Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The last interview (Part 5)

The hour and a half I spent with Mr. Clive Staples Lewis in his quarters at Magdalene College, Cambridge University, will remain a treasured memory. I found Professor Lewis in his modest establishment, surrounded by the historic atmosphere of the old university city, engaged in the quiet daily stint of teaching medieval classic literature. It was hard to realize that this unassuming man is probably the outstanding Christian literary figure of our age. I was prompted to say to him:

the-screwtape-letters-cslSherwood Wirt: Professor Lewis, your writings have an unusual quality not often found in discussions of Christian themes. You write as though you enjoyed it.

C.S. Lewis: If I didn’t enjoy writing I wouldn’t continue to do it. Of all my books, there was only one I did not take pleasure in writing.

Wirt: Which one?

Lewis: The Screwtape Letters. They were dry and gritty going. At the time, I was thinking of objections to the Christian life, and decided to put them into the form, ‘That’s what the devil would say.’ But making goods ‘bad’ and bads ‘good’ gets to be fatiguing.

Sherwood Wirt interviewing C.S. Lewis, “Cross-Examination,” God in the Dock (Eerdmans: 1970) 263 with appropriate additions from the originally published interview in Decision magazine, September 1963, ©1963 Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

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