Belfast Telegraph

Letters that reveal inner thoughts of CS Lewis go up for auction

Author: CS Lewis
Author: CS Lewis
Claire McNeilly

By Claire McNeilly

Letters and documents written by The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe creator CS Lewis will be sold at auction next week.

The missives, penned by the former Fellow and ex-tutor at Oxford, were recovered from his stepson's house in Co Cavan, with some expected to fetch over £1,000 at auction.

One of the great Belfast writers of the 20th century, Lewis wrote more than 30 books including The Chronicles of Narnia series, and his connection to Ireland is evident in much of his work.

Over the years, however, Lewis penned his innermost thoughts and scholarly learnings into a series of letters and documents, drafts of which have now been acquired by Victor Mee Auctions.

The pieces have been recovered from Rathvinden House in Leighlinbridge, which for many years was the home of Lewis's stepson, Douglas Gresham.

The Lewis letters are expected to be of significant interest to many scholars and literary lovers from around the world, with the collection listed in two lots: Lot 213A, estimated to sell from £535 to £1,070, and Lot 213B, expected to sell from £357 to £535.

Dated from 1913 to 1949, Lot 213A includes original CS Lewis draft documents titled Supplement, which the team at Victor Mee Auctions believe may have been placed within Volume III of his Collected Letters.

Lot 213B, titled The Great War Letters, contains series one letters one to seven, and series two letters one and two - 32 pages in total. These potentially unseen Lewis documents were written in approximately 1927 between CS Lewis and Owen Barfield about the Great War.

Put forward by the Graham family, recent sellers of Rathviden House, the Lewis documents have been safely kept since they were discovered in 2012.

Lewis compiled a vast collection of intimate letters written to friends, family, and fans, spanning from his youth to the weeks before his death.

The letters illuminate Lewis's thoughts on God, humanity, nature, and creativity and delve in particular detail into his conversion from atheism to Christianity as well as his philosophical thoughts on spirituality and personal faith.

"We are very excited to be able to offer these fantastic CS Lewis letters to interested bidders," said auctioneer Victor Mee.

"As these are draft documents it is virtually impossible for us to confirm exactly where the pieces have come from within Lewis' collections, but they really do give a great insight into Lewis' world."

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