At Arm's Length

"I never had the opportunity of searching out God. He sought me out.
He stalked me like a redskin, took careful aim and fired."

—C.S. Lewis

The disgruntled professor who equates academic integrity with paucity of book sales and who is thereby convinced that the masses who follow the writings of C.S. Lewis must be a cult of sorts, will take a perverse delight in the publication of his journal. And after reading it even the firmest disciple will have to admit that almost all of the 450 pages of entries are a repetitive chronicle of his daily round, replete with recordings of the weather and accounts of friends and companions now lost to the ages. He will have to admit, that is, that the diary was published with the clear expectation that Lewis's readers are interested first in the man and his writing only secondarily. Along the way one can find (as introduction, flyleaf, and preface promise) what a great writer's diary ought to give—signs of development, surmises that will one day be published convictions, sudden revelations of thought, etc.—but they are never in the foreground, and by the end of the book the reader has had no hint of how in these early years Lewis was making himself into a writer who would change the hearts and minds and faith of millions.

The journal is finally profitable for what it does not say. These were the years...

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