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News and Events

Introducing Newly Named Wade Co-Directors Crystal and David C. Downing

The Marion E. Wade Center is delighted to announce the appointment of Dr. Crystal Downing and Dr. David C. Downing as co-directors and co-holders of the Marion E. Wade Chair of Christian Thought. As Lisa Richmond, Director of Library and Archives at Wheaton College, explains, “The opportunity to have two such distinguished scholars leading the Wade Center is very exciting and holds great promise for continuing the Wade’s strong legacy of work on the seven authors. We are thrilled that the Downings are joining Wheaton in this role.” As co-directors, the Downings will share administrative responsibilities, and as a joint appointment they will also have significantly more time to invest in writing and research on the Wade authors. They will take up their responsibilities at the Wade Center on July 1, 2018.

Dr. Crystal Downing is currently Distinguished Professor of English and Film Studies at Messiah College, PA. She has published on a variety of topics, with much of her recent scholarship focused on the relationship between cultural theory and religious faith. Her first book, Writing Performances: The Stages of Dorothy L. Sayers (Palgrave Macmillan 2004) received an international award from the Dorothy L. Sayers Society in Cambridge, England in 2009. The thought of Sayers and C.S. Lewis is evident in Crystal’s next two books, How Postmodernism Serves (My) Faith (IVP Academic 2006) and Changing Signs of Truth (IVP Academic 2012). The success of her fourth book, Salvation from Cinema (Routledge 2016) has led to her current book project, The Wages of Cinema: Looking through the Lens of Dorothy L. Sayers. Crystal has received a number of teaching awards and was the recipient of the Clyde S. Kilby Research Grant for 2001 from the Wade Center. She holds a PhD in English from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Dr. David Downing currently serves as the R.W. Schlosser Professor of English at Elizabethtown College, PA. He has published widely on C.S. Lewis, including Planets in Peril: A Critical Study of C.S. Lewis’s Ransom Trilogy (UMass 1992), The Most Reluctant Convert: C.S. Lewis’s Journey to Faith (IVP 2002), which was awarded the Clyde S. Kilby Research Grant for 2000, Into the Region of Awe: Mysticism in C.S. Lewis (IVP 2005), and Into the Wardrobe: C.S. Lewis and the Narnia Chronicles (Jossey-Bass 2005). David is also the editor of C.S. Lewis’s The Pilgrim’s Regress: The Wade Annotated Edition (Eerdmans, 2014). A prolific speaker and writer, David has spoken extensively throughout the U.S. and internationally. He has received numerous teaching awards and holds a PhD in English from the University of California at Los Angeles.

The Downings are the first to be jointly appointed to the Wade directorship in the more than 50-year history of the Wade Center. They follow Wade founder and first director Clyde S. Kilby (1965–1980), director Lyle W. Dorsett (1983–1990), and director Christopher W. Mitchell (1994–2013).

Upcoming Events

C.S. Lewis Conference ImageDr. Jerry Root, our plenary speaker, will be offering six lectures over the course of the conference on the theme of “Communicating the Gospel: C.S. Lewis Style.” Dr. Root is Professor of Evangelism, and Director of the Institute for Strategic Evangelism, Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College. He has been studying C.S. Lewis and a constellation of subjects related to Lewis since 1970, and has taught college and university courses on C.S. Lewis continuously since 1980.

The conference will also offer three special afternoon tea time short lectures presented by other Wheaton College faculty, with ample Q&A time, and a variety of morning C.S. Lewis-themed workshops led by C.S. Lewis Institute staff.

Conference participants will enjoy lunches and dinners in Wheaton College’s Anderson Commons Dining Hall, and a variety of other special activities in the Wade Center.

Pricing: $625

Further information: www.cslewisinstitute.org/Wheaton2018


Image for The Marion E. Wade Center presents a talk by C.S. Lewis scholar and author of From Atheism to Christianity: the Story of C.S. Lewis, Dr. Joel Heck, on Wednesday, June 27, 2018 at 7:00 pm in Bakke Auditorium. This lecture is free and open to the public.

