 November 2005 (UTC)

DJ - The proof that he was also an Irish citizen is Article 2 of the Irish constitution itself, quoted above. In 1997, the British and Irish governments reached an agreement that the Irish would soften their claims to sovereignty in Northern Ireland, but keep in place their extention of citizenship to everyone born on "the island of Ireland". (I think there is also an issue with pregnant illegal EU immigrants going to the ROI and Northern Ireland to have their children be born Irish - i.e. EU - citizens.)
I think that there should be a section added called "Later Life", that discusses how strongly Lewis supported the British war effort in WWII, as he did in WWI, as well as the anger he expressed that the Irish Free State and (at first) America did not join in. I have just added the section "My Irish Life", and haven't yet gotten to "Later Life", but I intend to - or perhaps you could.
I also think the fact that Lewis was an Irish Protestant needs to be brought out in the article. Many of his friends were English Catholics who expected him to convert, which he never did. Lewis's paradoxical views of Catholicism are, I think, rooted in his Ulster background. When I have the time I will also add a bit about that - or perhaps you could do that as well.
The first sentence of the article does also say that he was from a staunch Protestant Belfast family and was mostly resident in England.
The problem with "Anglo-Irish" is that it expresses a particular literary tradition of which Lewis was not really a part. And, Lewis described himself as "Irish", not "Anglo-Irish". - joey1899
Mythsearcher - Citizenship status is not the final arbiter; the individual’s own self-identification is.
After all, Beethoven is listed as German, although there was no Germany during his lifetime. Dvorak is listed as Czech, although he was born into the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. Thomas Mann is listed as German, although he became an American citizen. Leonardo Da Vinci is listed as Italian, although there was no country of Italy during his lifetime. Jonathan Edwards is American although he was born and died a British subject.
Why don’t you go ‘fix’ those articles? And when you’re finished, I’ll give you a few thousand more and then you can start on World Book Encyclopedia, Britannica, etc., etc.
The standard convention is that when an article describes someone’s nationality, it is not principally talking about citizenship. - joey1899
register an account, or remember to sign.
and yes, you are starting to convince me now once you state more facts. There are facts like "The U.K. government identified Lewis as Irish." and about the "excluded from the draft during WWI." are things that readers do not know before the recent edit. However, I still suggest the point that he identified himself as Irish should not be mentioned in an argument of if he is Irish or not.
However, I still say that he is both because it is just a geological term to discribe someone from the British Isles and born in U.K.
From British#Modern_use_of_the_term_'British', I can somehow understand that some Irish people feel offended when called British, because there are a lot of people in Hong Kong will be offended if called British or vice versa, be offended if called Chinese. But since wikipedia is NPOV, the term British and Irish should not carry any insults other than the facts of political, constitutional, geological and biological reasoning. MythSearcher 16:42, 17 November 2005 (UTC)
Citizenship When a country extends citizenship to a whole group of people who were not previously citizens it is normal that they have to make some sort of application for citizenship. Or are you telling me that Ian Paisley is a citizen of the ROI? I think he would be very upset about that.
Anglo-Irish. If you read the article the term does not imply membership of some sort of literary tradition. It's a term used to mean a particular kind of Irish person, i.e. of English descent and generally Protestant. Which seems to sum up Lewis' case exactly.
DJ Clayworth 18:29, 18 November 2005 (UTC)

He was Irish at heart. That means something to me. 20:18, 22 March 2006 (UTC)Brian Pearson

New title for easier discussion

Okay, if the term Irish have to be used before a term better came up, at least it should be linked to the right page. I have edited that and hope this edit war will be ended by now. (unless some vandalizer came up like earlier. BTW, could the term be something like "Irish/British"? MythSearcher 17:18, 17 November 2005 (UTC)
Actually there is exactly such a term and it's Anglo-Irish. We use it in similar cases such as Oscar Wilde. DJ Clayworth 18:30, 18 November 2005 (UTC)
Actually, the folks in Northern Ireland became Irish citizens at exactly the same time and in exactly the same way that the folks in the Republic did. The Free State (1922-1937) and Eire (1937-1949) and the ROI claimed sovereignty over the entire "island of Ireland". Ian Paisley, I'm sure, would be very upset about it, but anyone from Northern Ireland has dual citizenship and can obtain an Irish passport in exactly the same way as someone born in the Republic of Ireland - even Irish-Americans (and Irish-Canadians and Irish-Australians, etc.) often have dual citizenship without even knowing it.
Wilde was largely of Dutch descent and Lewis of Irish, Welsh and French descent. (This is not the 1920s where bloodlines and eugenics were all the rage.) Anglo-Irish is principally a literary tradition and the Anglo-Irish article should be amended to reflect that. As a group, the Anglo-Irish are associated with the Dublin area (the "Pale"); Scotch-Irish is sometimes used to describe the Ulster Protestants, not Anglo-Irish. But both are politically charged terms; Lewis was consciously apolitical in regard to Irish - his Irishness was cultural. Besides, Lewis was aware of the terms "Anglo-Irish" and "Scotch-Irish" but chose simply "Irish". Joey1898 20:54, 18 November 2005 (UTC)

Allegory in Chronicles of Narnia

Lewis himself may have used the term allegory very narrowly and not considered the Chronicles to be allegory, but just how are they not allegory in the normal sense of the term? --Blainster 18:52, 17 November 2005 (UTC)

I think Lewis had a hypertechnical idea of allegory, in which each character was a one to one symbol for something else. I believe that he used the example of The Pilgrim's Progress, where one character is sloth and another greed, etc.
In Narnia, many, but not all, of the characters are representative of some actual person (or being), Aslan is Jesus, the Emperor Beyond the Sea is God the Father, the White Witch is the devil, Father Christmas is John the Baptist, etc.
I believe that according to our common usage today, the Narnia books are allegories. But I'm a little unsure of the matter myself. Joey1898 15:25, 18 November 2005 (UTC)
As a professor of literature I think we can take Lewis' word for it about whether the books are allegories. However I would agree that common usage would probably class them as at least semi-allegorical. DJ Clayworth 15:46, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
Does anyone have any citations of the "strong Christian messages" in Narnia? (unsigned)
Er, there's this lion. Called Aslan. He is the son of the 'Emperor Beyond the Sea'. He created Narnia, then laid down his life for the sins of one of the children, then rose to life three days later. Did you need more cites than that? DJ Clayworth 15:44, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
DJ, not to quibble with your main point (I think LWW is a fair match with the definition of allegory), but Aslan was not raised three days later...Susan and Lucy wait but a few hours until dawn for his resurrection. And I think we might profitably discuss whether a book can contain allegorical characters without being "allegory". After all, I think any attempt to give allegorical meaning to more characters than Aslan, the White Witch, and perhaps Edmund will be difficult. Are two or three allegorical characters enough to make that book allegory? And can we distinguish between LWW being allegory, and the entire Chronicles being allegory? Jwrosenzweig 06:49, 19 December 2005 (UTC)
Totally agree, but the poster asked about the 'strong Christian messages'. Actually I now suspect the user was either genuinely ignorant about Christianity or a troll; in either case I now regret the sarcasm. DJ Clayworth 14:52, 19 December 2005 (UTC)
Aslan is Jesus, edumand is Jedas, Emperor Beyond the Sea is a largley ignored God the Father, the White Witch is *not* the devil, but is a fill in villian with the powers of temptation. After that it gets confusing. Lucy is his neice and a representative of innosense, Mr. Tummus is a silly faun, theres griffons and wolves and the list grows. According to common interpretation, Lewis used Narnia to talk about "Christian Ideas and Themes" and similar principles. Some of them are uniquely his own understanding of Christianity, not merely fanciful regurgitations of the Bible. Themes of good and evil are a stabple of fantasy fiction, so I think its incorrect to call the entirety of any of the books (with the possible exception of 'The Last Battle') allegorical, merely because they contain allegory. Not sure if that makes sense.--Tznkai 14:07, 19 December 2005 (UTC)
For one, SparkNotes states that Aslan is a allegorical representation of Jesus Also there is a recently published letter where C.S. Lewis states that "The whole Narnian story is about Christ",,2087-1903338,00.html. Also The Magician's Nephew closely parallels Biblical creation (7 hours, garden with the forbidden fruit, sons of Adam, daughters of Eve) and The Last Battle parallels Revelation (rapture, etc). --Bakkster Man 19:34, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
I think this is some of the point. Edmund is NOT Judas, for example, because Judas kills himself and Edmund is redeemed by Aslan's death. DJ Clayworth 14:57, 19 December 2005 (UTC)
Good point--Tznkai 15:40, 19 December 2005 (UTC)
Edmund is all of us, in a way. According to Christian theology, we have all betrayed our proper allegiance, and Christ died for all who accept him. Mdotley 18:15, 31 August 2006 (UTC)

I think for this article we don't need to decide whether Narnia is allegory or not. What we have right now seems to sum them up well without using the word. On the more detailed articles maybe we could go into the discussion in more depth. DJ Clayworth 14:54, 19 December 2005 (UTC)

We struggled with the same problem on The Chronicles of Narnia article. It might be worthwhile to look at the Christian parallels section of that article. Based on the information there, the paragraph in question could be rewritten like this:
His most famous work, The Chronicles of Narnia, contains many strong Christian parallels. Lewis, an expert on allegory, did not consider them allegorical. He used the phrase "suppositional" to describe them and said they were an answer to the question, "What might Christ become like, if there really were a world like Narnia and He chose to be incarnate and die and rise again in that world as He actually has done in ours?" For additional information see The Chronicles of Narnia.
This isn't very different from what is there now, but quotes Lewis' views on the topic. Lsommerer 16:45, 19 December 2005 (UTC)

