Last modified on May 4, 2024, at 16:09

C. S. Lewis

C. S. Lewis

Born November 29, 1898
Belfast, Ireland
Died November 22, 1963
Oxford, England
Spouse Joy Davidman
Religion Anglican

Clive Staples ("C.S.") Lewis (born November 29, 1898, Belfast - d. November 22, 1963, Oxford) was an Irish writer, novelist, essayist, moral mythologist, philosopher and a world-acclaimed master of Christian apologetics. He is considered by many to have been the greatest intellectual defender of Christianity in the 20th century. He is famous for writing Mere Christianity (3 books), The Chronicles of Narnia and, before that, The Screwtape Letters. It is estimated that more than 200 million copies of his books, totaling about 40 including his works of fiction, have sold. His The Chronicles of Narnia series has sold over 100 million copies and become three major motion pictures. C.S. Lewis also wrote 3,200 letters.[1] C.S. Lewis converted from atheism to Christianity based on reasoning and logic.

He was a proponent of natural law and explained it further,[2] most notably in C. S. Lewis shows in The Abolition of Man.

He first married at age 57 to an American woman with children, who had converted to Christianity from atheistic communism by reading C.S. Lewis's writings. One of his adopted sons later described him as someone who would have opposed abortion today.[3] A frugal man, C.S. Lewis walked 3.5 miles to work.[4] He died the same day that JFK was assassinated.

Early life

The second son of Albert James Lewis, a solicitor, and Flora Augusta Hamilton Lewis, whose father was a Church of Ireland minister, he was born in Belfast Ireland and baptized as an infant in the Anglican church at St Mark's Dundela, Belfast. Aged 4, after his pet dog "Jacksie" was killed by a car, Lewis declared that his name was now Jacksie. This later became truncated to Jacks then Jack, the name used by friends and family for the rest of his life. His older brother was Warren Hamilton Lewis (1895 - 1973) whom C. S. referred to as "Warnie" and described as "my dearest and closest friend." The brothers formed a very close bond playing together at home, writing and illustrating stories for their fictional world called "Boxen", a world populated by dressed, talking animals, and obviously the precursor of the land of Narnia, the magical land of children's adventures that retell the story of the Creation, Fall, and Redemption of humankind. Lewis loved to read, and as his father's house was filled with books, he felt that finding a book he had not read was as easy as "finding a blade of grass." The "reality" he found on the pages of this extensive library seemed as tangible and meaningful to him as anything that transpired outside in the "real world", and he has said of these childhood years that "at the age of seven, and eight, I was living almost entirely in my imagination; or at least that the imaginative experience of those years now seems to me more important than anything else."[5]

Lewis as a child

C. S. was homeschooled until he was 10 years old. On August 23, 1908 - her husband's birthday - Flora Lewis died of cancer. In the same year, Albert Lewis' father and brother also died, and as their father grieved, C.S. and Warren Lewis were left with only each other for comfort and support.


Lewis was enrolled at Wynyard School in Watford, Hertfordshire, in September 1908, where Warren was already a pupil. Lewis was unhappy at the "brutal"[6] school, which in later life he referred to as "Belsen"[7] or "Oldies" after the nickname of the Headmaster, Robert "Oldie" Capron (who was later committed to an asylum for the insane.) Lewis was withdrawn from the school in June 1910, the school closing shortly afterwards due to a lack of pupils. In September 1910, he was enrolled as a boarding student at Campbell College, Belfast, one mile from the family home, and where he remained until November of the same year, when he was withdrawn after developing serious respiratory difficulties.

As a result of his health problems, Lewis was sent in 1911 to Malvern, England, which was widely regarded as a health resort, especially for those with tuberculosis and lung ailments. He was enrolled as a student at Cherbourg House (which he referred to as "Chartres"), a prep school near to Malvern College where his brother Warren was by now a student, and here he remained until June 1913. His love of fiction developed further while at school: "I also developed a great taste for all the fiction I could get about the ancient world: Quo Vadis, Darkness and Dawn, The Gladiators, Ben Hur. Early Christians came into many of these stories, but they were not what I was after. I simply wanted sandals, temples, togas, slaves, emperors, galleys, amphitheaters, the attraction, as I now see, was erotic, and erotic in rather a morbid way." [7]

It was during this time that he abandoned his childhood Christian faith. The Matron of Cherbourg House was very influential on the young Lewis, contributing enormously to his decision to declare himself an atheist:

She was floundering in the mazes of Theosophy, Rosicrucianism, Spiritualism; the whole Anglo-American Occultist tradition. I had never heard of such things before; never, except in a nightmare or a fairy tale, conceived of spirits other than God and men. I had loved to read of strange sights and other worlds and unknown modes of being, but never with the slightest belief. Without knowing it, I was already desperately anxious to get rid of my religion. You might ask how I combined my directly Atheistical thought with my Occultist fancies. They had only this in common, that both made against Christianity. And so, little by little I became an apostate, dropping my faith. Dear Miss C. had been the occasion of much good to me as well as of evil. Nor would I deny that in all her 'Higher Thought,' disastrous though its main effect on me was, there were elements of real and disinterested spirituality by which I benefited.[7]

