The Lost Lewis Tapes
In a quiet room at the Kilns in August 1960, C. S. Lewis recorded three audio tracks on a portable reel-to-reel tape deck. A month before Lewis’s voice was committed to tape, his wife, Joy Davidman Lewis, died from cancer. Following Joy’s death, her former husband, Bill Gresham, traveled to Oxford to see his two teenage sons (David and Douglas) and to meet Lewis face to face. During his stay, Bill recorded C. S. Lewis reading from his own novels—and reciting Chaucer—for 45 minutes. These high-quality analog tapes were brought back to the United States, where they were eventually purchased by the Marion E. Wade Center in 1982. The Wade Center, in partnership with the Rabbit Room, is excited to make these unique recordings available to the public for the very first time.
To hear excerpts and to learn more about The Lost Lewis Tapes, listen to the Wade Center Podcast and read David C. Downing’s post exploring the history and content of the tapes on the Wade Center blog.
Proceeds from these tracks will support the Marion E. Wade Center and its mission to promote cultural engagement and spiritual formation through the works of seven British Christian authors: C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, Dorothy L. Sayers, George MacDonald, G. K. Chesterton, Owen Barfield, and Charles Williams. To learn more about the Wade Center, their mission, and the resources they offer please visit their website at wheaton.edu/wade.
- Perelandra (27:00): Lewis reads nearly all of Chapter 3 from the second novel of his Ransom Trilogy, narrating in a mesmerizing and confident voice Ransom’s arrival on the watery planet Venus.
- That Hideous Strength (9:13): For over 9 minutes, Lewis dramatizes Merlin’s interrogation of Elwin Ransom about his credentials as the Pendragon from Chapter 13, section 1.
- Bonus: Canterbury Tales (8:35): Lewis declaims the Prologue to Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales in impeccable Middle English, possibly from memory.