Till We Have Faces

Should TWHF really be listed as a "non-Christian" book? It's not overtly Christian, but the Theophany at the end is pretty clearly the Christian God. Joey1898 14:43, 18 November 2005 (UTC)

T. S. Eliot

Did Lewis actually know T. S. Eliot in 1931? I thought that they met much later. Maybe it should say something like "Encouraged by reading T. S. Eliot and G. K. Chesterton, and speaking to J.R.R. Tolkien, Lewis returned to Christianity . . ." Joey1898 15:33, 21 November 2005 (UTC)

I'm pretty sure that Lewis knew neither Chesterton nor Eliot personally at the time of his conversion. There is no mention of them in Surprised by Joy. DJ Clayworth 17:44, 5 December 2005 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure they had lunch together/met for the first time later. They had corresponded first over CSL's writings that went into The Personal Heresy, and CSL had disliked TSE since he came on the poetry scene in the teens. CSL's earliest correspondence to TSE was actually some "fake" modernist poetry by made-up authors CSL sent to TSE at the Dial. It would seem Eliot's writings had little to do with CSL's conversion, since Eliot's representation as Mr. Angular in A Pilgrim's Regress is rather negative, as is CSL's much later construal in A Preface to Paradise Lost of Eliot's expression of Christianity. Dan Knauss

Listen to article

I appreciate the audio-article, but shouldn't it be at the end like in other articles? I didn't want to change it until I got some feedback. Joey1898

Clarification on the "Trilemma", part 2

  • Why the Lewis' and McDowell's versions of the argument are both dismissed in the same manner when, in fact, both claim different things? Does the assertion that Lewis argument have "fatal flaws in terms of both logical validity and underlying assumptions" still valid when we notice that Lewis (unlike McDowell) does not propose the argument as a proof of the deity of Christ? --Leinad-Z 00:03, 23 December 2005 (UTC)
I would guess for the sake of simplicity--Tznkai 16:14, 23 December 2005 (UTC)
Fixed it up abit. Does this address your concerns?--Tznkai 16:30, 23 December 2005 (UTC)
Thanks for your help; I just fixed up the section a little more :-) --Leinad-Z 01:33, 24 December 2005 (UTC)


Narnia Narnia everywhere, and not a drop too...

Er, seriously folks, Narnia is refrenced 12 times in this article, and discussed in varying depths atleast thrice. Can we whitlle it down a tiny bit?--Tznkai 16:42, 23 December 2005 (UTC)

Detail Change

Under "Conversion to Christianity", in the phrase that read "the most dejected and reluctant convert of all time", corrected "of all time" to "in all England". Ref. Surprised By Joy

--Anon. Reader, Dec. 25, 2005

I believe I may have added that quote from memory, in which case thank you for the correction. DJ Clayworth 21:39, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

I am confused.

OK was Lewis Protestant or Atheist before he became Christian?

Protestants are Christians by most people's definitions. Lewis was raised in a Protestant family in Ulster, but his personal beliefs were very much atheist from his teenage years until his conversion experience at Oxford. Jwrosenzweig 03:01, 28 December 2005 (UTC)
That's accurate in general, but I do want to point out that Lewis' self-reported atheism was of a strange sort, in that he claimed to be unhappy with God, which seems inconsistent with failing to believe in God's existence. Alienus 03:16, 28 December 2005 (UTC)
Not especially. Lots of aithiests ground their beliefs in the cruelty of god (not believing in him as in not having faith) and some aithiests don't think he exists. Its an intresting topic, but mostly to theologians and religious philsophers--Tznkai 04:34, 28 December 2005 (UTC)
That turns out not to be the case. Atheism means not believing God exists. It does not mean believing in God but disliking him. Can't be angry at what doesn't exist. Alienus 07:13, 28 December 2005 (UTC)
I think you're missing the fact that Lewis was making a bit of a joke - the inconsistency is blatant and deliberate. Lewis was quite serious about his atheism while he was an atheist. After his conversion to Christianity, he mocked his former atheism...
There is a tradition in Christian thought that sees atheism as a voluntary misperception. In other words, atheism is fundamentally insincere. The noted tendency of atheists to quickly grow angry at talk of God is often cited as evidence of this. For example, Dorothy Sayers once said that an atheist discussing God sounds just like a woman talking about her ex-husband. Lewis was making a joke in this vein. While he was an atheist, I'm sure he would have defended the sincerity of his atheism as well, if not better, than most other atheists. Only afterwards did he laugh it off. Joey1898 22:44, 3 January 2006 (UTC)
That's not an unreasonable interpretation, but there's also a tradition of people deciding that, though God exists, he allows too much evil in the world and is therefore not worthy of worship. Practioners of this tradition range from angsty teens to the recently widowed, but the commonality is that, while they claim to be atheists or agnostics, they're trying really hard to regain the comfort of their former wholehearted theism. These people typically find a new branch of their old religion and begin to worship God, announcing that they are now theists once again. This is not atheism. Alienus 01:17, 4 January 2006 (UTC)
True but I don't think that Lewis's atheism fit into the category that you describe. In the Problem of Pain, Lewis divides atheists into two camps, those who "express, like Hardy and Housman, their rage against God although (or because) he does not exist" and those "who are driven by suffering to raise the whole problem of existence". Lewis's atheism seems to have fit into the first group, while the form of atheism (or near atheism) that you describe fits pretty clearly into the second group. Joey1898 19:10, 4 January 2006 (UTC)
I suspect that the two types of atheism he categorizes do not exhaust the full spectrum of commonly-held views. I could say more, but I think I'll leave it at that and move on. Alienus 11:47, 7 January 2006 (UTC)

I wasn't confused before, but I am now. Danny Lilithborne 08:27, 7 January 2006 (UTC)


The 'spoken word' file attached to the article starts with a ADVERTISMENT! To my mind this is SPAM. - Beowulf314159 04:42, 8 January 2006 (UTC)

C.S. Lewis, religiously?

There is a debate over here about whether or not C.S. Lewis should be put on a "List of Born Again Christians". Personally I'm strongly against the idea, and think it's (pardon the POV) simply evangelicals getting overzealous in claiming that any noted modern Christian must have been an evangelical themselves. They seem to claim "If you read between the lines of Lewis's work, you can tell that he would have been a Born Again if he knew about what we taught" which seems ridiculous to me...but again, I'm aware of my own POV. I welcome anything any of you can please contribute Sherurcij (talk) (Terrorist Wikiproject) 06:52, 8 January 2006 (UTC)

He came close to joining the Catholic church but wound up in the Church of England. Neither of these is very similar to the Fundamentalist Protestantism of the born-again movement. He was in many ways conservative and orthodox, but I don't see how that adds up to fundie. No matter how you slice it, he was never a born-again, so he doesn't belong on the list. Alienus 09:32, 8 January 2006 (UTC)

If you read Born again you will find that pretty much every denomination would agree that to be a Christian you must be 'born again'. Even the Catholic church agrees with this. To say that someone is a born-again Christian is simply to say that they are a Christian. Lewis would undoubtedly have both known and agreed with this. DJ Clayworth 17:57, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

It also says "In recent history, born again is a term that has been associated with evangelical renewal since the late 1960's, first in the United States and then later around the world." For this reason, calling him a born-again would be misleading. Alienus 18:06, 9 January 2006 (UTC)
Ahem. I'd call that a reeaalllly provincial attitude. The term originated in New Testament times. It was extensively used by Wesley and some other church leaders throughout history. It would be wise to bone up on the subject before getting picky. Besides, your inaccurate and pejorative use of fundamentalist and fundie reveals your bias, Alienus. Pollinator 03:24, 10 January 2006 (UTC)
Regardless of what you think of Fundementalism, pro or against, I think it's undeniable that
  1. "Born Again" is a term that, at least in parts of North Amercica, is affiliated with the Evangelical Fundementalist movement. I'm aware that it is a term that comes out of the New Testement; I'm giving you the vernacular use in NA. I don't know how it's used in other parts of the world.
  2. Lewis was not Evangelical Fundementalist. He belonged to the Church of England.
  3. Applying the term "Born Again" as applied to Lewis is likely to cause some people to beleive — at least in NA — that he has strong Fundementalist leanings or beleifs, when he did not. It doesn't matter if he "would have if he had known" or "should have" or "we would really like people to think he did". He did not. Putting this term in an article about Lewis is likely to give some North American reader an incorrect impression about his beliefs.
  4. If you really are not interested in giving people a false impression, and are applying this title because "it's a term that applies generally to Christians anyways", then it doesn't hurt your postition to just use the term Christian, which doesn't suffer from the potential misunderstanding, and be done with it. - Beowulf314159 04:15, 10 January 2006 (UTC)
I'm with Beowulf314159. Your insults aside, "born-again" does have a specific meaning and it does not apply to Lewis. I don't see how we could list him as born-again without seriously misleading people. Alienus 04:44, 10 January 2006 (UTC)
No isults are intended. And I really don't care whether Lewis made the official list or not. (You will notice that I'm not edit warring about it.) But I am biased in favor of accuracy, and there's a lot of floundering around because some folks are well beyond their area of expertise. A good example is the term "Evangelical Fundamentalist." These are different movements, with some things in common and yet some profound differences, making it oxymoronic to put them together. Pollinator 05:01, 10 January 2006 (UTC)

Besides, according to that arguement, if "Born again" is supposed to equate with being Christian, it is therefore sufficient to just mention that Lewis was Christian, and be done with it. Simple, and less confusing. - Beowulf314159 18:13, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

I would be fine with that, and personally think that the 'born again' lists are unnecessary, but I have better things to do than fight that battle. DJ Clayworth 21:36, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