His melancholy search for the security and settledness he had taken for granted before his mother's death, the constant moving from school to school (where at each he faced the loneliness of being a non-athletic boy whose aesthetic sensibilities were out of step with his peers), combined with the "distant" personality of his father make his adolescent rejection of religion easier to understand. This is qualified by the adult Lewis himself when he later described his young self as being (paradoxically) "very angry with God for not existing".[7]

He left Cherbourg House in the summer of 1913 and enrolled at Malvern College (which he called "Wyvern") where he studied until June 1914. In September 1914, Lewis was enrolled for private tuition with W.T. Kirkpatrick, known as the "The Great Knock," in Great Bookham, Surrey, where he remained until April 1917. Kirkpatrick, a former Headmaster of Lurgan College, Northern Ireland, had been both a tutor and legal client of Albert Lewis and had already successfully prepared Warren Lewis for admission to the Army's Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. Lewis admired and strove to be like Kirkpatrick all of his adult life, and said of him "[he was] a man who thought not about you but about what you said."[7] It is clear that "Professor Digory Kirk" of the Narnia tales is a tribute to Kirkpatrick.

In December 1916, Lewis first visited the University of Oxford to take a scholarship examination and in April 1917 began his study at University College, Oxford. Although interrupted by his service in World War I, Lewis resumed his studies in January 1919 and received a First in Honour Moderations (Greek and Latin Literature) in 1920, a First in Greats (Philosophy and Ancient History) in 1922, and a First in English in 1923.

Military service

Lewis had joined the Officer Training Corps in September 1913 whilst at Malvern College. Although he had left the corps when he had commenced his study under Kirkpatrick, he rejoined the Malvern Contingent of the Oxford University OTC in March 1917. On April 25, 1917, he applied to join an Officer Cadet Unit, stating a preference to serve in the infantry, preferably with the King's Own Scottish Borderers or Royal Fusiliers, or with a horse transport unit of the Army Service Corps. Still under the age of 21, the application was counter-signed by his father and character references were taken from Arthur C. Allen (his former Schoolmaster at Malvern) and also from Kirkpatrick. His action was completely voluntary, as although conscription had been in force in Britain since the introduction of the Military Service Act in 1916, it did not apply to Irish nationals. Five days later the Officer Commanding Oxford University Officers Training Corps completed a recommendation that Lewis attend an Officer Cadet Unit, noting that Lewis was "likely to make an useful officer but will not have had sufficient training for admission to an OCU before the end of June".[8]

The medical examination then conducted reveals that Lewis was 5 feet 10¾ inches tall and weighed 182 pounds, with a chest measurement of 34½ inches fully expanded and 32 at rest. His vision was rated "good".[9]

On June 1, 1917 Lewis was admitted to No.4 Officer Cadet Battalion, with a minimum service commitment of 4½ months. It was during this period that Lewis shared a room and became close friends with another cadet, Edward Courtnay Francis "Paddy" Moore (1898-1918), striking a mutual pact that if either died during the war, the survivor would take care of both their families. In September, he was transferred from the Oxford University OTC to a temporary commission with the rank of Second Lieutenant in the Special Reserve of Officers in the Regular Army. He was posted to the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion of the Somerset Light Infantry in South Devon, and a few days later was then posted to join the 1st Battalion of the regiment in France.[9]

On November 17, 1917, Lewis arrived in Le Havre, France where he joined his unit. He arrived at the front lines near Monchy-le-Preux on his nineteenth birthday.[10]

He was wounded during the Battle of Arras on April 15, 1918 by shell fragments to the chest, which also broke a rib, left wrist and left leg. After a week of treatment, he was evacuated back to England where he was hospitalized until December 24, 1918 and was demobilized from the Army. Paddy Moore had been killed in action near Peronne, France, and Lewis struck up a close relationship with his mother, Janie King Moore (1873-1951). Although she was 25 years older than Lewis, they were clearly particularly fond of one another and Mrs. Moore played an important role in his convalescence as his father refused to visit him.

