Published by Geoffrey Bles: The Centenary Press, London, 1945
First Edition Signed
First edition of the author's allegorical tale about a bus ride from Hell to Heaven. Octavo, original cloth. Presentation copy, inscribed by the author on the front free endpaper with a pre-publication appearance of his 5-stanza autograph poem, The Meteorite, "The Meteorite Among the hills the meteorite Lies huge; and moss has overgrown, And wind and rain with fingers light Made soft the contours of the stone. Thus easily can Earth digest A cinder of sidereal fire, And make her translunary guest The native of the English shire. Nor is it strange these wanderers Find in her lap their fitting place, Since every particle that's hers came at the first from outer space. All that is Earth has once been sky; Down from the sun of old she came, Or from a star that travelled by Too close to his entangling flame. Hence, if belated drops still fall From heaven, on these her plastic power Still works as once is works on all the first rush of the golden shower. C.S. Lewis June 1946. Sorry it is so smudgy but the paper is like blotting-paper!" The Meteorite was first published in the December 7, 1946 issue of Time and Tide Magazine. The following year, Lewis included it as the the epigraph in his book Miracles, published in 1947. It subsequently appeared in multiple printings of his Poems and Collected Poems. The version of the poem here contains a few differences to those found in print and indicates that Lewis continued to tinker with the poem after publication. Near fine in a very good supplied dust jacket. Exceedingly rare with such a lengthy presentation from Lewis. In The Great Divorce, C. S. Lewis again employs his formidable talent for fable and allegory. The writer finds himself in Hell boarding a bus bound for Heaven. The amazing opportunity is that anyone who wants to stay in Heaven, can. This is the starting point for an extraordinary meditation upon good and evil, grace and judgment. Lewis's revolutionary idea is the discovery that the gates of Hell are locked from the inside. In Lewis's own words, "If we insist on keeping Hell (or even earth) we shall not see Heaven: if we accept Heaven we shall not be able to retain even the smallest and most intimate souvenirs of Hell." ‚ Much deserves to be quoted. attractive imagery, amusing satire, exciting speculations. Lewis rouses curiosity about life after death only to sharpen awareness of this world‚ (Guardian).