re. the C. S. Lewis Correspondence Project
So, re-reading my most recent post after hitting send I realized I had another point I'd wanted to make. Hence this follow-on post.
I think this project has a good chance of success because it builds on a model the Wade Center used to good effect for years --certainly before I started going to the Wade (1983ff). They had photocopies of their Lewis letters in row after row of big binders. Inside each binder on the left hand was a photocopy of a page from a letter by CSL. Facing it on the right side was a typed transcription of the same page. When occasion offered --for example, a staff member or work-study student had some time free from other tasks-- she wd add another batch of transcriptions. This not only made the material more available (not everyone finds Lewis's handwriting easy to read without some practice) but protected the originals from wear and tear. And it was self-correcting, since later users of the material wd point out misreadings and typos.
I think something similar, aside from the technological advances, likely to serve as a model for this new project. Once the basic procedure is established, a huge project can become manageable, the work divided up among many hands. There's the added bonus that the work becomes useful right away, increasing that utility as long as the project continues.
The only potential pitfalls I wd be wary of are (1) that this will be a massive amount of work and (2) I hope they have a procedure in place whereby members of the Steering Committee can drop out and new members recruited if needed, to guard against the 'Dead Sea Scroll' effect.
In short: a great idea that looks promising, with an end product that wd be of great use to more than just Lewis scholars. Let's hope things go well.
current reading: "Refuge of Insulted Saints", in HIGH SPIRITS: A COLLECTION OF GHOST STORIES by Robertson Davies
*the title of this post, by the way, comes from an Arlo Guthrie song