In the great ecology of C. S. Lewis (1898-1963) biographies this collection of pieces on the theme of his speaking and teaching fills its niche very precisely, having much valuable 'close up' original detail in it, and overlapping very little with the other varied appreciations and straight biographies. Having thus said, it is probably still best regarded as a work for the more than averagely interested Lewis enthusiast. That such a specific book could be published as late as 1971 is a testament to the body of admirers and friends that still existed at that time, and the regard in which they held a man whose career as a broadcaster and public speaker formed a relatively minor part of his life's work.
The first highlight is an excellent and substantial chapter 'To The Martlets' by Walter Hooper (who, along with Roger Lancelyn Green was one of his official biographers). This uses original Oxford records and covers his activities at the Oxford literary club, the Martlets, from his earliest pre-Christian days there, to much later when he was famous both as a doyen of academic English Literature and independently as a writer of fiction and theology. The second short but delightful chapter 'In Conversation', is by his friend of many years, Owen Barfield. This tells what it was like to have Lewis as a lifelong friend and conversation partner and repeats one or two of his Johnsonian moments. The other valuable chapters are: 'The Creative Logician Speaking' by Clyde S. Kilby; 'To The Royal Air Force' by Chaplain Stuart Barton Babbage; 'In The University' by George Bailey (Lewis was his tutor in 1946-8, he explains his huge reputation even at that time and the jealousy of the other dons); 'On The Air' and 'Notes on Lewis's Voice' are by Carolyn Keefe, covering the recording he made of 'The Four Loves' which is still available on tape. There is a substantial set of notes, and a bibliography of oral material (sermons, lecture notes, etc.).
This report prepared by Michael JR Jose