Brenton Dickieson has been doing some meticulous numerical work on C.S. Lewis’s  career and publishing updates on his blog.  He’s identified seven distinct periods of Lewis’s writing career. He’s nailed down the times at which Lewis was actually writing each book, as opposed to when they were published.

I always read new posts on “A Pilgrim in Narnia” as they come out, so when I had to learn a new computer-graphics package today, those tables were at the back of my mind.  Here’s a timeline of C.S. Lewis’s annual writing productivity.  The vertical axis is the sum of the number of works Lewis had in progress that year, each divided by the number of years in which he was working on it.

graph of literary production over time

Literary productivity metric, annual

World War II was a great thing for Lewis fans: a big spike upwards in writing, perhaps due to less time spent grading papers?  I see certain resonances with the Pevensie children at the beginning of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe here, but maybe that’s just me.

Of course, once we’ve defined a literary productivity metric, we can set production goals, optimize our schedules, create Gantt charts, and generally bring about a world that Lewis would not approve of at all.

Mea Culpa

If the ground in Holy Trinity Churchyard shows some unevenness tomorrow morning, blame neither frost-heave nor seismic activity.  It’s my fault.