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Dec 01

Lewis Opposed Live Action Narnia?


The Kilns,
Headington Quarry,
Oxford
18 Dec. 1959

Dear Sieveking

(Why do you ‘Dr’ me? Had we not dropped the honorifics?) As things worked out, I wasn’t free to hear a single instalment of our serial [The Magician’s Nephew] except the first. What I did hear, I approved. I shd. be glad for the series to be given abroad. But I am absolutely opposed – adamant isn’t in it! – to a TV version. Anthropomorphic animals, when taken out of narrative into actual visibility, always turn into buffoonery or nightmare. At least, with photography. Cartoons (if only Disney did not combine so much vulgarity with his genius!) wld. be another matter. A human, pantomime, Aslan wld. be to me blasphemy.

All the best,
yours
C. S. Lewis

[Letter to BBC producer Lance Sieveking (1896-1972), who has written at the top: "The Magician’s Nephew" and, after the address, the phone number "62963".]

I’m a bit skeptical about the legitimacy of this. The author claims that honorifics have been dropped, but addresses the recipient by his last name and signs with his given initials. Lewis always preferred to be called Jack, and I believe he would sign a letter as "Jack Lewis" or just "Jack" if honorifics had indeed been dropped. I’m not a Lewis expert, just a fan. I’m sure Lewis stepson, Douglas Gresham, could shed some light on this. Anyone know how to get a hold of him?

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