gent man who knew Lewis well. Butnthere is a certain myopia that comesnfrom such a perspective, too. Furthermore,nas is well-known, some majornprimary sources have become availablento serious researchers since Sayer finishednthe first draft of his book. Fornexample, over two thousand volumesnfrom C.S. Lewis’s personal library —nmany complete with his incisive marginalnnotes — were acquired and madenavailable by the Marion E. Wade Centernat Wheaton College in Illinois.nApproximately fifty oral history interviewsnthat contain the reminiscences ofnsome of Lewis’s closest friends andnassociates are available at the WadenCenter as well. Added to these treasuresnare Joy Davidman Lewis’s (hisnwife) letters, which are now open tonthe public, as well as many lettersnwritten by Lewis’s brother, Warren.nWarren’s diaries — complete with majornportions never published — werenalso opened to researchers after Sayerncompleted his book.nWhen word reached us that A.N.nWilson was under contract to do anLewis biography, I was delighted. Wilsonnis one of the most intelligentnwriters and gifted stylists of our time,nwho has made some important contributionsnto the genre of biography withnhis books on Hilaire Belloc, John Milton,nand Leo Tolstoy.nTo my utter dismay and great disappointment,nWilson spent less thannthree hours in the Marion E. WadenCenter. Though his book will leave thenreader with the impression that henknows Wheaton College and thenWade Collection well, he made onlynone afternoon visit to our archives innthe midst of a slightly longer trip tonChicago.nWhat is so sad about Wilson’s slipshodnscholarship is that he missed annopportunity to look at incredibly richnsources that no one else has used. Hisntalent and insight could have shapednthose materials into a truly originalncontribution. But alas, we have a newnbook on Lewis that tells us nothingnoriginal. On the contrary, it is repletenwith factual errors tied to a rathernsimplistic Freudian framework. Wilsonnargues that Lewis spent his life innsearch of a mother. (His mother diednwhen he was a boy.) During this quest,naccording to Wilson, Lewis had twonpremarital affairs with women whonwere mother substitutes to him. Wilsonnpresents no conclusive evidence fornthis thesis. Indeed, much of his evidencenis wrong. For example, Wilsonnmaintains that Joy Davidman and C.S.nLewis slept together in 1955 beforenthey were married. Wilson’s source isnDouglas Gresham’s oral history interviewnwith me. But this assertion is notnin the interview, because Lewis’s stepsonnnever made such a statement. Innthis same vein Wilson has nothing butnassumptions to support his thesis thatnLewis had an affair with Mrs. JanienMoore.nThe reliability of Wilson’s book isnquestionable for still other reasons.nThe biography is replete with othernerrors — the sort that happen when anbook is hastily conceived, researched,nand written. For example, WestchesternCounty should read Duchess Countyn(p. 236), and the Wade Center atnWheaton College has no memorabilianof T.S. Eliot (p. xiii). Malcolm Muggeridge’sntypewriter is not and nevernhas been at Wheaton College (p. xiii),nand the political preferences of BillynGraham and C.S. Lewis are actuallynrather similar and in a word, conservative,ndespite Wilson’s argument to thencontrary (p. xiii).nErrors of this kind are annoying, butnthey are to be expected when a researchernimplies that he has combed ancollection he has scarcely glimpsed.nNevertheless, the most tiresome aspectnof this book is the patronizing tone.nEveryone the author writes about isndenigrated — Walter Hooper, WarrennLewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Charies Williams,nJ.B. Phillips, Joy DavidmannLewis, and even C.S. Lewis himself.nFrankly, A.N. Wilson’s omnisciencenand preciousness wear rather thin.nLewis has a “workable intelligence” (p.n197), That Hideous Strength is “selfindulgent”n(p. 189), all of the books innthe space trilogy “fail” (p. 191), andnLewis displays “sheer inadequacy as anphilosopher” (p. 213). The list of suchn”insights” goes on ad nauseam.nIn the last analysis, A.N. Wilson’snC.S. Lewis is more than a disappointingnbiography; it is a sad portrait of thenbiographer. It seems that Wilson’s recentnliterary successes have driven himnto the point of hubris. He sees himselfnas superior to everyone he writes about,nand he delights in making his discoverynknown.nnnIf you are in the market for a booknon C.S. Lewis buy Sayer’s Jack ornGriffin’s Clive Staples Lewis. I certainlynwould not spend $22.50 for A.N.nWilson’s impressionistic and distortednportrait of a man he neither understandsnnor takes seriously enough to donhis homework on.nLyle W. Dorsett is the curator of thenMarion E. Wade Collection atnWheaton College.nGnostic Epiphaniesnby Chilton Williamson, Jr.nThe Achievement of CormacnMcCarthynby Vereen M. Be//nBaton Rouge and London: LouisiananState University Press;n140 pp., $22.50nCormac McCarthy, 56-years-old, isnthe author of five publishednnovels, which between them have soldnapproximately fifteen thousand copiesnin the original hardcover editions, publishednby Random House. (The EcconPress, in New York City, is maintainingnthese titles in print in paperback.) Bomnin Rhode Island, reared in Tennessee,nand traveled in Europe, McCarthy hasnlived, for the past fifteen years or so, innEl Paso, Texas, on the verge of the highndesert country of the southwestern U.S.nand northern Mexico that provided thensetting for his latest published work.nBlood Meridian (1985). There Mc­nCarthy is able to live in near anonymity.nHis closest friends, reportedly, arenlawyers and judges. By contrast withnthe work of his contemporary, thenunreadable Thomas Pynchon, Mc­nCarthy’s novels, according to ProfessornBell, are “scarcely read, even in Tennessee,nhis more or less native state.”nMcCarthy, who refuses stubbornly tonabet his publishers and his admirers inntheir attempts to promote his books,nhas never had even the limited renownnenjoyed by William Faulkner in then1930’s and early 40’s. Nevertheless, henis everything that Vereen Bell claimsnfor him: “a major writer in all of thenconventional senses of the word, ournbest unknown major writer by manynmeasures.” As for Professor Bell, hisnown little book is a model of literarynJUNE 1990/39n