Monday, January 11, 2016
The man who saved C.S. Lewis’ works
There was much packed into the months that these men worked and lived together. Hooper tells the story of Lewis giving money to a beggar on the street. Hooper asked him if he was not concerned that the beggar would use the money for drink. Lewis replied, “I don’t know, but if I kept the money, that’s what I would use it for.” CS Lewis was a literary giant, but was not at all impressed with his notoriety. He laughed at the idea that writers were quoting him, and said to Hooper one day, “CS Lewis says he wants a pot of coffee. And CS Lewis says you are going to make it for me. And CS Lewis says, I am going to drink it.”
Hooper discovered Lewis’ love for tea at their first meeting, as they drank pot after pot together, until Hooper’s bladder was about to burst. He asked his host if he could use the bathroom, and Lewis took him to a room that had a bathtub in it, and nothing else. He handed him four towels and several bars of soap, and then walked out. Hooper didn’t know what to do, but finally he went to Lewis and said, “It wasn’t actually a bath I wanted.” Lewis laughed and said, “I know! Maybe this will cure you of those American euphemisms. Now, let’s start over. Where do you want to go?”
Walter Hooper has been a literary trustee for Lewis’ works for more than 50 years, editing more than 20 of them, publishing collections of Lewis’ letters, and recovering books that had gone out of print.
When asked about his favorite book by Lewis, Hooper doesn’t hesitate. He has read “That Hideous Strength” more than 20 times. When asked which book Americans should read by Lewis if they could only read one, he says it is “The Abolition of Man,” because “The west is in the grip of relativism … If I said, ‘It’s wrong for these people to commit adultery,’ you might say, ‘That’s up to them.’ I don’t think it is up to them. I think the way we behave even in our own homes affects the whole world.”
Want to hear more about Walter Hooper and CS Lewis? Go to http://www.metaxastalk.com/podcast/monday-december-28-2015/. There are 6 parts.