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The Diary of C.S. Lewis, 1922-1927

by C.S. Lewis

Pub Date: July 22nd, 1991
ISBN: 0156046431
Publisher: Harcourt

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.