(October 2012, 415 pages)
[see full book and purchase information]
It’s the end of an “era” for me, in terms of one aspect of my online activities. I have maintained web pages on the great writers and/or apologists C. S. Lewis, G. K. Chesterton, and Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman from the time I began my website in February 1997. The idea was to provide a service for readers: collect in one place just about any significant link I could find regarding these men, so that my page could be a “one-stop” option. I did the hard work finding the tidbits of information, and readers could benefit by that and save tons of time, searching.
This was a viable approach till around 2001 or 2002, when the Google search engine really began to take off. I think since that time, most folks simply do searches if they are interested in a topic, rather than seek one page that collects links. Also, obviously, “competition” online has increased exponentially since the late 90s. In those days, my web pages about individual authors were just one of a handful of such sites. Now there are many dozens of such pages. It was fun while it lasted, but times change, and one must accept that. I hope readers will excuse me if I reminisce a bit and take a trip down “Internet Memory Lane.”
C. S. Lewis has been my favorite Christian writer since the late 70s (during my evangelical and Catholic periods alike), though now Chesterton and Newman are very close to that status. I wanted to share my love of his work with my readers. The two Shadowlands biographical movies increased awareness of his life (and writing) to even more people, as did the Chronicles of Narnia series of movies.
My last major effort to update the C. S. Lewis web page was over ten years ago. I removed inactive links and added 325 new ones on 11 January 2006. Bad links were removed again on 19 November 2009. I’ve done next to nothing with it since then. In the halcyon days of the page, however, it was awarded a Times Pick by the Los Angeles Times on 24 November 1998, and was frequently recommended as a top Lewis reference source by the prominent evangelical magazine Christianity Today. For example, Christianity Today online, under the article C. S. Lewis Superstar (11-23-05) noted in the midst of a long list of Lewis links: “Still hungry for more? You’ll probably never have the time to read everything linked at the C. S. Lewis Mega-Links page.” That was the (really) old name for my Lewis web page.
1998 (only the second year of my website’s existence), was a good year, since I received the “Catholic Website of the Year” award from Patrick Madrid’s Envoy Magazine. The Lewis page was one of my most popular ones, judging by the Site Meter that I used to have on it. It received many rave reviews from Catholics and non-Catholics alike. Notably, C. S. Lewis’ stepson Doug Gresham commented as early as August 1997: “Well done, good website.” I was also humbled and gratified by this comment from a Lewis scholar, who had taken note of my last major update:
I want to congratulate you on the updating of and additions to your excellent website C.S. Lewis: 20th-Century Christian Knight. Before you made those changes, it already was an excellent, valuable resource for studying Lewis, one to which I sent students as a starting point if they wanted to do a research paper involving Lewis. The changes have made it even more easily usable, more up-to-date, and more thorough and reliable. Best wishes as you continue your scholarship and writing on the Inklings and on Catholic apologetics.
Peter Schakel, English professor at Hope College, Holland, Michigan, and author of The Way into Narnia: A Reader’s Guide (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 2005), 2-16-06
Of many positive comments received through the years, here are a few:
I am a French Catholic academic . . . I am specially indebted to C. S. Lewis – I wrote my PhD Thesis on him (on the relation of imagination to reality), and translated The Abolition of Man in French . . . thanks for your magnificent page.
— Irene Fernandez, Catholic convert, 11-5-97
May I say that your website is one of the finest I’ve ever visited, and I have visited often. I especially love your . . . C.S. Lewis and John Henry Newman links. You have cleared up many misconceptions I had concerning Catholic theology and doctrine. Your page is in the spirit of true ecumenism and Christianity. I hope this year to read the Bible in its entirety, and get half-way through your site!
— Episcopalian laywoman, 8-3-98
As for some students who are spending a summer in Oxford, most of the material we have drawn from the net has been from the links on your page, especially those concerning Newman, Chesterton, and C. S. Lewis. Thanks for propagating our ideas and beliefs through your pages!
— Catholic laywoman, 7-1-99
I used to visit your site several times a day. And, to this day, your site is the link to the world of my heroes C.S. Lewis and G.K. Chesterton.
— Catholic layman, 12-12-01
I’ve really enjoyed going through your site, and have especially enjoyed your apologetics, Celtic, and CS Lewis links. You’ve got a very special ministry, and I pray that you’ll be able to continue doing God’s work for a long time.
— Episcopal / Anglican laywoman, 1-21-04
Here is one of the latest Blogspot versions of my Lewis page, from Internet Archive: dated 5 September 2015. The earliest Blogspot version of the page still available is dated 4 August 2007. But we can trace it back further on my original “ic.net” website: to 27 July 2004, 3 August 2001, and all the way back to 7 December 1998: a little less than two years from its inception. Internet Archive kept “capturing” this page: 384 times, from 1998 to 2016, even though the page moved to Blogspot in 2006. I guess that gives some indication of its popularity. It’s been a great run. Thanks for reading!
My John Henry Cardinal Newman page was equally a labor of love, since he was the main intellectual force in my conversion to Catholicism (as I have detailed). I consider him my “theological hero” and in my (strictly amateur) opinion, he had the greatest and most penetrating mind of any Catholic since St. Thomas Aquinas. I have compiled three books of his quotations. You can see the first one at the top. The second was finished in 2013, and the third in 2015. When Newman is finally canonized (hopefully before I die), almost certainly I will receive some significant royalties from these efforts. I eagerly await that day. I have not, as of yet, which might be surprising, considering Newman’s immense stature, but that is how it goes today. Readers often purchase on impulse. It is tough to be a full-time apologist, and so any new income will be warmly welcomed and appreciated. Meanwhile, if anyone reading this is interested in my various quotations books, the links are in this paper.
