Tuesday, September 16, 2008

C.S. Lewis Completes "O Hell"

On this day - September 16 - in 1954, English Literature in the Sixteenth Century, Excluding Drama is published.

C.S. Lewis worked on this project for many years, reading extensive amounts of period literature. He completed the manuscript in May 1952.

Part of the Oxford History of English Literature series, Lewis dubbed the project the "O Hell" based on the acronym OHEL.

The book is now titled Poetry and Prose in the Sixteenth Century and lists for $225.00 in the U.S. Used copies of the original title version run from around $70-$130. Note that some paperback editions omit an extensive bibliography and chronological table.

An image of the original cover accompanies this entry.


Karla said...

Wow. It would be awesome to have a first edition. Has anyone republished it or would I have to find a used copy to get this book?

Robert Velarde said...

I have a reprinted paperback edition from the 70s that I bought used for about $20 or so awhile back.

It lists for $225 new under the revised title, Poetry and Prose in the Sixteenth Century, but can be had for about $180 on Amazon - still a lot, but it's considered an academic reference book. Even used copies under the old title run around $60.

I have no idea what a first edition would go for - probably a lot to a collector.

The practical C.S. Lewis thought it strange that Americans would want first editions of some of his books, particularly those published during the war years - he said the American editions were done on better quality paper and would last longer.