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The manuscript, the scholar, and the laundry

"The manuscript, the scholar, and the laundry" Continued...

Are you incorporating any insights from the Lewis manuscript into your book? When teaching the Lewis class in Oxford, I give my students two primary exam questions the first time we meet. These questions will be the focus of the book I’m writing as well. The first question is, what did C.S. Lewis say about communication? And second, what did C.S. Lewis do that made him an effective communicator? The manuscript I found helps answer the first question, because it’s primarily about language and meaning. …What my book also will address is, how can we apply these insights and communicate effectively, like Lewis? Lewis’ books have been identified as the top bestselling books of the 20th century, and people are still reading him today. How can we demystify what he did so that you and I can do that?

How significant do you think your finding could be for Lewis and Tolkien scholars? The implications are greater for Lewis scholars, since it’s Lewis’ work. I would argue that it helps me to make my case that Lewis was very interested in communication and language and meaning, because that’s what this manuscript is about. … What’s exciting is that the manuscript includes some of Lewis’ best and most precise statements about the nature of language and meaning. It contains new insights from Lewis, what we would call “communication theories,” about how meaning works. That, I think, is very significant.

Have you been impacted by Lewis’ communication philosophy in any special way? In the same way that Lewis found ways to smuggle Christianity into his work, I smuggle Lewis into my textbooks. … I have gained fresh insights into Lewis by looking at his work from the communication lens. There are wonderful Lewis scholars out there, and I’ll never know as much about him as [they do]. I just have this tiny communication flashlight in this big cave of C.S. Lewis, trying to illuminate a little piece from this perspective. And for me, since it’s what I do for a living, it’s more fun than I’ve ever had.

Caroline Leal
Caroline Leal

Caroline Leal is a freelance journalist for WNG.org. She graduated from Regent University with a degree in English and Professional Writing, and lives in Central Texas. Follow Caroline on Twitter @anncarolineleal.


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