Never-Before-Seen C.S. Lewis Letter Discovered in Secondhand Book

Carrie Dedrick | Friday, December 12, 2014

Never-Before-Seen C.S. Lewis Letter Discovered in Secondhand Book

A never-before-seen letter written by C.S. Lewis in 1945 was recently discovered in a book purchased from a secondhand book store. The letter, addressed to “Mrs. Ellis” discusses “real joy.” 

It is dated August 19, 1945. 

"Real joy seems to me almost as unlike security or prosperity as it is unlike agony," the letter reads. 

"It jumps under one's ribs and tickles down one's back and makes one forget meals and keeps one (delightedly) sleepless o' nights. It shocks one awake when the other puts one to sleep. My private table is one second of joy is worth 12 hours of Pleasure. I think you really quite agree with me. (NB The physical sensations of joy and misery are in my case identical. Just the same thing happens inside me on getting the good or the bad news)."

Experts are unsure who “Mrs. Ellis” was, but Lewis seemed to know her well. 

The letter is set to be sold at auction on Dec. 18; Dominic Winter Auctioneers expect the document to draw at least $1,900. 

"We've only had a handful of good CS Lewis letters before and they've all attracted strong interest,” said Chris Albury of the auction house. 

Lewis continued to write about the subject of joy in his memoir Surprised by Joy: The Shape of my Early Life which was published in 1955. 

Publication date: December 12, 2014