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Friday, December 20, 2013

January 9th Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy Sayers

On January 9th the C.S. Lewis Society of Harrisonburg will meet to discuss the Dorothy Sayers Lord Peter Wimsey mystery Murder Must Advertise.  Dorothy Sayers is often considered an informal Inkling. She and Jack Lewis became friends during the period when Lewis was broadcasting for the BBC the programs that jointly became Mere Christianity.  Both Lewis and Sayers were influenced by G. K. Chesterton whose The Everlasting Man we will be reading late in the year.  This work is relatively easy to acquire for ebooks, Kindles, Nooks, or in hard copy.  Our discussion leader will be Elizabeth.

The Future Awaits: The C.S. Lewis Society of Harrisonburg's Plan For 2014

'Tis The Season To Be Jolly ... Fal la la la la ...

Another December party for the C.S. Lewis Society of Harrisonburg is concluded.  This time we invaded the home of Iain Maclean and a marvelous adventure it was.  Iain has the special good taste to have books everywhere.  Little did we know how much of a pastry chef Stephen was as he produced pies and quiche to satisfy the most discerning palate.  There were cookies and other treats and fun was had by all.  We scored a true record by getting all the planning for 2014 done early because access to the treats was held hostage to completing the planning. 
So what does 2014 hold?  The theme focused in on Influences On C.S. Lewis and Elizabeth brought along a list of some which I'll just cite.  The Top Ten Books that influenced C.S. Lewis as published by the magazine The Christian Century in 1962 are: 1) Phantastes by George MacDonald; 2) The Everlasting Man by G.K. Chesterton; 3) The Aeneid by Virgil; 4) The Temple by George Herbert; 5) The Prelude by William Wordsworth; 6) The Idea of the Holy by Rudolf Otto; 7) The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius; 8) Life of Samual Johnson by James Boswell; 9) Descent into Hell by Charles Williams; and 10) Theism and Humanism by Arthur James Balfour.  We've previously read Phantastes and Descent into Hell so we though picking a couple of more might be good. 
Lively discussion ensued and we came up with the following schedule based on the theme Influences. 

January 9th Dorothy Sayers Murder Must Advertise a Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery. 
This is available in paperback, Nook, and Kindle formats for nominally six or seven dollars.  Our discussion leader will be Elizabeth.

February 13th Virgil The Aeneid (Books 1 to 6)
This important epic was a significant influence on C.S. Lewis and Lewis himself undertook a translation which while incomplete was recently published (see ).  Stephen will be our discussion leader and recommended the Fitzgerald translation.  There are many translations out there and often they are available for free from ebooks or Barnes and Noble or Amazon. 

March 13th Virgil The Aeneid (Books 7 to 12)
We conclude with the second half of the Aeneid with Stephen leading our discussion.

April 10th Dante The Inferno
Dante's Divine Comedy was an influence on Lewis's The Screwtape Letters, and The Great Divorce.  Lewis was an admirer of Dante's poetry and a member of a Dante group at Oxford.  Iain will be our discussion leader for this adventure leading to May's rereading of The Screwtape Letters.  If you're getting a copy of The Divine Comedy it would be best perhaps to get the whole work which includes the sections Purgatorio, and Paradiso which have been suggested as a continuation.

May 8th C.S. Lewis The Screwtape Letters
We've read The Screwtape Letters before of course but it never hurts to read a classic again as Jack would advise and as he did advise in On the Reading of Old Books.  No doubt he'd be a bit amused to have his books considered old but in our every changing world yesterday is seen as old.  Jessica will be our discussion leader.

June 12th James Stewart Bell and Anthony P. Dawson From the Library of C.S. Lewis: Selections from Writers Who Influenced His Spiritual Journey
Many writers influenced C.S. Lewis's spiritual journey back to faith.  This book is a compendium of excerpts from these writers.  Each section is short so you might consider reading a few a day as spiritual reflections.  Ray will be our discussion leader.

July 10th J.R.R. Tolkien On Fairy Stories and Leaf by Niggle
Any publication that contains these is fine.  They are both available on-line as pdf files.  The first is 27 pages and the second is eleven pages.  Each is important and reflects Tolkien's deep thoughts about the role of the imagination and the act of creation.  We don't have a discussion leader yet, so here's an opportunity.

August 14th C.S. Lewis  On Stories and Other Essays On Literature
In this collection of essays by C.S. Lewis we'll be focusing on the continuing theme of imaginative literature so that we'll be emphasizing the essays: On Stories; On Three Ways of Writing for Children; Sometimes Fairy Stories May Say Best What's To Be Said; and On Juvenile Tastes.  The essays in this volume are a fun read.  We don't have a discussion leader yet, so here's an opportunity.

September 11th Jane Austen Persuasion
C.S. Lewis was an admirer of Jane Austen seeing her age as a dividing line between an age when people were still mannered and rational and an age that was increasingly irrational.  Those interested in more on that theme should read Lewis's de descriptione temporum which can be found at   We don't have a discussion leader yet, so here's an opportunity.

October 9th G.K. Chesterton The Everlasting Man
Together with Orthodoxy, The Everlasting Man is Chesterton's masterpiece of faith and apologetics and it led a young Oxford Don back to his faith as described in Surprised by Joy.  Chesterton's book is a romp of good humor and faultless development, a send up of all the canards of the modern age.  Lewis loved it and loved Chesterton.  We don't have a discussion leader yet, so here's an opportunity.

November 13th C.S. Lewis Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold
This is a book that C.S. Lewis considered his best.  It retells the myth of Cupid and Psyche in a way that communicates many deep spiritual messages.  Here's a review  to whet your appetite.  We don't have a discussion leader yet, so here's an opportunity.

December 11th or some other date TBD We are fortunate indeed to have Stephen Chappell volunteer to host the annual December Christmas party where we do this planning for the year to come.  The date will be further discussed since we want to make sure Stephen and Iain are finished with that grading chore so they can fully enjoy the festivities with us.