C.S. Lewis’ First Letter to his Best Friend

Letters are wonderful things – the writing of them is cathartic, and the reading of them makes distances seem shorter. I’m currently reading Tolkien’s letters (though have had to put it on hold for the summer since I accidentally left that book at school), and the sheer wonder that comes from reading something by someone so admired, about small things, family life, domesticities and everyday events, is fascinating. I’d love to procure a collection of Lewis’ early letters too. I have spent all of May reading his works – Narnia, the Space Trilogy, Screwtape. I’d love to know more about the man (and the boy) behind the writings that have so enthralled me. I can’t believe I’ve never read much besides Narnia before. I see now what I have been missing.
I hope very much that real paper letters, written by hand with real pens and pencils, never go out of fashion. I spent the past semester at school writing a letter every week, and have kept that habit up throughout the summer so far. I hope to continue it for the foreseeable future. It has become one of the best things I do, and the most fulfilling. …Even if here at home, in Middle Of Nowhere, Vermont, not much happens to write about besides moving the sheep to new pasture and the odd escaped pig.

A Pilgrim in Narnia

Collected Letters vol 1@EssentialLewis tweeted out that 101 years ago today, a young C.S. Lewis wrote his first letter to his best friend, Arthur Greeves. Lewis was at boarding school, and Greeves sent a letter a couple of weeks earlier. I thought it would be fun to see the teen Lewis in confidence. We get to see how very much he hates school, his early impressions of the “hot, ugly country of England” that would become home, as well as some of his poor spelling and inside jokes. It also seems he is becoming a bit of a snob–or perhaps showing off a bit for a new friend. Or perhaps he just misses home.

For your feature Friday, here’s that whole letter. The letters to Arthur Greeves were published in 1979 as They Stand Together: The Letters of C. S. Lewis to Arthur Greeves (1914–1963) and the Collected Letters volume 1.

Dear Arthur,

I…

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