In addition to his vocation as Oxford don and author of numerous works for both scholarly and popular audiences, C.S. Lewis was a generous friend and a prolific correspondent. Arthur C. Clarke, author of 2001: a Space Odyssey, was a British science fiction writer who corresponded with Lewis during the 1940's and 1950's about science fiction and space travel. Mary Shelley Neylan was first a student of Inkling Hugo Dyson who was later tutored by C.S. Lewis. And Arthur Greeves was a neighbor of Lewis's in Belfast who became a lifelong friend and correspondent. This talk by Dr. Joel Heck will explore his friendships with these three individuals whose lives intersected with Lewis's in significant ways.

Dr. Joel D. Heck teaches courses in Old Testament and the life and writings of C.S. Lewis at Concordia University Texas. He has also served as a pastor, high school teacher, author, and conference speaker. He holds the Doctor of Theology from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.

C.S. Lewis SeminarThis seminar will examine Lewis’ thinking, utilizing Lewis’ own study as well as his personal pilgrimage from atheism to becoming one of the 20th century’s most formidable Christian apologists. Mon-Fri, 8am-1pm daily at the Marion E. Wade Center. Co-sponsored by the Billy Graham Center and the Marion E. Wade Center.

Mark PikeThe Marion E. Wade Center is pleased to present the lecture “Narnian Virtues” by Dr. Mark Pike at the Bakke Auditorium on Thursday, July 12 at 7:00 pm.

According to C.S. Lewis, “we learn the Rule of Decent Behaviour from parents and teachers, and friends and books.” In this lecture, Dr. Pike will look at how parents, teachers and friends engaging with the Narnia novels, can help children practice the virtues of love, forgiveness, wisdom, curiosity, justice, fortitude, courage, self-control, humility, integrity, gratitude and hard-work. There will also be the opportunity to find out more about how to participate in the Narnian Virtues project and to receive curriculum materials free of charge. The project is funded by the John Templeton Foundation.

Professor Mark Pike PhD is the Principal Investigator of the Narnian Virtues project. He is Professor of Education at the University of Leeds and holds a PhD in English in Education from Southampton University. Mark was Head (Dean) of the School of Education at the University of Leeds until 2017 when he became CEO of Emmanuel Schools Foundation, a group of schools educating around 6000 young people. His most recent books are Mere Education (Lutterworth) and Ethical English (Bloomsbury).


Marion E. Wade Center Awarded NEH Grant for Preservation Assessment of Books Owned by C.S. Lewis

The Marion E. Wade Center was recently awarded a Preservation Assistance Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to assess conservation needs on a selection of books from the personal library of C.S. Lewis. It is the first NEH grant received by Wheaton College. The conservation assessment will be conducted in spring 2018 by a professional book conservator from Chicago’s Conservation Center, who will spend a week examining 420 volumes from Lewis’s library judged most in need of treatment, and will then prepare a detailed assessment for each volume along with cost estimates to complete the conservation work.

The Wade Center owns over 2,400 volumes from C.S. Lewis’s personal library, the majority of which were purchased in 1986 from a library in England which had obtained them following Lewis’s death. These library books form one of the Wade Center's most heavily accessed collections, making them especially vulnerable to deterioration due to regular handling. The volumes, never before evaluated by a conservator and in varying physical condition, contain Lewis’s annotations of unique, unpublished content. As a result, they are a significant and valued resource for gaining insight into Lewis and his thoughts.

Following the assessment, the Wade Center will create a long-term fundraising plan for conservation treatment of the books based on the assessment recommendations. Since part of the Wade Center’s mission is to make its collections accessible and available for present and future generations of researchers and visitors, this grant is integral to its ongoing preservation efforts and related fundraising initiatives.

The Marion E. Wade Center of Wheaton College, Illinois is a major research collection of materials by and about seven British authors: Owen Barfield, G.K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, George MacDonald, Dorothy L. Sayers, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Charles Williams.

