C.S. Lewis: Letters to an American Lady



pdf online Letters to an American Lady AUTHOR C.S. Lewis – chernov–art.com

Perience the resurrection of the body loss and love The few letters in this volume written by Warnie Lewis Joy Davidman and Walter Hooper were very ite good tooThis will be a book to go back and re read again numerous times Tethered to the World (A Phantom Touched uite good Read it again in January 2018 and it remainsite good I haven t read as much CS Lewis as I would like I ve read neither all of Mere Christianity or The Screwtape Letters horror of all horrors but I ve very much liked his autobiographical works Surprised by Joy and A Grief Observed particularly I first read some of Lewis letters in A Severe Mercy where Sheldon Vanauken begins a correspondence and friendship with him an influential one to say the least These letters however are a another kettle of fish altogether They are one side of clearly a voluminous correspondence of thirteen years and nothing is seen of what was written to him But somethings do come out looking at his responses In truth I would certainly think that they started as fan mail and of a strange sort Come do tell me if you were writing to your favorite author would you mention that your back hurts your friends are mean your dog is sick and you can t find a job Or persist in writing him long letters to which he can t help but respond in short and say I really do hate writing And have him say almost plaintively for three years in a row please do not write or expect an answer during Christmastide And yet there is something very comforting in Lewis continued kindness seen from his reactions to her letters to him He assures her of his continued prayers doles advice and even supports her via a stipend from his American publisher There is the hint of the scholarly professor who got p early wrote his books on the side can laugh at a joke and misses his long walks but wouldn t trade his health for that of his dying wife s Indeed one of my favorite parts of the book however was a letter written by Joy Davidson Lewis writing in his place when he was conducting exams at Cambridge there you can see some of the spark that hides behind the bare H in A Grief Observed And that strikes me as one of the telling parts of this correspondence yes this may have been a marvelously one sided conversation at times but whether it be simple responsibility kindness or Christian charity it continued for thirteen years even when he himself was facing a great deal of pain and personal griefOne of the estions that came to me while reading this book was why were these letter published as a collection Indeed their very ordinariness was appealing I suspect but really how did they reflect said American Lady And what becomes obvious is this these were some of the first letters given to the Marion Wade Center at Wheaton College right when they were beginning to collect writings by Lewis and others of his circle Their publication and the collection s curator who as the book s editor has an obvious admiration for Lewis did much to recommend the rather new center and its collections I would think And who can begrudge them thatThere is nothing particularly special about these letters no great insights or bursts of wisdom But there is a steady stream of kindness wisdom and patience one that makes me rather jealous I never had the chance to write to him myself Oh where to start This book is so appealing on multiple levels first it appeals to the nosy snoop in me which SO enjoys reading other people s mail especially people in whom I have such an interest Thankfully this book allowed me to do that without breaking any federal laws here or abroad Secondly it made Jack Lewis even easier for me to love than he had been before The situation was this Lewis already known. As preferences in cats Lewis himself clearly had no idea that these letters would ever see publication but they reveal facets of his character little known even to devoted readers of his fantasy and scholarly writings a man patiently offering encouragement and guidance to another Christian thr.

We were talking about cats and dogs the other day and decided that both have consciences but the dog being an honest humble person always has a bad one but the cat is a Pharisee and always has a good one I very much enjoyed seeing Lewis my hero kind of behind the scenes like this there s always another facet of him to know This collection of letters is at times touching at times encouraging and at all times fascinating for the Jack junkie In a time when people still communicated by writing letters and sending them in the mail CS Lewis had many correspondents whom he had never met in person The American lady was one such person She initiated the conversation and saved Lewis responses offering them after his death to Wheaton College with the proviso that her identity not be revealedLewis hated writing letters something that is mentioned a number of times here He came to dislike Christmas partly because so many letters arrivedIf these were hints the American lady didn t take them continuing to write even around Christmas and complaining if she thought Lewis responses came too slowlyLewis felt it was his duty to respond to all letters and as his fame increased so did the burdenI can t help but wish the American lady had reduced that burden ever so slightly by keeping her correspondence to a single fan letter But the happy result is this book which offers plenty of spiritual insights but also insights than we see in most places into CS Lewis the personOn big events I m not a man for crowds and Best ClothesOn his fears Poverty frightens me than anything else except large spiders and the tops of cliffsOn Christmas This season is to me mainly hard grueling work write write write till I wickedly say that if there were less good will going through the post there would be peace on earthOn cats and dogs We were talking about cats and dogs the other day and decided that both have consciences but the dog being an honest humble person always has a bad one but the cat is a Pharisee and always has a good oneOn journalism I never read the papers Why does anyone They re nearly all lies and one has to wade thru such reams of verbiage and write The Forked Tongue Revisited up to find out even what they re sayingOn journalists That journalists can be saved is a doctrine if not contrary to yet certainly above reasonOn rumors What on earth is the trouble about there being a rumour of my death There s nothing discreditable in dying I ve know the most respectable people do itOn hospitals I know only too well what even the nicest hospital is like how the nurses all vanish at the one moment of the day when you really need them how the televisions and wirelesses all around make night hideous how the night nurse wakes youp from the first really refreshing sleep you ve had in a month at midnight to give you your sleeping pillOn early morning I love the empty silent dewy cobwebby hoursOn charity Another thing that annoys me is when people say Why did you give that man money He ll probably go and drink it My reply is But if I d kept it I should probably have drunk it It s a little strange reading someone s mail but in this case a blessingencouragement These letters are written to a seemingly lonely older lady who shares her anxieties worries and struggles and he patiently and faithfully responds encouraging her Christian walk and faith Worthwhile Tonight I finished reading Letters To An American Lady by CSLewis which I got for free at work a few weeks ago I have never actually read this one by Lewis before It was a moving correspondence between Lewis and this American lady about anything from cats food pain death health prayer finances the weather faith books theology daily ex. On October 26 1950 C S Lewis wrote the first of than a hundred letters he would send to a woman he had never met but with whom he was to maintain a correspondence for the rest of his lifeRanging broadly in subject matter the letters discuss topics as profound as the love of God and as frivolous.

