General Editor's Note:

This year’s Table of Contents requires some explanation. As a young man, C. S. Lewis aspired to make his mark as a poet. His first two books remain testaments to that unrealized dream: Spirits in Bondage: A Cycle of Lyrics (1919) and his narrative poem, Dymer (1926). Don King has done much to refocus scholarly attention on the poetry of Lewis through C. S. Lewis, Poet: The Legacy of His Poetic Impulse (2001) and more recently in The Collected Poems of C. S. Lewis: A Critical Edition (2015). Jerry Root first advanced his own theory regarding the rhetorical connection between the “pre-Christian” Dymer and Lewis’s “more mature work”1 in his 2004 doctoral dissertation. That theory has now been given a more robust treatment in Splendour in the Dark: C. S. Lewis’s Dymer in his Life and Work (2020), the published version of his 2018–19 Ken and Jean Hansen Lectureship series at the Marion E. Wade Center.

In the current volume of Sehnsucht, Norbert Feinendegen provides a different perspective on Dymer using as his lens spiritual autobiography rather than rhetoric. Feinendegen’s treatment is longer than most journal articles yet not long enough to be published separately as a book. The Editorial Body of Sehnsucht has taken the unusual step of approving the publication of this extended essay in hopes of continuing the conversation on the poetry of C. S. Lewis and his safe but unsettled years between the Great War and his return to Christian faith. An extended poetry section accompanies the long article on Dymer and contains six new compositions.

John M. Gillespie’s essay explores the surprising similarities between Lewis and another prolific Christian writer and poet, Thomas Merton. That essay, along with fourteen reviews, rounds out the main portion of Volume 17.

The formal announcement of the C. S. Lewis Correspondence Project is being jointly published at approximately the same time in four journals including Sehnsucht. This includes a transcription of the 22 May 1952 letter from Lewis to children at the Grittleton House School. It appears in the Announcements section along with notices of the inaugural Undiscovered C. S. Lewis Conference and our journal’s own call for papers: “The Abolition of Man 80 Years On.”

The efforts of the entire Editorial Body are significant, and I remain grateful for what each editor contributes as well as for the labors of each author. As always, Sehnsucht remains committed to the collaborative goal of upholding the highest of academic standards.

1 Jerry Root, C. S. Lewis and a Problem of Evil: An Investigation of a Pervasive Theme (Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications, 2009), 241.