Announcing the Muriel Fuller Endowment for the Imagination and the Arts

The Marion E. Wade Center is delighted to announce the establishment of the Muriel Fuller Endowment for the Imagination and the Arts, funded by the generosity of The Esmond Nissim Foundation, Inc.

Through her friendship with Wade Center founder Clyde S. Kilby, Muriel Fuller, Wheaton College Class of 1923, was an early contributor to the fledging “Lewis Collection” at Wheaton College. The Muriel Fuller Endowment for the Imagination and the Arts continues her legacy of support for the Marion E. Wade Center and the work of the seven Wade authors: Owen Barfield, G.K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, George MacDonald, Dorothy L. Sayers, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Charles Williams. These authors were creative and imaginative artists in a variety of media, including the literary arts such as stories and poetry as well as drama. A number of these writers were gifted in the fine arts, and music was also a significant and valued part of their lives. The creativity of the Wade’s seven authors has in turn inspired a number of other artists throughout the years.

The Muriel Fuller Endowment for the Imagination and the Arts enables the Wade Center to feature the creative accomplishments of the seven authors while also highlighting the work of other artists—who were inspired by the seven—by offering talks, performances, and exhibitions, and by periodically commissioning new works. Aesthetic theory, the theological imagination, and related topics will also be explored through talks and seminars.

The inaugural event for the Muriel Fuller Endowment for the Imagination and the Arts will be held during the 2018-19 academic year.

Publication Announcement: The Messiah Comes to Middle-earth by Dr. Philip G. Ryken

Messiah Comes to Middle Earth Book by RykenNow published: Wheaton College President Dr. Philip G. Ryken’s  book The Messiah Comes to Middle-earth, containing content from the 2015-2016 Hansen Lectureship. In the book, readers discover that they too can learn much through Tolkien's imaginative storytelling. Through the characters of Gandalf, Frodo, and Aragorn, Ryken points us toward Christ as we consider his prophetic, priestly, and royal roles.

Copies are available for sale at the Wade Center or via InterVarsity Press Academic.

Narnian Virtues Character Education Project

lamppost-croppedThe University of Leeds, in collaboration with SUNY Cortland and funded by the John Templeton Foundation, has developed a curriculum utilizing C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia and looking at whether study of the books can help improve students’ character. The curriculum is aimed at 9-13 year olds, and there are 6-12 weeks’ worth of activities for each novel, based on two to four hours per week. Participating schools will receive free PDF documents containing the curriculum materials, as well as updates and ideas via email and social media. More details in the links below.

Narnian Virtues Invitation
Narnian Virtues Workbook Pages
Narnian Virtues Handbook Pages

Contact: narnianvirtues@leeds.ac.uk

Study Guide: Learning from the Spiritual Pilgrimage of C.S. Lewis

In this six-part video series, Lyle Dorsett shares what he learned about Lewis’s spiritual formation, including what factors were involved in shaping him into a mature and influential Christian. The video series was recorded at the 2016 C.S. Lewis Institute Summer Conference held at the Marion E. Wade Center.

This Study Guide is designed to facilitate and enhance use of the videos by small groups. It may also be used by individuals for personal study and reflection.


Explore Media Recordings

View & listen to recordings from our previous programming, and other Wade author-related content, on our Media Page and YouTube channel.

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Volume 33 of VII (2016)

Volume 33 (2016) has been released and is now available for purchase online! This volume includes a transcription of a previously unpublished letter by C.S. Lewis, as well as articles on Dorothy L. Sayers, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Lewis. 


Video on "The Hobbit" and the Wade Center

Learn more about the Wade Center and J.R.R. Tolkien's book The Hobbit.


Gifts and Books at the Wade Gift Store

Items for sale include DVD study guides for C.S. Lewis's works Mere Christianity by Dr. Chris Mitchell and The Screwtape Letters by Dr. Jerry Root. Also for sale are used books by or related to the Wade authors.