Saturday, November 24, 2012

November 22, 49 years ago

Ordinarily one of the first things to occur to me on a November 22nd would have been the anniversary of C.S. Lewis's death. This year that day was Thanksgiving and I forgot. Joel Miller did not and composed a tribute "Giving thanks for C.S. Lewis":
Besides Thanksgiving, November 22 this year marks the 49th anniversary of C.S. Lewis’ death.

I read a newspaper obituary about Lewis that my grandmother kept. She preserved the entire paper. The event was buried in the back–barely two column inches if memory serves. The rest of paper, or at least the majority of it, was dedicated to reporting the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Both men died the same day. ....
Lewis was not well the last few years of his life. In his final days, Miller writes, he was still reading:
Holed up at The Kilns, he reread the Iliad and other books. Sayer lists not only the Iliad and the Odyssey but mentions that he read them in Greek, that he read the Aeneid in Latin, as well as “Dante’s Divine Comedy; Wordsworth’s The Prelude; and works by George Herbert, Patmore, Scott, Austen, Fielding, Dickens, and Trollope.”

Surrounded by his books, Wilson says that Lewis “remained . . . propped up in the very room where Joy had spent so many heroic hours suffering.”

And then he joined her.

It was Friday, November 22. He was cheerful but had a hard time staying awake. He ate breakfast, got dressed, answered some letters. After lunch, his brother Warnie “suggested he would be more comfortable in bed, and he went there.” Warnie took him tea at four. An hour and a half later he heard a crash. Lewis had collapsed at the foot of his bed. Unconscious, as recorded Warnie, “[h]e ceased to breathe some three or four minutes later.” .... [more]

A comment on that post notes that next year, on the fiftieth anniversary of Lewis's death he will receive recognition in the Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey.

Giving thanks for C.S. Lewis, C.S. Lewis in Poets Corner