Instead of labeling Lewis a Born Again Christian, or an Evangelical, or a Fundamentalist, etc., perhaps we can include a few sentences about his influence on those groups. The Eastern Orthodox theologian Patrick Henry Reardon once said, "Evangelicals, Roman Catholics, and Orthodox Christians can agree on four things, the inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, the Creeds of the ancient Church, the first four Church Councils, and the writings of C.S. Lewis." Of course, he was speaking somewhat in jest but I think he captured a real truth; Lewis is common to many different Christian groups. --Joey1898 20:20, 12 January 2006 (UTC)

I can't give you a citation at the moment, but I remember him calling himself "evangelical" once. It simply means one who wants to enlarge the fold. Most or all Christians are evangelical. And born-again. 05:32, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

Proposal to divide Lewis fiction to two categories

I propose dividing Lewis's fiction into two seperate categories: fiction and pseudo-fiction. “The Screwtape Letters,” “The Great Divorce” and “Letters to Malcolm, Chiefly on Prayer” are not really fiction (in the sense that they have no story), even though "The Great Divorce" is technically in the format of a novella. "Pilgrim's Regress" toes the line in my opinion; it's technically fiction, but it's so highly allegorical that it reads like an outline. I would leave it in fiction proper, but just barely. I haven't read "Boxen"; is it Lewis's actual juvenalia or just a summary/analysis of it? If the latter, then it shouldn't be in either category. I'd like to see a vote on all this. Snowboardpunk

I'm not a big fan of the proposal--Boxen is actual fictional juvenilia (unless Kathryn Lindskoog is right, and half of it's forged), the Great Divorce is clearly a novella (sure, it's message-driven, but so is A Christmas Carol), Screwtape is an epistolary novel (though the author of the letters cannot, by definition, exhibit any personal growth), etc. I've argued over Letters to Malcolm before, but am content with its current placement. Dividing the works based on whether they're "really fiction" is too troublesome, IMO -- one might see LWW as strict allegory and "not fiction" while another sees it as a fantasy tale. The same goes for most of his work. I agree that there's a lot more story to Perelandra than there is in the Great Divorce, but I can't see any good way of distinguishing between them so that one is fiction and one is not fiction in a meaningful way. Jwrosenzweig 04:12, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
'Psuedofiction' is a terrible term here, as it seems to be saying that the works are 'not quite fictional'. The Great Divorce has a perfectly good story, and Screwtape is no less fiction because it is formatted as letters than is Bridget Jones Diary because it is cast as diary entries. DJ Clayworth 17:55, 19 January 2006 (UTC)

Norse or English inspiration

I am troubled by this paragraph:

"As a teenager, he was wonderstruck by the Richard Wagner and the songs and legends of the North. They intensified a longing he had within him, a deep desire he would later call "joy." He also grew to love nature—the beautiful scenes in nature reminded him of the stories of the North, and the stories of the North reminded him of the beauties of nature. In his teenage years, his writing moved away from the tales of Boxen, and he began to use different art forms (epic poetry and opera) to try and capture his newfound interest in Norse mythology and in the natural world."

From what I have read he was influenced by English "Faerie" primarily which gets no mention. How important was Norse actually? I will wait until I get finished reading The Narnian The Life and Imagination of C.S. Lewis by Alan Jacobs before attempting a rewrite but are there any sources on Wagner, etc.? Rmhermen 15:20, 19 January 2006 (UTC)

I haven't re-read many of the sources on his early life recently, but my recollection of the picture from his letters and Surprised by Joy is that the Norse influence was much stronger than much of English legend. Outside of MacDonald's influence and William Morris, I can't think of anything "Faerie" that was hugely important to Lewis. Whereas with the Norse, he goes on for some time in SBJ about how piercingly beautiful he found the lines "Balder the beautiful is dead, is dead". He attempted, along with his childhood friend Arthur Greeves, to write and compose an opera about the god Loki. And I recall numerous other mentions of his love of Norse myth (I believe the music of Wagner was a big part of this, but have no references at present). If you need some references, I'll do what I can to track them down, but I feel very confident that the current paragraph is not inaccurate. Perhaps more mention should be made of MacDonald and Morris, but not at the expense of Norse legend, which as I recall was the most profound influence of his teenage years. Jwrosenzweig 07:36, 20 January 2006 (UTC)

I removed the reference to Wagner in this paragraph, I cannot find any source that seems to attribute any inspiration to Wagner. "Suprise by Joy" does clearly identify a longing for 'northernness' but not Wagner. I think that claim needs to be better documented before it can be added in this context. Natehal 19:13, 11 September 2006 (UTC)

Bookthoughts Linkspam

This appears to be one of a number of articles receiving linkspam from the owner of the site, owned by user Kiwifaramir. See the user's talk page for discussion on this issue. I'm removing the link to bookthoughts, as the site is not demonstrably relevant to C. S. Lewis in any way and was evidently originally posted by the site owner. However, if previous experience is any indication, there is a high probability that a sockpuppet of the site owner will repost the link almost immediately. Most recent edits inserting links to this site are by users with no contributions or edits aside from the link to bookthoughts inserted with identical text ("Read And Write Reviews On Novels By...") into an article on a given author, seeming to indicate said linkspam sockpuppet behaviour. Examples presently include Alice_Sebold, John_Grisham, Dan Brown, C._S._Lewis, Martin_Cruz_Smith. Advice from where to proceed if this linkspamming continues would be appreciated, from any more precedurally experienced wikipedians --Yst 01:01, 22 January 2006 (UTC)

I would think the next step is to document this and file for an RfA. Alienus 01:27, 22 January 2006 (UTC)

Mrs. Moore

There are big problems with the new section on Mrs. Moore, not the least of which is that it is almost entirely unsourced! For example - "There has been much disagreement among Lewis scholars as to the nature of the relationship between Lewis and Jane Moore but most now accept that they were probably lovers, at least during the early years of their relationship." Who are these supposed Lewis scholars and on what do they base this assessment!? Joey1898 19:07, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

That's a fair request. I googled and added a citation. Alienus 22:22, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
No. The citation does not support the quote. No where does the citation say what most scholars now accept. It alludes to a very obscure passage in Surprised by Joy which could refer to absolutely anything. It also alludes to a statement by Maureen Moore (Jane's daughter) without ever quoting it or even saying what it was. Joey1898 23:38, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
The citation indeed does not support the quote. All it does is say what everyone else says, which is probably what we should say, that "many speculate that there was a sexual element to the relationship.". Most is certainly not supported by anything in the article. I've reworded the passage. The possibility of sex certainly deserves to be mentioned, but the consensus is a clear "don't know". DJ Clayworth 02:54, 30 January 2006 (UTC)

I did not say, and did not mean to imply, that it is certain that Lewis and Jane Moore were lovers. Obviously that can never be known for certain. How could it be? Perhaps it would be better just to mention a few names in the article. Here are some of those who have thought that they were probably lovers:

Kathryn Lindskoog: She suggested in “The C.S.Lewis Hoax” (1988) that they were lovers and never changed her opinion.

A.N.Wilson: He wrote in “C.S.Lewis: A Biography (1990) “While nothing will ever be proved on either side, the burden of proof is on those who believe that Lewis and Mrs. Moore were not lovers.”

Walter Hooper: He seems originally to have thought it unlikely but in his introduction to “All My Road Before Me” (1991) he states that “The notion of sexual intimacy between the two must be regarded as likely” and “This combination of motive, means, and opportunity invites, though it does not demand, the conclusion that Janie King Moore and C.S.Lewis were lovers.”

George Sayer: In “Jack: A Life of C.S.Lewis” (1988) Sayer seems to think that it is unlikely that they were lovers, although he says that Lewis’ friend, Owen Barfield, thought that the likelihood was “fifty-fifty.” In his introduction to the 1997 edition, however, he says, “I have had to alter my opinion of Lewis’s relationship with Mrs. Moore. In chapter eight of this book I wrote that I was uncertain about whether they were lovers. Now after conversations with Mrs. Moore’s daughter, Maureen, and a consideration of the way in which their bedrooms were arranged at The Kilns, I am quite certain that they were. They did not share a room, but Lewis had a room which, until an outside staircase was built some years later, could be entered only by going through Mrs. Moore’s bedroom.”

Of course, there are also people who are knowledgeable about C.S.Lewis who disagree. Douglas Gresham has said that they were not lovers and, as far as I know, he has not changed his mind. Paul Ford has said that he thinks it unlikely.

As for the evidence, George Sayer was convinced that they were lovers partly because of his conversations with Maureen Dunbar. I think we can conclude from that that Maureen thought that they were lovers, and she lived with them. The arrangement of rooms at the Kilns also suggests that they were lovers although that would mean that they were still lovers when they moved into the Kilns in 1930, when Lewis was on the verge of becoming a Christian.

There is plenty of evidence in Lewis’ letters of the very strong feelings he had for Mrs. Moore. In a letter to Arthur Greeves, written on 14th December, 1917, he describes Greeves and Jane Moore as “the two people who matter most to me in the world.”

He was willing to deceive his father for the sake of his relationship with Mrs. Moore. In a letter on 24th August 1919 Lewis says to Greeves, “Minto sends her love and tells me to thank you for all your labours on our behalf in the matter of letters.” Hooper explains in a footnote that Lewis and Jane wrote to each other daily when Lewis was in Ireland and Jane sent her letters to Greeves’ house so that Albert Lewis would not know that they were writing to each other.

