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Alastair Fowler, Regius Professor Emeritus of Rhetoric and English Literature at the University of Edinburgh, may have inadvertently settled the biggest Christian literary scandal of the last 50 years.

In 1988, Kathryn Lindskoog accused Walter Hooper, who was briefly C. S. Lewis's secretary and later a trustee of his literary estate, of forging a number of manuscripts that he attributed to Lewis, in particular The Dark Tower, an unfinished science-fiction novel.

"If Lindskoog is wrong," said Don King, author of C. S. Lewis, Poet, "[then] Lewis wrote some pieces that were stillborn at best or just plain bad at worst. If she is right, then someone is a forger." Indeed, Lindskoog's allegations raised doubts about anything ascribed to Lewis but not published in his lifetime.

The History of a Mystery

In 1966, Hooper announced the existence of The Dark Tower in the preface to Of Other Worlds. He had rescued the unfinished science fiction novel in early 1964, he said, along with several other unpublished manuscripts. They'd been in a pile of Lewis's old papers that Lewis's brother and their gardener were burning a few months after Lewis had died. In 1974, Roger Lancelyn Green included a synopsis of The Dark Tower in the Lewis biography he wrote with Hooper. In 1977, Hooper published The Dark Tower in a collection of Lewis fiction that included another manuscript he'd also saved from the fire, "The Man Born Blind."

For years, Walter Hooper said, he and Lindskoog carried on a very friendly correspondence. But "then in 1978," Hooper related, "she wrote critically of me in a magazine article to which Owen Barfield responded. After that, she became quite bitter. She accused me of taking the money from the sale of the film rights to the animated ...

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hide thisFebruary February

In the Magazine

February 2007

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