Kickstarting the C.S. Lewis Library Project

Posted September 11, 2010 9:44 am by Tirian

Our friend Amanda Patchin (200books.com) is starting up a new project to create a searchable database of books that C.S. Lewis owned and read.  She writes “There are very limited resources for the fan or scholar who wants to explore the books this amazing author enjoyed. Himself a lover of books – both the physical objects and the words they contain – Lewis is an incredible resource for the devoted reader. His passion for books is all over his writing. His own library is therefore full of interest to his readers and this project will, in a way, open it to all.” Please read more about the project at kickstarter.com and consider joining me to help get this project off the ground.

18 Comments For This Story

  • Sir Jack says:

    wow! thats great!
    c.s.lewis, is really one of the best autors EVER! and his works are really great.

    • narnian1 says:

      you misspelled "misspelled" 🙂

    • Skandar4Lyfe says:

      dang sarah u just got dissed!

    • Eavis says:

      Goodness, people do this all the time. Ever hear of chatspeak? *shudders* if people choose to mangle English and Spelling and Grammar, what can we say? Besides making sure our children don’t do it…

    • narnian1 says:

      yeah, spelling wrong on the internet bothers me, but I never say anything. But I couldn’t help but point out someone’s mistake when they feel it their job to correct someone else 😛

    • Sir jack says:

      yeah, spelling wrong on the internet normaly bothers me too, 😀
      but my english is so crappy, I’m happy, as soon as my senteces make sence, and my grammar isn’t THAT horrible 🙂

  • narnian resident says:

    awesome! did i ever say, i really admire people like this? 😀

    • Elf Maiden Archer of Rivendell says:

      Yeah, you did, on the previous Word on the Street post before this one, lol! These people are amazing! I can’t wait to see what the books are! 😀

      • Sir jack says:

        I only know about "the secret garden" beeing his favorit childrens book, and that he was really fazinated by "the everlasting man" by chesterton. but thats about it. I’m really interested, in what they’re gonna find out.

  • Boke_Wyrm says:

    Love it! Just put my pledge through! Good luck, Amanda!

  • Eustace says:

    That’s awesome! Now we can make sure we have his library.

  • wisewoman says:

    LibraryThing users have created a similar project already: http://www.librarything.com/profile/C.S._Lewis

    • AmandaPatchin says:

      There do exist lists of books Lewis is known to have owned, like the one wisewoman mentions and I will be using several of them for the initial data-entry for the database. However, this project will do rather more by cataloging dates of acquisition, edition information, autographs and marginalia, and other details only available in the Wade Center (and other) archives. Much of this information will uniquely extend Lewis scholarship as it makes the process of studying influences on his writing more possible.

      Thank you all for your interest!

  • Eavis says:

    Intriguing…just a note of warning, though, for any uninitiated viewers, much of what Lewis enjoyed reading was mythologies and other related subjects, and much of that is not necessarily appropriate for all audiences. This sounds very cool, though, to be able to see what our favourite author read.

    • Warrior 4 Jesus says:

      While your post seems well-intentioned, the vibe I’m getting from your post is that mythology for the most part, is adults-only. There’s very little that would be deemed inappropriate for older children. Much of what Lewis read would probably go over their heads anyway.

      • Eavis says:

        Warrior4Jesus;
        You are correct in that much of it would go over their heads, but there are some under-13 and 14year olds on this site, and I myself had a not so good experience when I was younger with mythology that was too old for me. And if you delve deeply or read the ‘wrong’ versions of nearly any collection of mythologies, there is generally some inappropriate stuff. I’m not in any way saying that children shouldn’t read mythology – I enjoyed it as a child; my younger siblings enjoy it. I’m only saying that younger children especially should proceed with caution. Make sure the versions they are reading, whether or no Lewis read them, are appropriate for their ages. Thanks for your comment!

  • The Marion E. Wade Center says:

    To all at Narniaweb.com:

    Thank you for this news item. We are delighted to see there is such great interest in the study of C.S. Lewis’s personal library. As has been mentioned, the Marion E. Wade Center owns a significant number of books (approximately 2,400 volumes) from Lewis’s library, and we wanted to let you know about some projects already in the works to make these volumes more accessible to researchers:

    1. As the result of many years organizing and examining these books, the Wade Center has developed a guide to the Lewis library books in our collection, available on our website here:
    http://www.wheaton.edu/wadecenter/collection/Non-archive_Lists/Lewis_Public_shelf.pdf

    This guide continues to be updated as our work with the books progresses. We are also currently involved in a fundraising project to get these books and other parts of our collections cataloged by a professional library cataloger. Once this is accomplished, more detailed information (such as edition information, etc.) will become available for researchers online. If you would like further information on this fundraising project, please let us know.

    2. In addition, there is a bibliographic project by an independent researcher currently underway to publish a comprehensive listing of all the books originally held in C.S. Lewis’s personal library. This listing would include the Wade Center’s holdings, as well as any other books from Lewis’s library the researcher has been able to trace at other research repositories or in private hands.

    3. We wanted to also mention that the books in Lewis’s personal library held by the Wade Center are available for visitors to use in our reading room. We welcome anyone interested to visit the Wade Center and see these volumes in person. Please contact our archival staff (Heidi Truty or Laura Schmidt) by emailing us at wade@wheaton.edu for more information, or visit our website at http://www.wheaton.edu/wadecenter/. We look forward to seeing you!

    Sincerely,

    The Marion E. Wade Center
    Wheaton College
    Wheaton, IL 60187

    • Amanda Patchin says:

      Thank you for joining the conversation here! Of course, all Lewis fans and scholars are grateful to the Wade Center for their efforts in preserving C.S. Lewis’s books and papers.

      I have already been a grateful user of your pdf of Lewis’s books as I’ve researched for my Thesis, and am eagerly looking forward to visiting Wade Center to examine the books in person. Also, I’ve had the opportunity to email questions to Laura Schmidt before and she has always been more than helpful with my inquiries 🙂

      Thank you also for mentioning the other researcher working on a bibilographic project. I hope to connect with them to discuss our mutual interests!

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