ALL MY ROAD BEFORE ME

THE DIARY OF C.S. LEWIS, 1922-1927

Lewis's private account of his undergraduate years at Oxford, edited and introduced by his literary executor and former personal secretary. In 1922, Lewis was completing his studies of philosophy and the classics at University College, Oxford, and looking for some means of advancement in the academic world. Still an atheist, he had already fought as an infantry officer in France and established a reputation as a scholar of great promise. His diary records all the usual routines of a man in his situation—notations on books, debates with tutors and classmates, examinations—set against the backdrop of a domestic life shared with Janie King Moore, his companion and (probable) lover. Some 30 years his senior, Moore was the mother of one of Lewis's classmates who had been killed in the war. Lewis kept his relations with her secret from his family and colleagues (possibly out of a fear of blackmail from her estranged husband), and they lived precariously on his student allowance, moving frequently from house to house as their money gave out. In 1925, Lewis was elected a Fellow of Magdalen College. This confirmed his academic status and eased his finances, but his career was still far from assured, and the picture that emerges from his journals is one of great uncertainty tempered by youthful optimism. Always gregarious, Lewis had already formed a large circle of friends, who are portrayed vividly and effectively throughout. Editor Hooper organizes his material admirably, supplying annotations and several pages of biographical outlines, as well as a brief and readable introduction. Despite the omissions (about a third of the manuscript was cut), the narrative is smooth and comprehensible. An agreeable depiction of a writer's private life, but limited in scope. Essential reading for Lewis fans, it may strike the general reader as too parochial.

Pub Date: July 22, 1991

ISBN: 0156046431

Page Count: 350

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1991

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NUTCRACKER

This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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TO THE ONE I LOVE THE BEST

EPISODES FROM THE LIFE OF LADY MENDL (ELSIE DE WOLFE)

An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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