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Worldwide and well respected literarily and academically received all kinds of letters from all kinds of people Returning them all of them was an exercise in self discipline and subjection of his talents in spite of a rheumatic wrist and a supreme distaste for letter writing When he returned Mary s first letter he was kind and brief and invited no replybut he got one anyway and HER letter did beg a response we don t see her letters but by his responses we can tell that she expected one What developed was a long term relationship as lopsided pen pals that lasted ntil Lewis debilitating illnesses finally made him retire from all activity and he died soon afterward Lewis responses are interesting in and of themselves but they al This collection of letters is proof that CS Lewis is a patient and pious Christian than I Had I been the correspondent with this American lady I would surely have left off after fewer than half a dozen and ignored any further attempt on her part Had I been titling this collection it might have been Letters to a Pietistic Pessimistic Hypochondriac Fortunately for my spiritual well being I neither had the privilege of being this lady s correspondent nor of titling the book which meant that I could read Lewis s 100 letters that year after year encourage the American lady to endure suffering with patience and never to worry about past or future His own patient gentle dealings with what we must imagine were the overly long complaint laced letters he received provides a gentle reminder to all of s that we all need to repent and to forgive and to pray constantly In describing this book I wrote to a friend todayThis summer when Amanda the boys and I were visiting with her family Jessica Amanda s sister in law wanted to take the girls antiuing In fact this may be one of my wife s least favorite activities In short she is not a shopper Nonetheless because she is a good sport and because she loves Jessica who is married to her younger brother Wade she obligedAt some little hole in the wall shop in a small town in this nondescript state of ours my wife found a 1967 copy of CS Lewis Letters to an American Lady Being the enormous Lewis ite that I am and not ashamed to admit it she purchased the book for the bargain sum of five or six dollars It has been without a doubt one of my favorite reads ever In the short 100 or so pages I have learned about Lewis the man than a dozen books or biographies would have ever shown me It is a truly amazing look into how his theology actually impacted his normal every day life I think I will read it again soon And often If you love CS Lewis then you are not going to want to miss this group of letters sent over the course of many years to an American lady named Mary Several things make these incredible First the Blue Crush (Blue, uick glimpses of genius that cropp here and there Second the Flight of the Piasa unbelievable patience Lewis has for thisite cranky lady We don t even get her side of the conversation but it is clear that she is a pathological complainer with a chip on her shoulder Lewis ministers to this woman year after year treating her with respect and honor and gently coaxing her to trust the Lord Third the glimpses of Lewis at home and at work with Joy and Warnie over the years Fourth Lewis gave this woman money over many long years His attitude about this is terribly convicting Did she deserve it I seriously doubt it but to Lewis that was irrelevant As someone who struggles to answer email and IMs I am astounded once again by CS Lewis s genuinely kind nature I suppose in one sense Mary Shellborne fulfilled her purpose in life by being the conduit of these lettersLetters are my new favorite genr. Ough the day to day joys and sorrows of ordinary life Letters to an American Lady stands as a fascinating and moving testimony to the remarkable humanity and even remarkable Christianity of C S Lewis and is richly deserving of the position it now takes among the balance of his Christian writing.

Joy Davidman