Fur Coats and Cupboards
Lewis sent the manuscript of The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe to Owen and Maud Barfield, the parents of his goddaughter Lucy Barfield, to whom he had dedicated the book. Maud Barfield was concerned about the inhumane trapping of animals, and when she read the manuscript, she mentioned this to Lewis, as well as her fear of children locking themselves in wardrobes. Because of this Lewis included a warning in ch. 1 of the story: "[Lucy] had, of course, left the door open, for she knew that it is a very silly thing to shut oneself into a wardrobe." In fact, there are five such warnings in the first five chapters of the book.
Letter to Owen Barfield, May 30, 1949:
...The fur coats can easily be altered...The chances of getting shut in cupboards is much more serious and less easily altered. I don't know why Maud should feel let down: fur is nice, otherwise there would be no temptation to trapping and one does find it in wardrobes. But that will be altered.
The Beavers aren't there to prevent you taking it too seriously, but to supply the snug & homely and to give information. I'd have liked that chapter as a child.
Letter to Maud Barfield, April 6, 1949:
(If I may venture so far after so many years!) I had a very nice letter from Lucy and will be thinking of her to-day. I also replied.
Owen has told me about the two main snags, from your angle, in the story. The fur can easily be removed. I am afraid I was not thinking of the fur trade at all, but only of the fact that you would almost certainly find fur coats in an old wardrobe. Much more serious is the undesirability of shutting oneself into a cupboard. I might add a caution--or would this only make things worse? With kindest regards,
~From The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis: Volume II
On this day:
1905 The Lewis family -- Albert, Flora, Warnie, and Jack--moved from Dundela Villas to Little Lea, on the outskirts of Belfast.
Cool link of the day: Disney's new Narnia movie website, which DOES NOT HAVE FUR COATS in the wardrobe!