In a letter dated 2nd April 1920 Lewis writes to Greeves from a house in Somerset where he was staying with Mrs. Moore and says, “I am writing to my father on Monday to tell him that I shall not be home this Vac. – I really can’t face him on top of everything else – but you had better pose as having heard nothing about me or my movements if you should be compelled to meet him.” His letter to his father on 4th April says, “as this is the shortest vac. …. I thought it a good opportunity of paying off an engagement with a man who has been asking me for some time to go and “walk” with him.”

On 28th October 1917 he writes to Greeves to say, “Since coming back and meeting a certain person I have begun to realize that it was not at all the right thing for me to tell you so much as I did. I must therefore try to undo my actions as far as possible by asking you to try & forget my various statements & not to refer to the subject. Of course I have perfect trust in you, mon vieux, but still I have no business to go discussing those sort of things with you.” This strongly suggests that there was an aspect of his relationship with Mrs. Moore that Lewis felt he should keep private.

On 2nd February 1918 Lewis remembers things he did with Greeves and says, “Perhaps you don’t believe that I want all that again, because other things more important have come in: but after all there is room for other things besides love in a man’s life.”

On 12th February 1918 Lewis writes to Greeves, after again recalling the past, “However, we may have good times yet, although I have been at a war and although I love someone.”

Mrs. Moore is not mentioned by name in these last letters but it is hard to see who else Lewis could be talking about.

Does all this mean they were lovers? Who knows? I would think that the case was proved beyond a reasonable doubt if they were the same age but I must admit that twenty-seven years is a big gap, although I wonder if it would appear so big if the sexes were reversed. KaB 14:22, 30 January 2006 (UTC)

It seems to me that all this speculation disguised as evidence can justify no more than the phrase suggested by DJ, "many speculate that there was a sexual element to the relationship."
I also object to the inclusion of this sentence in the article: 'Lewis was exceptionally reticent on the matter in his autobiography, writing only "All I can or need to say is that my earlier hostility to the emotions was very fully and variously avenged".' This quote from Surprised by Joy may or may not refer to Jane Moore and certainly cannot be used as if it did.
There are a number of other points that have been omitted such as the promise that Paddy and Lewis made to take care of each other's families, the fact that the Moores were also Irish, the fact that Lewis lost his mother at a young age and referred to Jane as "his mother" (I hope that I'm not opening the door to a bunch of amateur Freudians here), etc. I know that in our culture today we reduce all love to eros, but we should look at other approaches as well. Joey1898 16:29, 31 January 2006 (UTC)

If you do not regard any of this as evidence at all then I wonder if there is any sort of evidence that you would accept.
I prefer “Many think that they were probably lovers” to “Many speculate that there was a sexual element to the relationship.” It seems more straightforward and it is certainly true. I would also like to keep the names of the biographers that I have included. I think the paragraph should make clear that people who really do know about Lewis’ life think that there is good reason to think that they were lovers and it is not just baseless speculation.
Lewis called Mrs. Moore his mother because, as A.N.Wilson explains, he would have lost his chance of a college fellowship if the University authorities had discovered how he was living. The fact that he was living with a woman who was not a relation had to be kept secret.
As for the promise Lewis is supposed to have made to Paddy, do you know if Lewis himself mentions it anywhere? Or has anyone said that they heard Lewis talk about the promise? If so then I think perhaps it should be included but I have not been able to find any such reference. Mrs.Moore told Albert Lewis that Lewis had promised Paddy that he would take care of her but that reads to me like an obvious attempt to reassure Albert.
Maureen Dunbar apparently told both Wilson and Hooper that she heard Paddy and Lewis promising that the survivor would take care of the other one’s family if one of them was killed. She was only a child at the time though. Who knows what she heard or whether it was meant seriously?
A promise by Paddy to take care of Albert Lewis would in any case not have made any sense. As Lindskoog points out, Albert would certainly not have needed or wanted to be taken care of by Paddy in the event of Lewis’ death.
My main reason for thinking that the promise is unimportant is that it is neither a necessary nor a sufficient explanation for Lewis’ behaviour. It is not necessary because it is obvious that Lewis and Mrs. Moore had a very close relationship, even if there was nothing sexual about it. It is not sufficient because a promise to take care of a friend’s mother if she needed help would not oblige Lewis to move in with her, to deceive his father, to risk his career and to live with her for the next thirty years.
I am puzzled that you say “we reduce all love to eros.” I do not see any reduction here. There is nothing wrong with falling in love with someone. I don’t see that the suggestion that they may have been lovers insults Lewis in any way at all. Do you? KaB 19:30, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
You miss my point entirely.
1. I don't know if they were lovers or not. Neither do you. Neither does anyone else. Speculation is not evidence. We can write about the fact of the speculation, no more. Anything we say must be proportional and must not assume a priori that they were lovers.
2. By your own admission, there is evidence for the mutual promise of caring for one another's family. There is evidence that, early on, Lewis felt out of place in England and enjoyed the company of the Moores, in part, because they were also Irish. Both are important regardless of the sexual speculation and must be included.
3. The Surprised by Joy quote may or may not refer to Jane Moore and simply cannot be represented as if it did.
4. Of course Eros is good, but it is not the only form of love. Expressions of love can just as easily refer to Philia, Storge or Agape. In our culture today, we too quickly dismiss the other loves. - - Joey1898 23:07, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
Joey, the article does not state that they were lovers. It states that certain people -- who are named -- have concluded that they were lovers, and brielfy explains some of the basis for that conclusion, quoting Lewis. This is not POV. If anything, I think it's being handled very well in terms of neutrality. Alienus 06:25, 1 February 2006 (UTC)

Absolutely wrong. The article presents an obscure quote from Surprised by Joy that could refer to absolutely anything as though it refered to Jane Moore. It incorrectly lists Walter Hooper as someone who believed that they were probably lovers.

More deeply, the article treats speculation with the same reverence as evidence. While a lot of evidence can be more compelling than a little evidence, a lot of speculation means no more than a little speculation or none at all. Twenty people speculating about something means no more than one person speculating. Twenty or thirty people speculating about something does not equal even one piece of evidence; 30 x 0 = 0.

The article creates the impression that there is some truth to the story by emphasising the amount of speculation and elevating two gossip-mongering biographers to the level of “scholars”. I guess that would make Kitty Kelley a scholar too. -- Joey1898 16:43, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

“Two gossip-mongering biographers”? A.N.Wilson is a serious and respected writer and George Sayer was a close friend of Lewis for many years. To describe either of them as gossip-mongering and to compare them to Kitty Kelley is absurd.
Walter Hooper wrote in his introduction to “All my Road before me”,“The notion of sexual intimacy between the two must be regarded as likely” and "This story may have begun in self-indulgence, cynicism and sin, [he is looking at it from his religious point of view] but it ended as an enduring exemplum of Christian charity." If he has changed his mind since then his name should be removed. Has he? Do you have a reference? KaB 08:34, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

Gossip-mongering is precisely what they are doing here, and if Walter Hooper has joined them, more’s the pity. At least Kitty Kelley purports to have sources. What do we have here? We have a section from Surprised by Joy that could refer to absolutely anything, a letter to Arthur Greeves that could refer to absolutely anything, and the fact that they lived together. Based on that, Lewis could have been sleeping with Arthur Greeves or Maureen Moore or the waitress down the street or no one at all.

The article uses the amount of speculation to give the impression that there is a weight of evidence. There is none. The fact that there is speculation should be mentioned, but the Surprised by Joy quote has got to go and the utter lack of evidence must be pointed out. Joey1898 00:14, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

I think it is a pity if speculation about sex obscures entirely the original story of the relationship, which was that Paddy Moore and Lewis made a pact that if either was killed in the war, the other would look after Lewis's father and Moore's mother. A lot of modern writers don't seem to understand that Lewis might have taken such a pledge as an unbreakable duty of honour, to the point of sharing a house with the woman who, in his later correspondence, he does refer to as his 'mother'. Whether or not they had a sexual relationship. Of which I remain to be convinced, though I wouldn't rule it out. Myopic Bookworm 16:36, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

So, finally, Irish or English?

I find this article immensely helpful, rich and interesting; there is much work behind this text, and I won't change anything without discussion, especially being new here... But I find it really odd to see Lewis described as an "Irish" writer, not because of political considerations but because of the plain common sense. Lewis works are all in English, not in Gaelic, and for me that's enough to speak of him as of an English writer. I am not even speaking about his "usual place of residence", that might be irrelevant - he could have lived in Russia, but, writing in English, would have still been an English writer, whether he wanted this or not :))

Lewis could have considered himself Irish of course; and if for some obscure reason he declared himself Honolulan or Patagonian, would we follow?

Hodel 18:44, 13 February 2006 (UTC)

I'd encourage you to read the discussion above on this talk page (hit Ctrl-F and search for "Irish" to save time), and then see if you can suggest a good middle ground. I've been of your opinion for some time, but there seems to be a very committed and outspoken contingent who feel strongly that he was an "Irish writer". I'd love to hear a compromise suggestion, and look forward to your ideas. :-) Jwrosenzweig 04:30, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

Thank you Jwrosenzweig. Yes indeed I browsed through the discussion above. What strikes me most is its wholly emotional character... and, significantly, you spoke about people feeling that Lewis was an Irish writer. I know very well how delicate the political problem of Ireland is, and so are feelings of the people who suffered or suffer from it. But can’t we, and shouldn’t we just stick to the facts? And if we want to remain factual, then we have to look for a right criterion in order to determine, what makes a writer belong to one community or another.

Obviously, it can’t be only his passport – at least, not in a multilingual and multicultural environment – you know, you won’t find a lot of Tunisians in France who will describe themselves as French, though their passports are French all right. (Now I am not speaking of America, which seems to be another story.) Then, can this criterion be people’s own idea of what community they belong to? Yes – and if you dig a bit, you will find that this idea is most often based either on religious or on linguistic community, or on the both. Linguistic community is important for everybody; your mother tongue affects the whole frame of your mind; you can like it or hate it, but here it is, and there is no way to escape it.

