Lost C.S. Lewis Translation of The Aeneid, rescued from Bonfire, to be published


There’s a new C.S. Lewis book coming out, to be published on May 3 of this year.  While it’s not a Narnia book, anyone who is a fan of Lewis’ writing might be interested in reading this.  Lately, Lewis’s friend J.R.R. Tolkien’s translation of Sigurd and Gudrun was published, and now it seems it’s Lewis’ turn to have a lost manuscript see the light of day.

C.S. Lewis’s Lost Aeneid: Arms and the Exile

It was a translation that he would read frequently to the Inklings, which was a group that met regularly which included Tolkien.  The work was believed to have been lost to a bonfire back in 1964, a year after Lewis’s death.  Lewis’s secretary, Walter Hooper, was going through some of his material and found the lost manuscript.  The complete translation will be published on May 3, 2011.

Lewis first started work on the translation in 1935, when he was 37, and it is believed he returned to it several times throughout his life.

“By what seems more than coincidence, I appeared at The Kilns that very day and learned that unless I carried the papers away with me that afternoon they would indeed be destroyed,” Hooper wrote. “There were so many that it took all my strength and energy to carry them back to Keble College.” For the past 46 years, Hooper has spent his time sifting through the saved material before it is transported to Oxford’s Bodleian Library. Four years ago, he realised that fragments of the famous Aeneid translation, referred to by Tolkien in his own letters, had escaped his attention. Since then he has worked with Reyes to piece together the translation, which exists in fragments spread across several notebooks.

Reyes and Hooper began collaborating when Reyes was a visiting scholar at Oxford University’s Wolfson College. “He asked me to write out any notes that would help a general reader understand the text,” said Reyes. “These notes were a glossary explaining classical allusions which were too long to be incorporated into a new edition of Lewis’s collected poetry, and so Walter wondered if the Aeneid translation could stand on its own as a volume.”

Read more about this amazing re-discovery here

Order Lewis’s Lost Aeneid here

C. S. Lewis (1898–1963) is best remembered as a literary critic, essayist, theologian, and novelist, and his famed tales The Chronicles of Narnia and The Screwtape Letters have been read by millions. Now, A.T. Reyes reveals a different side of this diverse man of letters: translator.

Reyes introduces the surviving fragments of Lewis’s translation of Virgil’s epic poem, which were rescued from a bonfire. They are presented in parallel with the Latin text, and are accompanied by synopses of missing sections, and an informative glossary, making them accessible to the general reader. Writes Lewis in A Preface to Paradise Lost, “Virgil uses something more subtle than mere length of time…. It is this which gives the reader of the Aeneid the sense of having lived through so much. No man who has read it with full perception remains an adolescent.” Lewis’s admiration for the Aeneid, written in the 1st century BC and unfolding the adventures of Aeneas, a Trojan who traveled to Italy and became the ancestor of the Romans, is evident in his remarkably lyrical translation.

C. S. Lewis’s Lost Aeneid is part detective story, as Reyes recounts the dramatic rescue of the fragments and his efforts to collect and organize them, and part illuminating look at a lesser-known and intriguing aspect of Lewis’s work.


22 Responses to “Lost C.S. Lewis Translation of The Aeneid, rescued from Bonfire, to be published”

  1. Marielle Custodio says:

    I can’t wait to read this! I’ve been longing for an another book from Clive Staples Lewis!!!!

  2. Marielle Custodio says:

    1st to comment!

  3. Matías says:

    Marielli Custodio, no es el único libro de Clive Staples Lwe´s ”Jack” tambien hizo un trilogía llamada ”La Trilogía Cósmica” muy pocos han leido esos libros.

      • Secrets of Excalibur says:

        I think Matias is saying something about C.S. Lewis prefering to be called “Jack”, but my Spanish isn’t very good.

        • High Queene ShellyBelly says:

          i think she’s saying try reading the space trilogy by cs lewis, they are good books too.

          • Julia says:

            She’s saying that C.S. Lewis (or Jack) also wrote a trilogy called The Space Trilogy, but few people have read them. Yes, I know a little Spanish, enough to know what she was saying. But I’m surprised that she said not many people have read them. I think the trilogy is really good, but I don’t like it as much as Narnia or Till We Have Faces. In case anyone is interested, the titles of the books are:
            Out of the Silent Planet
            Perelandra
            That Hideous Strength

            About the article: The book gets published the day after my birthday, so I’ll try to get one of my sisters to buy it for me. :)

    • Marielle Custodio says:

      Oh really? The Space Trilogy… Yeah, i think a few have read that because it doesn’t sound familiar… But C.S. Lewis or “Jack”(preferred by his friends)also wrote another book for children which is titled as “Boxen”.

      P.S. sorry I don’t speak Spanish only French and English.. I just understood it by Google translator..

  4. Narniamiss says:

    Wow! It’s amazing to think that there is something out there of Lewis’s that I haven’t read. I’m looking forward to it!

  5. Katy in AL says:

    It’s not completely Lewis’s, per se, because the work is Virgil’s. However, translation is not easy to do and takes a lot of time and effort. I’m looking forward to reading this when it’s published!

  6. Lucylove says:

    I don’t understand this book. I’m not gonna read it.

  7. Narnia PR Fan says:

    VDT recaudo en Japon nada mas y nada menos que $6,646,094 en su primera semana, muy buena suma para.

  8. finally they are making more narnia books!!! i thought they were done making narnia books!!! im going to buy the book when it comes out. i love narnia. its probably going to be a good book. im going to read it. maybe it might sell out because it might be a good book!!!

    • Secrets of Excalibur says:

      It isn’t a Narnia book. It’s a translation of “The Aenid”, which is an ancient Roman or Greek book from a very very long time ago.

      • Jonathon says:

        It’s Roman. It can be confusing as it follows Homer’s The Illiad and that one is Greek. But Virgil composed The Aenied centruries after Homer to explain the founding of Rome following the end of the Trojan War.

        Either way it’s a very fascinating story, and as a fan of not only CS Lewis, but of great literature, I can’t wait to read it.

        • bob mallord says:

          I’m so glad that you answered this question. Its scary to see someone on the C.S. Lewis site that is unfamiliar with the Aenied. But it was C.S. Lewis’ works that inspired me to get a degree in classics.
          so even though I had to work through the Aenied in Latin in school I will read Lewis’ translation.

  9. C.S. says:

    Wow , sounds neat!! I can’t wait to tell my dad that he ‘Doesn’t have all the C.S. Lewis books!!!LOL

  10. Narnia PR Fan says:

    VDT esta a 3 millones de llegar a los $400 millones a nivel mundial (hasta ahora lleva recaudado $15 millones en Japon).

  11. I hope that book will be good. I have high expectations and can’t wait to get this piece in my hands

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