Thursday Dances: A Shelf Full Of…

…well, they’re full of lots of things, really – a good 400 books and over 250 authors.  But some are clear outliers in my anal-retentive meticulous books-by-author list.  Bill Amend (Foxtrot) and Bill Watterson (Calvin & Hobbes) have 6 collections apiece on my shelves; Orson Scott Card (Ender/Bean series) also contributes 6 volumes thus far.  G.K. Chesterton and Stephen Lawhead each wrote 7 books currently in my possession; Tolkien wrote 8 books in 6 volumes; and J.K. Rowling 9.  Shakespeare’s 38 plays comprise one big volume and 8 of them are in smaller volumes (not to mention a collection of poetry).

But hands down, the most-represented author is C. S. Lewis, with 13 works of fiction and some 19 volumes of essays, scholarship, apologetics, and general good sense.

I could carry on telling you at what age I acquired each book, or which channel in particular brought it to me.  I could send you ‘round to read my thoughts on Lewis and didacticism.  I could quote Till We Have Faces or The Four Loves or Perelandra or any of the rest until I were blue in the face.

There are a lot of things I could do.  Right now, I shall share a picture of the man responsible for the availability of so many of Lewis’s words: Dr. Walter Hooper, a sweet man and Lewis’s secretary in the months preceding his death.  He has published a number of Lewis’s poems, essays, and letters posthumously.  To an extent, that means he is responsible for the bounty of my bookshelf.

Our merry band in Dr. Hooper’s flat after dinner – March 2007

So here’s to him, and to Jack, and to a shelf-ful of delights!

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16 thoughts on “Thursday Dances: A Shelf Full Of…

    • Haha, you may! I’m on the left.

      Also notable: the fellow next to Dr. Hooper is Davey of Davey’s Daily Poetry (though sadly it’s been over a year since he’s done his daily distribution).

      • Smiling muse! Your complexion is lighter, but you remind me of my lovely friend, Alison. 🙂

        Did he post his own poetry or just random poetry? I can’t imagine keeping up with either, but then I am neither a poet nor more than a casual reader of poems.

      • Hooray for being reminiscent of loveliness!

        He actually ran a free poetry service; he had a big e-mail list and each weekday he would send out a poem. There was a theme for each week (by individual poets, poems in translation, epithalamia, etc.), and he kept (on the old version of his site) a few months of archives.

        But then he got married and presumably had to do something more remunerative (nor is it beyond belief that a year or two of sending out poems burnt him out somewhat).

  1. Hah! Don’t sell yourself short! You are quite lovely in your own right.

    I can’t even wrap my head around that much poetry, but I am impressed he kept it up so long!

  2. Eh? Do you mean to say you actually met Walter Hooper? That’s…that’s…like one step below meeting Douglas Gresham, which is one step below meeting Christopher Tolkien! Which is to say, it’s still really really awesome! What were the circumstances, might I inquire?

    • Well, it’s like this. Dr. Cuneo had gone to Merton and, somewhere along the way, made the acquaintance of various folk of a Lewisian bent. Eventually he decided to make the most of those connections and take 4 Hillsdale students on an exclusive trip with him. A few dozen people, my green little freshman self among them, applied to go.

      I wasn’t chosen.

      But fortunately, he had a good enough time that he did a similar trip the next year (when I had more Lewis under my belt and was taking Restoration and Romantic Literature with him). A senior fellow, two junior ladies, and I went with Dr. Cuneo to meet Dr. Hooper (Lewis’s secretary), Francis Warner (Lewis’s last pupil), Dr. Hurst (…who did something important, but mostly looked like Bilbo to my mind), and Dr. Ward (best voice for reciting poetry ever, and author of the Planet Narnia book that keeps coming up – Lewis scholar and, at that point, chaplain of Peterhouse in Cambridge).

      It was the last such trip Cuneo did; he offered a three-week summer course on Lewis (during which time Urania was busy with Smith’s Fairy Stories class, if I recall correctly), and then left Hillsdale to become an Orthodox priest. I keep thinking I should write and see how he’s doing.

      As for Dr. Hooper himself, we went to his flat for tea, then headed over to The Plough for a luxurious dinner. Lots of talking and many stories…best spring break ever.

      • I can! I’ve been gone since 2008.

        Maybe a few of us bloggers should just plan one big trip to the UK. We could meet in London, then travel around to various sites, go up to Scotland (where I could show you around Edinburgh and St Andrews), then hope over to Ireland…

      • Beautiful plan. I’ve given this summer over to Carolina and California, but next summer’s open…say when, good sir…

      • Hm…well, fall of next year I hope to be going to grad school somewhere, so that summer might be a good last hurrah before academia sets in again. It still sounds like a wild dream, but maybe one worth shooting for.

      • “…before academia sets in…”

        I’ve been gone longer than I thought; I don’t recall academia being so much like contracting a disease ^_~.

      • Oh, it is. An addicting one, that sucks you in even as it saps your strength. It spikes your curiosity levels and gives you spurts of mental strength, but usually in moments of desperation. And you don’t want to stop, even though it keeps draining your wallet.

  3. I blame Academia for the many holes in my brain. It has taught me much, widened my horizons and been a pleasure while it did, but it has also caused brain-damage!

  4. Pingback: Conclusion « Egotist's Club

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