Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1967. Octavo, original red cloth, spine lettered in black, manuscript endpapers, uncut, original dust jacket. Moderate toning to spine of dust jacket, tiny sticker over ($3.95) price on inner flap. A near-fine copy. Item #1454
"THE MOMENTS AT WHICH YOU CALL MOST DESPERATELY AND CLAMOROUSLY TO GOD FOR HELP ARE PRECISELY THE MOMENTS WHEN YOU SEEM TO GET NONE"
First American edition collecting the more than 100 letters written by C.S. Lewis to an anonymous American woman between 1950 and 1963. Letters to an American Lady was not published in Great Britain until 1969.
The name of Lewis's correspondent—which is never revealed in the book—was Mary Willis Shelburne. The letters, chatty rather than literary, show an increasing familiarity (March 1954: "my friends all call me Jack") and concern. Lewis arranged for her to receive a small monthly stipend from his American publisher. Joy Davidman died in July 1960 ("she received absolution and died at peace with God") and Lewis continued to share the details of his own declining health until nearly the very end. These letters were edited by Clyde S. Kirby of Wheaton College soon after their donation to the college's library. There is no table of contents (or an index) but Kirby's Preface characterizes the nature of the correspondence: "These letters accentuate rather than change the character of Lewis as it is generally known. In them are his antipathy to journalism, advertising, snobbery, psychoanalysis, to the false and patent, to wheels and stir and 'administration' and the multitude of petty or insidious practices that sap personal and national freedom. And we must not fail to add his antipathy to letter-writing."