1934-1943 E-mail

Yours, Jack

 (pg. 43-98)

The first set of general questions will apply to each of the readings we do in Yours, Jack.  However, not every question will fit every selection. 

They are followed by questions specific to the letters in our selection for the evening.  Finally, there are notes and brief biographies of some of the recipients of the letters.

General Questions

1.  What do you observe from these letters about Jack's heart? mind? soul?

2.  What did you learn about Jack's relationship with others? with God?

3.  Do you see hints of themes that Lewis will later develop in his published writings?

4.  What insight, if any, can you apply to your life?

5.  What is your favorite expression or passage or piece of advice?

Specific Questions

6.  What do you think about Jack's comments regarding Hitler, Stalin, and the Gestapo?    See pages 71, 77-78.

7.  Read Lewis's advice to a new believer on page 81.  What advice would you give to someone new or returning to Christianity?

8.  How does reading about Jack's spiritual trough periods (e.g. page 88) affect your view of him?  of your own spiritual journey?


Manichaeism:  a dualistic religion created in the 3rd century by Mani, a Persian philosopher.  Considered heresy by the western Christian church.

Felix opportunitate mortis:  fortunate in the opportune moment of his death, Tacitus

Mrs. Moore (1872-1951):  Janie King Moore, also referred to in Lewis's letters as Minto, Jane, or my mother.  She was the mother of Paddy and Maureen Moore.  Jack and Paddy made a vow that, if one of them died in WWI, the survivor would care for the slain one's family.  Paddy died in battle.  Thereafter, Jack shared a home with Mrs. Moore and Maureen until the latter married and former passed away in 1951.

Paul Elmer More (1864-1937):  American journalist and one-time Harvard professor of Sanskrit and literature who wrote for the New York Evening Post and The Nation.  Later in life, he wrote several books of Christian apologetics.  He was associated with Irving Babbitt in the New Humanism movement.  His major work was the 11-volume Shelbourne Essays.

Dom Bede Griffiths (1906-1993):  a student of Lewis's in the 1920s.  Both were atheists at the time and became Christians in 1931.  Griffiths embraced Catholicism and entered a Benedictine order.  Lewis dedicated his autobiography, Surprised by Joy, to Bede Griffiths.  In 1955 Griffiths moved to India and established a Catholic/Hindu ashram.  Lewis did not support Griffiths attempts to blend Christianity and Hinduism; nevertheless, the men were lifelong friends.

Charles Williams (1886-1945):  Williams worked for the Oxford University Press in London.  He was proofing Lewis's The Allegory of Love, when Lewis wrote the March 11, 1936 letter praising Williams's The Place of the Lion.  During WWII, the OUP moved its London operations to Oxford, and Williams joined the Inklings.  He wrote novels, literary studies and occasionally lectured at the university.  Lewis dedicated A Preface to Paradise Lost to Williams.  That Hideous Strength, the third book of the space trilogy, has been called a Charles Williams novel written by C. S. Lewis.
When Williams died unexpectedly in 1945, Jack and Warren felt his loss keenly.  W. H. Auden said of Williams, "In his company one felt twice as intelligent and infinitely nicer than, out of it, one knew oneself to be." 

Sister Penelope (1890-1977):  Sister Penelope was a nun in the Community of St. Mary the Virgin.  She wrote to Lewis after reading Out of the Silent Planet.  Lewis dedicated the next book of the space trilogy, Perelandra, to the nuns.  During WWII, Lewis sent a manuscript of The Screwtape Letters to Penelope for safekeeping.  When she tried to return the manuscript, Lewis declined.  The manuscript was eventually sold to pay for repairs on the chapel and is now at the New York Public Library.

Patricia Thomson (1921-1998):  Oxford student who later became editor of Sir Thomas Wyatt and lecturer in English at Queen Mary College, London University. 

© 2008 by Allyson Wieland