Now in case of a writer this becomes really a crucial element. In fact, for me this is the only appropriate criterion to determine writer’s “nationality”. Writers die, their passports end up in a museum, and their views on their true national identity are subject to changes during their lifetime and are soon forgotten after their death. Their work remains; their readers remain, the world they create remains. And all this is done in a language; and this must be taken into account, factually speaking.

Now, of course it can be said that, applied to Lewis, this is totally unjust, because English literature and English language are imperial ones, absorbing and repressing other languages & literatures, so that in fact writers have no choice but write in English. Well, no, it is not just. It is only a historical reality, kind of neutral statement: empires exist, and they blend people and languages, and create a sort of linguistic monopoly. We can hate this; we simply can’t escape it. I knew an Armenian-born writer, who told me once: you see, I can’t write in Armenian, there are simply no readers to read me… So he wrote in Russian, becoming an Armenian-born Russian writer, and thus reaching the people who would never read him in Armenian.

To conclude, that’s why I think it will be wise to describe Lewis as “Irish-born English writer”, or “English writer of Irish descent // origin”, or I don’t know. But you can’t just cut off the “Englishness” of someone whose English is gorgeous just to be politically correct.

I hope I made my idea clear enough. In fact, I think the discussion above is a bit "English-Irish" one, or even "English-English" one... and the world is a larger place. I am Russian myself, and I am sure most Russian readers will find the whole story quite odd...


C.S. Lewis

Irish or English? C.S. Lewis was what we could call "British". After all, Northern Ireland remains to this day an integral part of the United Kingdom. Lewis was an Ulsterman, a Unionist and a proud British subject.

Nope, Northern Ireland isn't part of Britain, so he definitely wasn't British. Lewis is not an English writer, and his description as such in the article is just plain wrong. Lewis was born and raised in Ireland (now Northern Ireland). He is an Irish or Northern Irish writer; as noted in this article, he regarded himself as being Irish and drew distinctions between himself and Englishmen. Calling him English makes as much sense as calling Robert Burns or Dylan Thomas English. Other writers born on the island of Ireland are referred to in Wikipedia as being "Irish" or "Northern Irish".
GB Shaw lived in England, and James Joyce lived in France, yet they are both Irish according to Wikipedia. It is highly imperious for anyone to suggest that people from Northern Ireland default to being English; Ireland was partitioned into two countries, and so Northern Irish people are as Irish and those from the Republic. Or are we to conclude Cuchulain was English too? ;)
I propose we settle this once and for all, and I would say he was an Irish writer or a Northern Irish writer. Comments? MartinRobinson 22:06, 21 February 2006 (UTC)
If Irish has to be used, at least get the link right. To demostrate he was born of Irish decendents, Irish people link should be used. Since linking to any article like Irish or Northern Irish is redirect or disamb. and are not prefered in Wiki and Ireland or Northern Ireland make it seems like C.S. Lewis is an author and scholar working there instead of being born there. (mainly due to the sentence structure) I also still don't get the point in why Anglo-Irish could not be used.
BTW, the article is too long, can someone who knows what they are doing seperate it into smaller sized article for people with older web browsers to read all the information? MythSearcher 05:23, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
Thank you for changing the link. About Anglo-Irish, from the article:
The term Anglo-Irish was/is also applied to Irish aristocrats of British or partially British descent, as well as to the anglicized, mainly Protestant population that made up the Irish professional and landed classes during British rule....Some use the term Anglo-Irish to apply to a wider group in Irish society namely Irish people of the "Unionist tradition" with a strong ethnic or cultural affiliation with Britain (particularly England).
The use of the term in this article would be confusing I think. It is used in a historical sense to denote a certain section of Irish society to which Lewis did not belong, and its contemporary meaning is more of a description of political affiliation than a statement of nationality. Regardless, as it is completely possible to be Anglo-Irish (in both senses) without ever having set foot in England, it is not a good term to use to describe an Irishman living in England.
Did you change "Northern Irish" to "Irish"? I only ask because I'm curious as to why you prefer one over the other. I had originally put "Irish", but then I decided that "Northern Irish" would be better as it is both geographically and currently politically correct, and it hints at his association with Great Britain. The reader could then make their own mind up upon reading the article at to his "Britishness" or "Irishness". MartinRobinson 13:17, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
Well, I think Northern Irish should not be used simply because it redirects to other pages. you could try [[Irish people|Northern Irish]] instead.
And for Anglo-Irish, Anglo-Irish literally means English-Irish. I think all British citizenship Northern Irish people is technically Anglo-Irish. Maybe I have mistaken. MythSearcher 15:23, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

I would disagree that people from Northern Ireland are "Anglo-Irish", as Britain is not the same thing as England, and the two cannot be used interchangeably. Whether someone from NI could validly consider themselves "Anglo-Irish" would, I guess depend on their family history, ancestry, political outlook, etc, etc. I come from an Irish Catholic family, and so I couldn't really consider myself Anglo-Irish if I wanted to. I'm sure there are many Scots-Irish that would feel the same way.

Anyway, I'm just glad he'd not being described as English anymore! Not that there's anything wrong with being English; it's just factually inaccurate in this instance. MartinRobinson 18:35, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

OK, we seem to be having a revert war between "Irish" and "Northern Irish". I have no personal preference either way, as I can see the advantages and disadvantages of both. However, I don't think it's correct to say that Northern Ireland cannot be used as the state did not exist at the time of Lewis' birth. It seems to be standard for biographies in Wikipedia to use the names of countries retroactively. For instance, in the Galileo article, he is stated as being Italian, not Tuscan. I don't see any reason why this article has to be any different.
Whatever one is used, can we please make sure the link to Irish people is included? Lewis is on the list of notable Irish people, so I think it is only reasonable that whatever nationality is ascribed to him be linked to there. MartinRobinson 15:09, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
No matter what, people should stop using links that does not exist or redirects to other pages. Therefore, the link to Irish people should always be kept unless we come to a conclusion that he is not Irish at all (like maybe British or English or American if someone suddenly come out with enough proof.)
Also, those 2 IP user edited earlier, they both have a pretty bad contrib list and one even got a talk page stating he used copyrighted material and vandalize.
MythSearcher 16:25, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

Sorry I simply do not understand your way of reasoning. You are changing of subject; you are discussing a political matter while the article is far from being a political pamphlet. That "Other writers born on the island of Ireland are referred to in Wikipedia as being "Irish" or "Northern Irish" is hardly an argument, this is just an error like many others -- as far as I know, Wikipedia is not an oracle. What makes you think that birth, blood, ethnic origin determines the national identity of a person? What makes you think that a place of birth is so very important, or that what people say about themselves is? Do you have a single objective criterion to support your thesis?

Hodel 21:57, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

PS: "Calling him English makes as much sense as calling Robert Burns or Dylan Thomas English". To that, I would answer that you do call English Henry James and TS Eliot, both of them born in America -- and nobody has a problem with calling them Anglo-American writers. And again, please remember that there are some forms of life besides the Anglo-Irish conflict. For the larger world, whatever you may feel about that, Lewis is and remain an English writer.

Hodel 22:07, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

My argument is that someone who is born in Ireland, to Irish parents, raised in Ireland, and who considers himself Irish, is Irish. What nationality he considered himself to be was of huge importance, especially considering that the Republic of Ireland automatically grants Irish citizenship to all those born on the island of Ireland who consider themselves to be Irish (there is no formal application process, it is the birthright of anyone born in Ireland). Even if it didn't, the term Irish can be used with complete validity to describe someone from the North or South of the border. It is not up to Wikipedia to assert that he didn't spend enough time in Ireland to be Irish or any such nonsense. According to your reasoning, the only way an Irish person can be Irish is if they never leave the place and walk around saying "dia duit" to each other all day. Writing in english no more makes someone English than wearing something green on St. Patrick's day makes someone Irish. Are you arguing that he wasn't English until he learned to write, and when he mastered the alphabet, his nationality suddenly changed? My, no wonder the UK government are having such immigration problems.
Lewis is an Irish writer through-and-through (and he was dedicated to being seen as such). He drew inspiration from Irish legends, folklore and even landscape to create Narnia. His religion was highly influenced by Irish Catholicism (not many English protestants believe in purgatory and praying for the dead). Indeed, if we are to state that Lewis is English, then it would need to be explained in the article as to why an Englishman had such a fixation with Ireland. How could one possibly explain that Lewis considered himself, and was considered by others, to be an Irishman but he was wrong, without being completely POV?
Both Henry James and TS Elliot are Anglo-American because they were foreign nationals who formally adopted British citizenship. It has nothing at all to do with their country of residence. If they hadn't obtained British citizenship, they would be American whether they lived in England or not (or Timbuktu, or any where else for that matter). The term Anglo-Irish however, as I outlined above, is not a description of nationality.
The article for Naturalization states:
Naturalization is the act whereby a person voluntarily and actively acquires a nationality which is not his or her nationality at birth.
Lewis neither voluntarily nor actively sought English nationality at any point in his life (which in his case would require assimilation into English culture, as opposed to a formal application of citizenship). It is rather strange that you are arguing Lewis' opinion of what nationality he was carries no weight and should not be considered, yet the opinions of other people 100 years after the fact do. Why does "the larger world" have more say over what nationality Lewis is than he himself? I have no reason to believe that Lewis was dishonest (or stupid) enough to falsely claim a foreign nationality as his own, and I would hardly call someone born and raised in Ireland claiming to be Irish beyond the bounds of credibility. If you have evidence that Lewis was a pathological liar or that he did not have sufficient intelligence to know his own nationality, I suggest you enlighten us all and add it to the article. Otherwise, your assertion that Lewis' own opinion counts for nothing is null and void. Do you believe me when it tell you I'm Irish, or do your reserve the right to decide what nationality I am until you've personally inspected my passport? MartinRobinson 01:29, 25 February 2006 (UTC)

