Rare C. S. Lewis signed Narnia book to be auctioned

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2015-06-26 10:45:20

Rare C. S. Lewis signed Narnia book to be auctioned

16 Jul 2012, 10:25 GMT+01

The eight year old boy to whom C. S. Lewis dedicated his fourth Narnia book, The Silver Chair, was Nicholas Hardie, the son of a close friend. As a child, Nicholas remembers Lewis as ‘Jack’, a friendly and distinguished old man who visited his father and gave him books signed ‘Nicholas Hardie, with love from Jack Lewis’.

It was only years later that Nicholas would realise what a privilege it was to meet the Narnia author and how valuable the gifted books really were.

Now 66, Nicholas is auctioning off his copy of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, an exceptional example of the valuable first edition, being the only copy of the book ever gone up for sale signed with Lewis’s nickname ‘Jack’. It was given to Nicholas for Christmas in 1950. The first book of the Narnia series, it features the adventures of four children who walk through a wardrobe in a country house to find the magical world of Narnia beyond. The story is known and loved worldwide.

The book will be sold at Bloomsbury Auctions in London in their Printed Books sale on July 19th. Modern first editions expert at Bloomsbury, Max Hasler, comments: ‘only a few books signed by C. S. Lewis have ever come to auction, and none of them have been signed “Jack”. C. S. Lewis was a very private man. He kept his friends and family close and he would only use this name with people he knew really well’.

Hardie’s father was a member of the Inklings literary club of Oxford University, along with C. S. Lewis and the likes of J. R. R. Tolkien. They met regularly at the Eagle and Child pub in St Giles to discuss literature, fantasy and philosophy, and give readings and discuss members’ work. Lewis died aged 64 in 1963.

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