Bonfire of the Vanities
How often have you read about some guy finding a hoard of viking treasure in Farmer Giles' field, and wished you'd bought that second-hand metal detecter for £3.50 at the boot sale last week? Or seen on the Antiques Roadshow, the discovery of a rare painting by Picasso (e.g., that amazing stash of his undocumented paintings and drawings that "turned up" last year??). Well the latest find recorded in this week's Guardian reports that a translation of Virgil’s Aeneid, which C. S. Lewis began working on in 1937, has resurfaced nearly fifty years after it was thought destroyed in a bonfire. The event occurred in 1964, just one year after Lewis’s death, but it now appears the manuscript translation was rescued by Lewis’s former secretary Walter Hooper at the time. After setting aside items of personal significance, Lewis’s brother, Major Warren Lewis, instructed his brother’s gardener to burn the author’s manuscripts in a bonfire as preparations were made to clear out the author’s former home, The Kilns. Hooper managed to rescue quite a few boxes of manuscripts in time, but until very recently he wasn’t aware that the Aeneid translation - which was in fragments - was among them. Now it will be published in its entirety in a new book, C. S. Lewis’s Lost Aeneid, out in April.
Posted by Steve Sargent.