I see that, according to Hodel, not only Bishop Berkeley, George Bernard Shaw, W.B. Yeats, and Sean O'Casey, but even James Joyce were all English writers. I suspect that this is because he has a shaky grasp of the history and rôle of the Irish language (not generally called "Gaelic" in Ireland, incidentally – that's more likely to be Scots – though better than "Erse"). --Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 21:37, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

More a shaky grasp of the history and role of the English language, which is not simply the language of the English, and hasn't been for several centuries. I'd be prepared to have a discussion about whether 'British writer' was an appropriate term for Lewis, since he was born in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and (all) Ireland, for which no better adjective exists. (I don't know whether he carried an Irish or a UK passport, or both: there is no such thing as an English passport.) But 'English writer' would generally be taken to mean 'writer of English nationality', not just 'writer who lived in England and wrote in English'. Myopic Bookworm 12:25, 23 March 2006 (UTC)
I notice that someone has now altered the introduction to say "British", with the hedging note about his ancestry moved down, and I am inclined to let this stand. He was British by birth, lifelong nationality, and military service. (He was not English.) Myopic Bookworm 13:55, 22 May 2006 (UTC)


The article reads "He was also the leading figure in an Oxford literary group called the Inklings." While I prefer Lewis, I think that Tolkien fans might disagree with this. Joey1898 22:40, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

I agree. It's certainly not clear in what sense he was "the leading figure", and if he was, this needs to be explained. Did he lead the group? Was he the founding member? Has he sold more books than the other members? Did he garner more critical acclaim? Though personally I too much prefer Lewis' work, I would submit that Tolkien was the "leading figure" if anyone.
I've changed it to "He was also a leading figure in an Oxford literary group called the Inklings". MartinRobinson 01:10, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
While I prefer Martin's wording, I'd suggest that, in terms of prominence as a literary figure at the time, Lewis was a bit more famous than Tolkien. Before the early 1950s, Lewis was a notable author of fiction and non-fiction with a series of very popular BBC talks on Christianity. Tolkien's talents, while very considerable, had only really been displayed in a few academic essays and a children's book called the Hobbit which, while successful, had hardly made him a major figure. But these things are probably too subjective to be called either way...and I may be misremembering Tolkien's stature pre-LOTR publication. "a leading figure" is a very good choice of words. Jwrosenzweig 04:47, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
Actually, I think the original wording was accurate. However famous Tolkien may have become, he was quite a shy person, and my impression (from much reading and listening) is that the Inklings as a social group essentially revolved around the extrovert Lewis. Whether or not he was more or less notable than Tolkien to outsiders, he was the leading figure within the Inklings. Myopic Bookworm 16:24, 20 March 2006 (UTC)
While Myopic Bookworm is correct that Lewis was the leading force in maintaining and managing the Inklings (they often met in his rooms for instance), the sentence was abit ambiguous. Perhaps it should be expanded.Eluchil404 23:12, 21 March 2006 (UTC)

Sado Masochism

Documentation of CS Lewis' fondness for sado-masochism is extant and well-known. Whether or not the Narnian overseers here will accept, for example, even Jacob's acknowledgement of it (see for example this New Yorker review), is debatable. Apparently, even Wikipedia is not immune to their revisionism. Regardless, as a new contributor, I had hoped that the annointed lictors here would have done some even basic research into Lewis (and his published biographies) before removing my edit for "vandalism". Clearly I was misguided in that belief. Lokiloki 08:54, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

The pages concerning all famous people attract vandals, including outrageous POVs, and they are watched by a group of editors who do vandalism patrol. It is not the job of these editors to research every statement, but the editors who add material. While there are some zealots who think every statement should be documented; all agree that controversial statements must be documented. Lokiloki has added comments that amount to libel, if untrue. At first this was done with no documentation. Later documentation is only from blogs and secondary sources. Good solid documentation is required, due to the severity of the accusation, and the legal ramifications. I'm removing the accusations until such documentation is provided. Pollinator 14:50, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
I love the New Yorker, esp. the short stories. But it isn't the greatest authority on Earth for news or biography. Do we have some real, hard evidence of the sadomasochism? KHM03 15:21, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
Please research "libel" before you make such statements. You cannot libel the dead. Lokiloki 19:22, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

I cannot see where the libel comes in (Who is being libelled?) but there is no doubt at all that Lewis did have sadomasochistic fantasies as a young man. He speaks frequently about his sadomasochistic feelings in his early letters to Arthur Greeves. My own feeling is that this should be left out of the article because it is just not important. He was very young, in his late teens and perhaps early twenties, although, when I looked through the collection of his letters to Greeves today, I did not find any mention of sadomasochism in the letters written after he was twenty. (I may have missed it of course.)

As far as I know, there is no evidence that Lewis acted out these fantasies (provided that it was consensual, I don’t know that it would have mattered if he had) and it is quite possible that he no longer felt that way when he grew older.

If you want evidence of his sadomasochistic feelings, you have only to read his letters to Greeves. He does sign some of them Philomastix (sometimes written in Greek letters) which he explains as meaning ‘fond of the whip.’ When he wants to say that a young woman is attractive he describes her as ‘a suitable subject for the lash.’

He describes how he got drunk at a party once and says, “I am afraid I must have given myself away rather as I went round imploring everyone to let me whip them for the sum of 1s. a lash.” In the next paragraph of the letter he says, “Butler, having muddled recollections of my last night’s desire to whip, challenged me on the subject …… He has come across the thing in the course of his varied reading. The right name for it is sadism, so called from its great originator of the 16th century, M. Le Vicomte de Sade.”

Here is Lewis describing some of his thoughts to Greeves: “’Across my knee’ of course makes one think of positions for Whipping: or rather not for whipping (you couldn’t get any swing) but for that torture with brushes. This position, with its childish, nursery associations wd. have something beautifully intimate and also very humiliating for the victim.”

There is quite a bit more in the letters but I think I have quoted enough. He was very young. Every young person has sexual fantasies and most people, I suppose, have little choice about what turns them on. I can’t see that it matters much.KaB 17:26, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

Then why include it? KHM03 18:28, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

I didn't include it and I don't think it should be included. I wrote the above because you asked if there was any evidence.

The paragraph on sadomasochism has gone now and I am certainly not going to restore it.KaB 20:10, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

Then why include anything about his "early life"? For some of us who find his fascination with Christianity a bit masochistic, well, perhaps his S&M fascination in early life might provide some instruction. It is absolutely relevant. Perhaps not to you, but clearly to some. The fact that there is no documentation of later-life mentions perhaps indicates some degree of suppression and transference. Lokiloki 19:22, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
And clearly there is evidence. And clearly it has interested his biographers in the past. And for that reason at the very least it should be included here. Lokiloki 19:26, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
I think it's clear now that he did have this thing for S&M. On the one hand, I wonder whether it's related to anything that makes him a public figure. For example, did Aslan whip Susan? On the other, I wonder if we should exclude it, given how many irrelelvant (and in my opinion, uninteresting) biographical details we've included. On the whole, while a paragraph seems excessive, perhaps a one-liner is justified. What do you think? Alienus
It should absolutely be included. Indeed, there are already many "irrelevant" inclusions, but this one most certainly is germaine to his later activities and beliefs. For some of us (namely, Freudian psychoanalysts, such as myself), we find such childhood events highly significant. Please retain it. Lokiloki 19:26, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
I'm personally for trimming any and all unnecessary information from the article. I'm not sure what the relevance of his sexual fantasies might be, so I'm not sure why we should include that bit (if we must include it, I'd also like to see more academic evidence than the New Yorker...which I love, but which isn't always the best source for this sort of thing). KHM03 19:30, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

Then again, there's also the second reference, which mentions Michael White's biography, and then there are all the primary sources referenced here, so I don't think that this is genuinely in question, and I'm going to try to come up with a brief line or two that at least lets people know where to go if they want more information. I don't see this as negative or positive, just potentially interesting. Alienus 19:37, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

Please see the above mentions from the letters. Clearly some people here have an agenda to "scrub" anything that suggests that Lewis was anything but pure as the driven snow. Lokiloki 19:33, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
Lewis was certainly far from perfect, and I don't believe he made the claim purity. But, this isn't an article to psychoanalyze Lewis; I see very little of that on Wikipedia. This article is to give a relatively concise overview of the man's life and work, not theories of what he dreamed about (unless, again, as Alienus stated above, it had an obvious and direct bearing on his work). Is the sexual stuff relevant? What historians/biographers/experts have made the claim? What academic sources can we cite to support the claim? KHM03 19:35, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
Well, The New Yorker article for a start. And his biographies. One might find some rhyme and reason for his later misogyny in his childhood sexual predilections. If this is meant to be just a brief overview, why provide text describing the death of his childhood dog, or many other irrelevancies. (posted by User:Lokiloki)
I'd just as soon see all that unnecessary stuff removed...unless the death of his dog was a major life turning point, etc. KHM03 20:01, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

I don't see his S&M fantasies as evidence that he was imperfect, just human. I definitely don't think we should be hiding this information. Alienus 19:37, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

I wrote my last post as a reply to KHMO3. It was split in two and moved around so that it is no longer clear that I wrote both parts. I am new to Wikipedia. Perhaps this is common practice. If so, I must say I don’t think much of it. I have moved my post back to its original place.KaB 20:16, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

