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TO BEDE GRIFFITHS: On Lewis’s favorite novel by Charles Dickens; on the desire to die; on longing; on joy; on having; and on wanting.
5 November 1954
The best Dickens always seems to me to be the one I have read last! But in a cool hour I put Bleak House top for its sheer prodigality of invention.
About death, I go through different moods, but the times when I can desire it are never, I think, those when this world seems harshest. On the contrary, it is just when there seems to be most of Heaven already here that I come nearest to longing for the patria. It is the bright frontispiece [which] whets one to read the story itself. All joy (as distinct from mere pleasure, still more amusement) emphasises our pilgrim status: always reminds, beckons, awakes desire. Our best havings are wantings.
• From The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis
• Compiled in Yours, Jack