You might have noticed that in my last “Bookish Links” post, I included a link to Eric Metaxas’s page on Soundcloud where he published excerpts from interviews he conducted last month in Oxford, England. One of his interviewees was Walter Hooper, C. S. Lewis’s former secretary, a trustee of his estate, and, in the words of another blogger, “an adorably committed CSL fanboy.” Having known and worked for Lewis, Hooper was able to tell his audience all sorts of new things about him, including that he still gets mail from young fans.
Shortly after the first of the Narnia books was published, fan letters from young children started pouring in, nearly all of which Lewis answered. Nowadays, letters just like these still arrive in Oxford, where Mr. Hooper, now 84, replies to all of them. And these new fans are just as enthusiastic about The Chronicles of Narnia and its characters as their grandparents might have been sixty years ago. For instance, in Metaxas’s interview, Mr. Hooper recalled one letter he received from a six-year-old boy named Josh. When Josh first talked of writing to C. S. Lewis, his teacher explained to him that Lewis had died several years ago. Josh wrote to him anyway, in a letter that began,
Dear Mr. Lewis,
I’m sorry you died. I just want you to know how much I love Aslan.
Earlier in the interview, Mr. Hooper claimed that Lewis fully expected to be forgotten a few years after his death. It’s nice to know that even after all these years, he and his books are still having a profound impact on young people.