I think the current version is adequate (NPOV, not creating needless controversy). I would like to see a better source, possibly from the biography. Anything that's closer to the source than the 3rd party references we have now. --Bakkster Man 21:13, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

I agree. KHM03 21:42, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

That's a fair request. Would it be any improvement if someone added a reference to the White book (, using the usual ISBN format? We could then quote from it, either from a physical copy, or from any source that properly cites it. Alienus 22:11, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

A citation would be great. --Bakkster Man 22:41, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
The article talks of "descriptions of sexual fantasies involving spanking female acquaintances." As far as I know, the passage I posted above about the 'torture with brushes' is the only passage in his letters that could be called a description of a sexual fantasy and it does not involve any particular person. As it stands, therefore, the line is incorrect. If anyone knows of any descriptions of sexual fantasies involving female acqaintances please tell us where to find them. KaB 08:16, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
I don't have all of his personal letters in front of me, but you are quite wrong. At this point, since it has been accepted that his deviancy is well-accepted and well-documented (and therefore not controversial), it is no longer our duty to prove these facts. Regardless, until I can quote from the letter verbatim, I include references to "sexual torture", which are clear and apparent. Lokiloki 08:25, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

Should Wikipedians now be trying to document all historical persons' sexual fetishes, or are we just doing so for Lewis? I guess if it's important in the sense of "completeness" and wishing to omit it amounts to revisionist censorship, there are many missing facts of Lewis' life; what was his favourite colour? Flavour of ice-cream? Boxers or briefs? Did he have an inny-bellybutton or an outy? All these "facts" are on par with what he got up to in the bedroom, IMHO. Most people have inny-bellybuttons, so I'm going to assume Lewis did too. Where should I add it in the article? Perhaps I'll just start a new section titled Apropos of nothing.... ;) MartinRobinson 19:05, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

It is not entirely irrelevant. I have heard a very interesting paper pointing out the curious coincidence that four significant authors of 20th century fantasy had at least some brush with sado-masochism (I think the others were Charles Williams, T.H. White, and John Cowper Powys). Since denigrators of Lewis may bring the subject up, it's valuable to have some proper citations, to help prevent the spread of lurid speculation on the topic. Myopic Bookworm 16:28, 20 March 2006 (UTC)
That being the case, perhaps the connections you mention can be worked into the text somehow? At present, the paragraph on sado-masochism is just slotted into the text between a paragraph on his school days, and one about his love for talking animals. I am not against writing about it because I think it's inaccurate, or because of "decency" or any such nonsense, but IMO, it reads like it is meant to shock rather than inform, and a bit more of a scholarly basis for mentioning it at all would be very welcome. MartinRobinson 00:57, 24 March 2006 (UTC)

I think it should be left out altogether. There would be a place for this in a full length biography but not in an encyclopedia article. If it is to be included it should be rewritten. Would anyone reading about ‘Lewis’ early interest in sado-masochism and sexual torture‘ know that the article was referring to teenage sexual fantasies? KaB 09:19, 25 March 2006 (UTC)

This information would be appropriate for some attempt at a Freudian psychoanalysis of Lewis or for a full length biography, but I'm not sure it fits here. Moreover, being a potential focus of controversy, we may end up needing to explain this in detail to resolve NPOV disputes. (Though I don't think that Lewis sexuality in his youth should be seen as a big problem, even for people that considers him some kind of saint...). --Leinad ¬ Flag of Brazil.svg »saudações! 16:41, 25 March 2006 (UTC)

In a comprehensive biography, there are many details included despite not being absolutely essential, so I think that the attempt to remove this one detail has to be looked at more carefully. My view is that it's a legitimate biographical fact, stated neutrally and supported with citations. However, I can imagine that those who have made a saint out of Clive might be disturbed by such personal facts, so they'd feel comfortable removing it to whitewash his reputation. This sort of censorship disturbs me, so I won't allow it.

Oh, and for the record, it's not just about his sexuality in his youth. Read the article; he participated in an unorthodox sexual relationship as an adult with an older, domineering woman. BDSM is a part of his lifelong sexuality, not an adolescent quirk or "teenage fantansy". Burying this fact only distorts any attempt at gaining an accurate view of Lewis as a genuine person. Alienus 16:50, 25 March 2006 (UTC)

It disturbs me that anyone should say that they will not allow something to be removed from an article. I understood that Wikipedia worked by discussing anything disputed until a consensus was reached. Are there certain people who have authority over articles?
The New Yorker article cited is very unreliable. As for Jane Moore, it is not even certain that Lewis had a sexual relationship with her at all. If he did it was probably only when he was very young and we know nothing, nothing at all, about what they did together. It is certainly not true that men who have relationships with older women always have sadomasochistic sex. KaB 17:43, 25 March 2006 (UTC)

You raise a number of distinct points, so I'll address them separately, and in no particular order:

1) The factuality of Lewis' interests in BDSM are not under dispute as we have the evidence of his own writing that confirms all this. The New Yorker article's reliability is irrelevant, because primary sources confirm the key points. The extent to which Lewis consumated a sexual relationship with Moore is less clear, but the BDSM elements are very much there even if they never had sex.

Remember, BDSM is sexual but doesn't require intercourse. Call it original research, but the receptionist at a company I worked for used to be a professional dominatrix, and she never actually had sex with any of her clients, or even got more naked than people do at a typical beach. (Though I would think that shiny black leather would be a poor choice for swimsuits.)

2) I don't see any place where I might have suggested that relationships with older women "always", or even often, have sadomasochistic sex. Perhaps you misunderstood what I wrote, but it looks like you have, however unintentionally, attacked a straw man.

By coincidence, though, one of the articles that I've periodically contributed to does include an example of a relationship between a younger man and older woman with strong BDSM elements. I'm referring to Ayn Rand's extra-marital affair with Nathaniel Branden.

3) I don't have a magic wand that stops people from deleting content that belongs in an article. However, I do have the ability to revert such whitewashing, as well as to use all other methods at the disposal of any editor who sees vandalism. When I say that I won't allow this deletion, it means that I will strongly oppose it and will not back down unless good reason is offered as justification.

4) I want to make it clear that the goal here is to put the truth out and keep it at that, not to libel Lewis or even to praise him. If we omit his BDSM leanings, this only gives people more license to misinterpret what they hear in passing. You'd be surprised what false rumors I heard about him when the movie first came out; they're what led me to this article in my attempt to verify them. It turns out that Lewis is kinky, not a rapist, and the article should make this clear.

For that matter, the idea that BDSM is shameful is itself a POV; there are people who take pride in seeing public figures that share their fetishes. About the only people we are guaranteed to offend are those who read the hagiographies and construct ideal images of Lewis in their heads. Those people, quite frankly, deserve to be offended, as they're deeply out of touch with reality. Alienus 18:06, 25 March 2006 (UTC)

Alienus, I have seen no one here try to censor the article by removing information. Rather, I have seen legitimate concerns brushed aside by ad hominem arguments and cries of revisionism. The argument that Lewis' interest in BDSM is a biographical fact and so should be included is a total red herring; as I outlined above, there are thousands and thousands of biographical facts about Lewis which aren't mentioned in the article. One only needs to imagine how long the article would be if every single fact relating to Lewis was included, to see that this line of reasoning is null and void. What Lewis had for lunch on the 26th September, 1956, is a biographical fact. Curiously though, given your line of reasoning, you don't seem to be demanding its inclusion.
Something should only be included if it makes the article a better one. I feel that the sexual practices of the subject are only relevant if they allow a greater understanding of the subject as an author and as a person. It is certainly debatable if inclusion here improves the article and gives a deeper understanding of Lewis. Myopic Bookworm mentioned a paper dealing with the links between BDSM fetishes and four early 20th century fantasy authors, and I felt that this could be something we could run with to add greater validity to its inclusion. But it's inclusion is far from a forgone conclusion, and is beyond your, or my, or any other individual's power to decide. MartinRobinson 18:21, 25 March 2006 (UTC)
Alienus, you seems to be suggesting that people who think this passage should be removed are trying to "whitewash Lewis reputation". Can you clarify your statement? If this discussion became your personal crusade against what you believe to be people trying to “hide” certain facts about Lewis, I guess your prejudices will get in the way of any serious discussion.
According to the article (that maybe you should read again), Lewis teenage sadistic fantasies is all that can really be stated as fact on this matter. Lewis had a (maybe romantic) relationship with a bossy woman, so what? You're going way beyond known "facts" when you say that "BDSM was a part of his lifelong sexuality".
My current position, which I already stated above, is that Lewis sadist fantasies may not be relevant enough… especially considering that it can become a new focus of constant controversy requiring *detailed* explanations to resolve NPOV disputes. To be honest, I'm not much interested in this discussion, just wanted to give my two cents. May the wiki be with you. --Leinad ¬ Flag of Brazil.svg »saudações! 18:28, 25 March 2006 (UTC)

  • Reply to MartinRobinson:

It's a red herring to pretend that his documented interest in BDSM is just some trivial fact, one of thousands that we could have included but really shouldn't. Rather, it's a notable detail and, as you admitted, it ties in with the content of his writings, particularly his attitudes towards women. If it were merely yet another minor detail, nobody would care very much either way whether it was included or not. This is demonstrably not the case. Any attempt to remove it must be understood as whitewashing, and that's something that Wikipedia policies strongly oppose. Alienus 19:02, 25 March 2006 (UTC)

  • Reply to Leinad-Z:

If something is controversial, that in itself is reason to include it in the article. Alienus 19:02, 25 March 2006 (UTC)

