Habit forming: Texas State's Beebe discovers another unknown, unpublished C.S. Lewis poem

Research & Innovation

Jayme Blaschke | July 23, 2019

cs lewis books on shelf
C.S. Lewis authored the literary classic The Chronicles of Narnia.
steven beebe headshot
Dr. Steven Beebe

For the third time, Steven A. Beebe, Texas State University System Regents' Professor and University Distinguished Professor Emeritus, has discovered an unpublished, unknown manuscript from C.S. Lewis, author of The Chronicles of Narnia and The Screwtape Letters.  

Beebe discovered the unknown poem in Oxford University’s Bodleian Library while conducting research this summer. Beebe also discovered an unpublished, unknown poem in the Bodleian Library in 2016.

"I found the poem written in two separate corners of a notebook Lewis used for drafting ideas and research notes," Beebe said. "It is easy to see why the poem would have been overlooked by others. At first glance the poem appears as two unrelated entries, but when combined, the two drafts constitute a 14-line poem in classic sonnet form."

Lewis handwriting expert Charlie Starr authenticated Lewis' handwriting in the latest discovery and estimated the poem was written between 1934-1939. The poem reflects Lewis' belief that because of one's faith a person sees the world differently.

Beebe's first Lewis discovery was announced in 2009 when he identified a fragment of a book chapter that Lewis wrote, in what was to have been a collaboration with J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. The planned co-authored book was to have been titled Language and Human Nature and the fragment was published in 2010 in the journal Seven (VII): An Anglo-American Literary Review.

Beebe recently signed a contract for his book, C.S. Lewis and the Craft of Communication, scheduled for publication in 2020 (Peter Lang). The book summarizes details of Beebe's discoveries and describes the principles that made Lewis one of the 20th century's most enduring authors.  

For more information, contact University Communications:

Jayme Blaschke, 512-245-2555

Sandy Pantlik, 512-245-2922