Here is a Blogspot version of my Newman page, from Internet Archive: dated 7 September 2015. The earliest Blogspot version of the page still available is dated 25 April 2007. Archived versions of my original “ic.net” website are available from 2 June 2004, 2 August 2001, and (the earliest): 22 April 1999.
The G. K. Chesterton web page was the third of the “Big 3” links pages. I was honored to be interviewed by Dale Ahlquist, president of the American Chesterton Society and noted GKC author and lecturer. This was in the March 2010 edition of that society’s Gilbert Magazine. Here is the beginning portion of the interview (his words in blue):
Dave, you’ve been promoting Chesterton even longer than the American Chesterton Society. I recall when we put up our Web page, your Chesterton site was one of our first links.*
Isn’t that something! I don’t recall mine being even older than your wonderful, “gold standard” Web site (that I have made many scores of links to through the years). I was honored also to find that my page was occasionally mentioned by the evangelical Protestant flagship magazine Christianity Today as a resource. It meant a lot to me because of my own evangelical past to be mentioned there at all.
This was back in the days of gasoline-powered computers.
Even before that: I had to ride a bike that was connected to a generator, to power my computer. Saved money on gasoline . . . good exercise too. :-)
When did you start your Web site?
I first put up my Web site (“Biblical Evidence for Catholicism”) in February 1997. The Chesterton page was there from the beginning.
Ours went up in November of that year.
Along with the Chesterton page, there were C. S. Lewis and Cardinal Newman pages, and they remain to this day. I had photographs of all three at the top of my home page. My intention from the start was to provide a sort of “storehouse of apologetic information.” These “author pages” constituted a big part of that goal of comprehensive links having to do with the great apologists of the past. I wanted to make clear the tradition of “reasoned Christianity” that I’ve sought to be a part of in my meager efforts.
I love the “instant information access” capability of the Internet, and used to spend many many hours collecting any links I could find about Chesterton (back when Yahoo was the big search engine: long before Google), and the others. I still will search the Internet for some new GKC material. I always enjoy it, and it is all in service to the Great Man: to share him with as many others as I can.
I used to love, particularly, to collect all of the free book links to Chesterton works (most of his being public domain), on this page. But people simply search them now, so the need for a page of links is less and less. I enjoyed doing it, and was glad to provide the service to fellow GKC lovers. Similarly, the Newman Reader website (which I played a small role in starting up) has virtually all of Cardinal Newman’s works posted (but in compoete copies, not just links). My Chesterton page was also frequently cited as a resource: particularly by Christianity Today.
In 2009, my book, The Wisdom of Mr. Chesterton: The Very Best Quotes, Quips & Cracks from the Pen of G. K. Chesterton was published by Saint Benedict Press (which has merged with TAN Books). The Ahlquist interview was mostly devoted to this book, and it is carried in the catalogue of The American Chesterton Society. As with the Newman quotations books, and indeed all of my many quotations books (including John Wesley, the Church Fathers [one / two / three], Catholic mystics and contemplatives, the “Catholic Luther”, classic apologists, and St. Thomas Aquinas), it has not sold well. Go figure. In any event, whether one person or a million read these books, it is part of my life’s mission to spread knowledge of these great Christian and Catholic writers as best I can.
Here is a Blogspot version of my Chesterton page, from Internet Archive: dated 9 September 2015. The earliest Blogspot version of the page still available is dated 22 April 2007. Archived versions of my original “ic.net” website are available from 2 June 2004, 2 July 2001, and (the earliest): 3 February 1999.
My Malcolm Muggeridge web page will also no longer be maintained, for the same reasons. It was never nearly as extensive as those of the “big 3”: but nevertheless caught the notice of some Muggeridge societies and relatives of the great journalist and Catholic convert. I was invited to the centennial of his birth in 2003 as a result. I couldn’t make it, but it was a great honor to be asked. Here are links to the page, archived on 7 September 2015, 25 April 2007, 3 June 2003, and 5 December 1998.
I will, however, maintain my Romantic and Imaginative Theology: Inklings of the World Beyond web page, but minus all the links (excepting a few extraordinary ones). I’ll be posting the papers I wrote myself about Lewis and Chesterton (and the broad topic itself) there, whereas I’ll post papers about Newman on my General Catholic Apologetics or (when appropriate) Development of Doctrine, or Catholic Conversion pages. I last did a major update of the Romantic Theology page in 2006, too (again, 325 links!), and no doubt, many links are defunct. Those wishing to, can see a recent archived version from 6 September 2015, and older captures from 3 July 2007, 2 June 2004, and 2o December 2001. Before that it morphs into the Old American Architecture Photo Page.
Back in 2000, I used to host a number of topical links pages that eventually fell by the wayside: St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, Top-Notch Christian Book & Search Links, Ireland, Scotland, and England. The Lewis, Chesterton, and Newman pages kept this “links page” tradition going the longest (over 19 years!), but alas, it is time to pack it in now.
I’d love to hear feedback from anyone who has enjoyed these “super-links” web pages through the years. It was my pleasure to provide the service to you. I never made a dime for all that work, and as I noted, even my quotations books don’t sell well, so it was clearly a labor of love and my tribute and homage to these great writers that I love so much. I was happy to do it. And God bless Internet Archive, which allows us to see old web pages. IN that sense, these pages live on, and will be available for some time.
Meta Description: My Cardinal Newman, C. S. Lewis, & G. K. Chesterton links pages will all be discontinued. It was a great run for 19 years. Thanks for reading!
Meta Keywords: John Henry Newman, Cardinal Newman, C. S. Lewis, Malcolm Muggeridge, G. K. Chesterton