Alienus, Your response to MartinRobinson came after I asked you to clarify your position. And your answer to him really addressed it! Well, thanks, I guess. . . Your original reply had already given me the impression that you were making ad hominem attacks, now I can be more sure of it.
Notice that if something is potentially controversial, it doesn't necessarily follows that it is something relevant. Wikipedia has a large record of edit wars on incredibly futile matters. (I even saw, once, an article about "the most futile edit wars in Wikipedia"). --Leinad ¬ Flag of Brazil.svg »saudações! 20:32, 25 March 2006 (UTC)

If something is controversial, that means it's not some trivial detail, as it has been quite dishonestly mischaracterized in the attempt to suppress it. As for ad hominem attacks, you seem to be leveling a false accusation at me. It is your job to assume good faith, and to justify any deviation from that assumption. Therefore, you owe me either a full explanation or an immediate apology and retraction. Alienus 20:55, 25 March 2006 (UTC)

Alienus, are you saying that there is absolutely no conceivable reason to exclude details about Lewis' sex-life, other than an attempt at "whitewashing"? That makes as much sense as arguing that it should be excluded because it makes Lewis looks bad or is an attempt at character assassination. Please remember to assume good faith on the part of your fellow editors. There are certainly pros and cons for its inclusion, and it will benefit the article enormously if a consensus is reached here. You can of course revert any changes made, but so can anyone else. A pointless edit war is the last thing any article needs. Once we get down to discussing the issue in a civil fashion without second guessing each other's motives, we may find that we come to an agreement on this issue much faster. MartinRobinson 21:05, 25 March 2006 (UTC)
What can I say? From my point of view, you are the one assuming bad faith for everyone that happens to be disagreeing with your ideas. The main problem is your failure to think of any reason other than "dishonesty" to the people arguing that this matter may not be relevant. To suggest that the other side of an argument is being dishonest fits the definition of an ad hominem attack just fine.
BTW, from your first reply I also though that you were owing me an apology. At least this we have in common. --Leinad ¬ Flag of Brazil.svg »saudações! 21:42, 25 March 2006 (UTC)

  • Reply to MartinRobinson:

There is no justification for deleting this particular detail. The fact that some people might mistakenly think that it should be removed to defend Lewis against what they consider embarassing is just about the only remaining motive that is consistent with the facts. Just to be quite clear, I assumed good faith -- although the evidence is pushing me to overturn this assumption -- and I've been civil all along. I have, however, disagreed with you, and I continue to do so. Alienus 21:49, 25 March 2006 (UTC)

  • Reply to Leinad-Z:

You have left the bounds of civility, so I'm leaving you in the dust. Argue with yourself or find someone willing to be insulted. Alienus 21:49, 25 March 2006 (UTC)

I rearranged the above discussion to preserve the chronological order of the posts. It gives a better visualization of how the dialoge evolved until now. --Leinad ¬ Flag of Brazil.svg »saudações! 09:49, 26 March 2006 (UTC)

Alienus, You may be angry because of the tone in my last post, but remember that:
  1. From the very first reply after my first comment, you started to talk about people trying remove information to "whitewash Lewis reputation".
  2. I expressed the concern that you seemed to be thinking that I and others were trying to “hide” certain facts about Lewis and then clearly asked you to clarify your position... ... You never answered me directly, but proceeded to say to MartinRobinson that "Any attempt to remove [the reference of Lewis sadism from the article] "must" be understood as whitewashing".
  3. You ignored my indications that I was not entirely convinced about the inclusion or the exclusion of the reference. Apparently you preferred to see me as an enemy to be defeated instead of seeing me as a potential ally to be cultivated.
  4. You came to the extreme of making accusations towards me without expressing any doubts, as if these accusations were undisputable facts. It happened especially when you harshly replied that: the importance of Lewis sexuality "...has been quite dishonestly mischaracterized in the attempt to suppress it". How can you make such straight accusation of dishonesty, without any argument to justify it, and latter claim that you where assuming good faith? How can you make such baseless and offending accusation and latter claim that you were "been civil all along"?
The bottom-line is that I also felt much offended in this whole process where, (it seems to me), my good faith was constantly being questioned and, sometimes, even explicitly denied. If it is some huge misunderstanding, please enlighten me. But I can’t see how this could be the case. --Leinad ¬ Flag of Brazil.svg »saudações! 09:49, 26 March 2006 (UTC)

Regarding the sadomasochism, I think its role in his life could actually be expanded in this article, especially in the way that his correspondance with Greeves changed after both of their conversions to Christianity. Greeves was a homosexual/had homosexual inclinations, depending on how one wishes to phrase it. Unforunately all my Lewis books are packed away (I've recently returned from college) but I will pull out some books to get citations for things I remember reading, ie, the power balance in his marriage to Joy (popular gossip was that Joy "wore the pants" and Lewis is remembered by one essayist to have joked about this), and also his notion that one is drawn to particular sins and that one ought to recognize this and fight it, not give into it. joye 06:09, 20 May 2006 (UTC)

I don't think the sadomasochism material should be left in. I don't think Wikipidia should be turned into a collection of mere trivia. ken 01:20, 28 May 2006 (UTC)kdbuffalo
We are, I think, very fortunate in that the content of Wikipedia is not solely determined by you. As you can see, there was much debate and some reverting, but we came to a consensus. And then you walked in and decided to remove a paragraph that has been comfortable in place for some time now. You offer no better basis than those who came before you, so the consensus remains unchanged. If you keep removing that text, I will keep reverting it, until you violate 3RR and get blocked. Al 01:41, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
Please Al, let's keep it civil. Ken is new to the discussion here, so I would say assuming good faith as to the motive for his edits is entirely appropriate (as opposed to threatening him with rule violations). Anyhow, I don't think a consensus was ever actually reached; rather the conversation seemed to be left hanging. I do believe there were a number of issues raised by both sides of the debate, that were never properly resolved.
However, I would suggest that the offending section is left in the article until some sort of consensus is reached here. A revert war gets real old, real quick. Martin 02:48, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
I'm being quite civil, thank you. The consensus was reflected in that part of the article being left in its current state, where's it's been stable. Al 04:17, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
"We came to a consensus"? We did no such thing. I can't speak for anyone else but I have not changed my mind at all. I agree with kdbuffalo that the paragraph should be removed. I decided not to do anything about it because Alienus said, as he has just said again, that he would not allow any change to stay but would keep reverting. It seems pointless to change it if it is only going to be changed back.KaB 05:35, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
I've not thought it a big enough issue to be worth an edit war, but the inclusion of stuff like this reduces Wikipedia to the level of cheap, voyeuristic "journalism" - a la "pulp magazine." Sadly, a lot of articles have the same problem (and it matters not whether I admire or disrespect the subject). The point is we are aiming for a quality publication here. That's sufficient reason to remove it. Pollinator 22:55, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
There's been a lot of dialogue about this topic, but still no basis for removing this detail. Al 11:53, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
I don't think we need any more dialogue on this issue. I think it has come to the point where a vote is necessary. I am going to hold a vote (See below). ken 22:45, 28 May 2006 (UTC)kdbuffalo
Yeah, the fact that as many people consider this vote premature as have voted against keeping the paragraph shows that, indeed, the vote is premature and any result does not indicate consensus.
Look, let's understand what's going on here. C.S. Lewis wrote pious children's books. He is loved by millions and held as a saint by many of them. His biographies verge on hagiographies and the knee-jerk reaction to his sexual views is to remove them so as to preserve his reputation. In other words, censorship comes naturally, especially to the pious (hi, Ken!).
But our job here is neither to praise Lewis nor to smear him. Rather, we're here to make sure the facts are on display. If this were anyone else, I don't think we'd even be discussing this issue. As I see it, the underlying argument is that Lewis' fame as a stand-up Christian earns him protection from NPOV. Of course, I don't see it that way. Al 17:34, 29 May 2006 (UTC)
The problem as I see it, is that it is not a "fact" that Lewis was into BDSM. Private letters between two young men do not constitute irrefutable evidence, and the sources given are nothing more than commentaries on this evidence. It is totally factual to state that "There is speculation that the intense discipline at Wynyard greatly traumatised Lewis and developed what biographer Alan Jacobs described as "mildly sadomasochistic fantasies"", but it may or may not be factual that "the fact of Lewis' early interest in sado-masochism and sexual torture is supported by letters he wrote to Arthur Greeves....". Rather I think if it is to be included, it need to be qualified in some way. The sentence doesn't even really make sense; hypothesises are "supported" by evidence, but "facts" are, by definition, always true, whether they are supported by anything or not. Martin 00:22, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
I think the now-public letters are pretty clear. They don't say much about actual activities, but they do tell us what was on his mind. In other words, I agree that we can't be sure whether the discipline at Wynyard is responsible (though we're free to attribute this claim to the person who made it), but we can be quite sure that he had such fantasies. I'm quite willing to modify the text to avoid stating as fact what is actually the opinion of his biographers, though. Al 02:53, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
Well guys and gals, what is the consensus here? Are we going to leave it in unchanged, remove it, or insert a modified version of it? Martin 13:51, 2 June 2006 (UTC)
Let's leave it in, or at least some reference to it. For those of us who, for example, have wondered why Lewis favored Pugatory ("you must suffer to enter Heaven"), this insight into his personality is useful. The current passage is strange in that it implies that SM tendencies arise from trauma, but the passage labels this inference as speculation, so let's just leave it in and move on. Jonathan Tweet 03:05, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

That implication is found in the original source, for what it's worth. I don't actually have much of a clue about where such tendencies come from, so I didn't see fit to editorialize by modifying that part. Al 03:43, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

God in the Dock

anyone fancy expanding that article? Clinkophonist 21:35, 20 April 2006 (UTC)


I think it would be nice to add some dates, such as when works were written, to this. Thanks!