English professor Dr. Don King is the recent recipient of a $6,000 grant from the Appalachian College Association (ACA) for his continuing research concerning British author C.S. Lewis. Dr. King’s research will focus on all of Lewis’ published poetry, along with a modest collection of remaining unpublished poems. The ACA grant will allow Dr. King to commence working on his sixth and final book in the sequential study of C.S. Lewis’ life, The Poetry of C. S. Lewis: A Critical Edition.
Dr. King will begin his work this summer spending much of his time at the Bodleian Library in Oxford, England, as well as the Marion E. Wade Center at Wheaton College in Illinois. These two libraries house the majority of Lewis’ manuscripts. Dr. King will work scrupulously through an array of poetic drafts to produce the best compilation of Lewis’ poetry for his critical edition. He hopes to have a rough draft of his manuscript by the end of the summer in 2012.
Although C.S. Lewis is best known for his literary prose of fiction and non-fiction, he greatly aspired to be a poet. According to Dr. King, “It is no hyperbole to claim that throughout the first thirty years of his life, Lewis lusted to achieve acclaim as a poet.” This strong desire is evident and documented throughout many of Lewis’ primary documents. Dr. King continues, “Many of these [Lewis’] poems have been published in journals and magazines, and because of the work of his literary executor, Walter Hooper, some appear in collections.” He continues, “In spite of the good work done by Hooper, there is no comprehensive collection of Lewis’ poetry, and none of the existing collections are critical editions.” Dr. King’s labor will explore and highlight the work of C.S. Lewis as a poet, and will provide the reader with the most accurate rendition of the original texts.
Dr. Don King has been an essential member of Montreat College’s faculty since 1974. He currently serves as Professor of English at Montreat College, Editor of Christian Scholar’s Review, and is a renowned scholar of C.S. Lewis. He has published over 60 articles and since 1997, he has published three of the six books in his series related to C.S. Lewis.
The benefit of this grant will go beyond the life of Dr. King. The research will most certainly enhance his repertoire of knowledge and teaching skills, but it doesn’t stop there. As Professor of English, Dr. King has a unique opportunity to share this adventure in literary fieldwork with many of his students. He will have the chance to share about the project with students as well as actively engage them in the process. Not only will this research give the world an accurate portrayal of Lewis’ poetry, but it will enlighten and engage the next generation in the invaluable process of research and critical thinking.