1952 · Oxford
Over the course of the letter, Lewis:
-regrets that Peter and Susan are not returning to Narnia ("they are now getting to the age at which people stop having that sort of adventure for a time");
-offers a preview of the new book, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader ("Lucy and Edmund find Caspian (now King of course) on board ship, sailing to the Eastern end of the Narnian world. There will be lots about Reepicheep. And there will be a Sea Serpent, and a Dragon, and lots of strange islands.");
-announces that there will be seven books in the series and that they will be called "The Chronicles of Narnia";
-discusses the sixth book (revealing that the Professor must have known all along about the existence of the magic wardrobe);
-tantalizingly reveals that the series is very much a work in progress, and that he does not yet know how it will end ("I don't know yet what will happen in the seventh. What do you think would be a good thing to end the whole series with? Of course Aslan will come into them all.");
-lists some books he particularly likes, including Tolkien's The Hobbit and Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows.
The letter reads in full:
May 22. 1952
My dear grittletonians - Thanks for your nice and interesting letters. Like you, I am sorry that Peter and Susan are not going back to Narnia, but I think, being the two eldest, they are now getting to the age at which people stop having that sort of adventure for a time - they may start having it again later, but not for some years. The new book is called The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Lucy and Edmund find Caspian (now King of course) on board ship, sailing to the Eastern end of the Narnian world. There will be lots about Reepicheep. And there will be a Sea Serpent, and a Dragon, and lots of strange islands. I do hope you will all like it. I intend to have seven of these stories altogether - that is, four more after the next one. They will be called The Chronicles [page break]
of Narnia. The sixth ['fifth' deleted and corrected] book will go right back to the beginning and explain how there came to be that magic wardrobe in the Professor's house - for of course you will have guessed that the old Professor must have known something about things like that himself, or else he would never have believed what the children told him. I don't know yet what will happen in the seventh. What do you think would be a good thing to end the whole series with? Of course Aslan will come into them all.
I wonder what other books you all like. I like George MacDonald's two Curdy books and Tolkien's The Hobbit, and [Kenneth Grahame's] The Wind in the Willows. Do you write stories yourselves? I did at your age: it is the greatest fun.
Love and good wishes to all.
[signed] C.S. Lewis
P.S. E. Nesbitt's works are splendid, I think: especially The Phoenix and the Wishing Carpet and The Amulet.
The recipients of the letter, the "Grittletonians", were schoolchildren attending Grittleton House School in Wiltshire who had (apparently) written a fan letter to Lewis.
Note: This letter has only recently surfaced and is not in Lewis's Collected Letters.
Oxford: May 22, 1952. Two pages (one sheet), 5.5x8.5 inches; custom presentation folder. Top edge a little rough (where the sheet was originally cut), expected folds.
A REMARKABLE LETTER: LEWIS LETTERS DISCUSSING ASPECTS OF HIS NARNIA SERIES ARE EXCEEDINGLY SCARCE. (Inventory #: 2231)