Pretty good feature piece at NYT about LWW and Lewis, though I have two quibbles:
[T]here are some Hollywood observers who seem to believe that there is a good reason Lewis is among the last of the classic children’s authors to be adapted for the movies, and that in taking on Narnia, Disney has backed itself into a corner. If the studio plays down the Christian aspect of the story, it risks criticism from the religious right, the argument goes; if it is too upfront about the religious references, on the other hand, that could be toxic at the box office.
I assume that the writer is referring to “playing down the Christian aspect” in the marketing. Such a worry is misplaced. There’s no need to mention the Christian aspect of the story in the mass marketing. Every Christian worth his salt has heard that it’s a Christian-based film. If there is a need to get the word out among Christians, it’s being accomplished just fine through the “sub-strata” marketing of the film: disbursing ten-minute excerpts to local churches.
If the writer is referring to the content of the film itself, the concern is ludicrous. Just adapt the book the best you can for the screen. The religious message is there and the allegory isn’t particularly deep or complex, but the Christianity is not overt. I read the books during my middle school years, and I had no idea there was a Christian message in them (perhaps I’m daft, but even when Aslan was killed and resurrected, it didn’t dawn on me). Make the film for the sake of the story and let any religious messages work themselves out.
Did they actually sleep together, this earnest, scholarly young man, conventional in almost every other way, and a woman 26 years his senior? Walter Hooper, the editor of Lewis’s “Collected Letters,” thinks it “not improbable.” A.N. Wilson, the best and most persuasive of Lewis’s biographers, argues that there’s no reason at all to think they didn’t, leaving us with the baffling and disquieting psychological picture of C.S. Lewis, the great scholar and writer and Christian apologist-to-be, pedaling off on his bicycle, his academic gown flapping in the wind, to have a nooner with Mum.
The writer here is talking about Lewis’ odd relationship with the mother of his friend, Edward Moore. They agreed to take care of each other’s mother if the other died, and Moore did. Lewis lived up to his promise with incredible loyalty, and his friends and biographers have puzzled about it for the past fifty years.
I don’t know if Lewis had an affair with the woman, but I’m assuming the NYT writer came up with the most damning evidence possible, and the best he has is this quote: “there’s no reason at all to think they didn’t.” And that from a biographer who isn’t particularly fond of Christianity. With that piece of evidence the writer wants to imagine Lewis riding off for a nooner? That writer has an over-active imagination, as have many others.
The Narrowness of Novelty
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