Mrs. Moore and The Kilns

In the summer of 1920, Mrs. Moore and her daughter Maureen moved to Oxford and rented a house in Headington Quarry. Lewis lived with the Moores from June 1921 onward. In August 1930, they all moved to Hillsboro, Headington. In October 1930, Mrs. Moore, Lewis, and Warren Lewis, by now an Army Major, purchased The Kilns jointly, with title to the property being taken solely in the name of Mrs. Moore and the two brothers holding rights of life tenancy. Built in 1922, The Kilns was a modest twelve-room brick cottage. Warren said later: "Jack and I went out and saw the place on Sunday morning, and I instantly caught the infection: we did not go inside the house, but the eight acre garden is such stuff as dreams are made of."[11]

Warren Lewis retired from the military and moved in to the The Kilns in 1932. The nature of the relationship between Lewis and Mrs. Moore has been the subject of much speculation, although it is most likely that he looked to her as a surrogate for his own dead mother, and she likewise for her dead son. Lewis' stepson Douglas Gresham stated in his biography of Lewis that the relationship "will remain a mystery".[12] That he regarded her as an adoptive mother, and felt a filial duty towards her, became more apparent in later life, when Mrs. Moore became "difficult, demanding, and eventually demented"[13] due to Alzheimer's Disease. In 1950, she was moved into a nursing home nearby. Lewis visited her every day, even turning down speaking engagements so as not to disappoint her. On her death in 1951 he said: "There has been a great change in my life owing to the death of the old lady I called my mother. She died, without apparent pain after many months of semi-conscious existence, and it would be hypocritical to pretend that it was a grief to us."

University Professor

Between October 1924 and May 1925, Lewis held the post of philosophy tutor at University College, Oxford while the permanent tutor, E.F. Carritt, took an absence for study leave in the America. In 1925, he was made a Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford, and tutored there until 1954, when he accepted the Chair in, and became first Professor of, Medieval and Renaissance English at the University of Cambridge. Among many of his students at Magdalen College was the poet John Betjeman, although there was no friendship between them - Lewis disliked Betjeman's relaxed attitude towards his work, including Betjeman appearing in tutorials still wearing his bedroom slippers.[14]

Embracing Christianity

The choice to embrace Christianity was depicted by Lewis as the result of the writings of two religious authors, and discussions with three friends, each of whom Lewis cites as a critical influence upon his conversion. The first of these was the 19th century novelist George MacDonald, whose works, Phantastes and Lillith, Lewis read at age nineteen and "baptized his imagination, preparing him for a preternatural world beyond the strictly materialist one he had grown so tired of."[15]

The second author was G. K. Chesterton, whose The Everlasting Man, provided a "Christian theory of history." In Surprised by Joy Lewis says: "In reading Chesterton, as in reading MacDonald, I did not know what I was letting myself in for. A young man who wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading. God is, if I may say it, very unscrupulous."[7]

By 1929, Lewis had renounced atheism, and declared himself a theist: "You must picture me alone in that room in Magdalen, night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England." [7] His detractors have made much of his apparent loathing of his return to theism, usually quoting his statement "I came into Christianity kicking and screaming", but seen in the full context of his writings this was not a loathing of God or Christianity, but a self-loathing of what that would personally mean to him about himself: "All my acts, desires, and thoughts were to be brought into harmony with universal Spirit. For the first time I examined myself with a seriously practical purpose. And there I found what appalled me: a zoo of lusts, a bedlam of ambitions, a nursery of fears, a harem of fondled hatreds."[7]

The three friends who influenced him were his tutor Kirkpatrick, who taught Lewis "a form of rigorous inquiry that sought objective truth through the relentless probing of an opponent's positions and definitions, a fierce and, in Kirkpatrick's hands, exaggerated version of Socratic dialogue."[16] Owen Barfield, one of his close friends at Oxford, contributed to his acceptance of theism by forcing Lewis through debate to overcome his "uncritical acceptance of the intellectual climate common to our age and the assumption that whatever has gone out of date is on that count discredited."[7] Liberated from the notion that the past was invariably wrong and that the present always the barometer of truth, Lewis was able to embrace the possibility that the ancient Christian narrative could have validity even in the twentieth century.[16]

It was Lewis' frequent discussions with J.R.R. Tolkien that proved the final turning point. Tolkien was himself a devout Catholic, and through their debates Lewis came to understand that while Christianity may itself comprise a mythology of sorts, it was, in fact, "the true myth, myth become fact" [17] and the one in which Lewis could put his full confidence, heart, mind, and soul. On the evening of September 19, 1931, he invited Tolkien and Hugo Dyson to dine with him in Magdalen College. The talk continued through the night, in Lewis' rooms and also out in the grounds of the college.[18] Lewis recalls in Surprised by Joy that an outing with his brother the following day saw his final acceptance of Christianity: "When we set out [by motorcycle to the zoo] I did not believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, and when we reached the zoo I did."[17] In a letter to his long time friend Arthur Greeves, dated October 1, 1931, Lewis writes: "I have just passed on from believing in God to definitely believing in Christ — in Christianity. My long night talk with Dyson and Tolkien had a good deal to do with it."

Lewis the author

(See also Christian apologetics of C.S. Lewis)
Having had two of his poetry collections (Spirits in Bondage (1919) and Dymer (1926)) published under the pseudonym Clive Hamilton, in 1933 Lewis drew upon his rediscovered Christianity and produced his first theological work The Pilgrim's Regress: An Allegorical Apology for Christianity, Reason, and Romanticism, relating his own voyage from skepticism to belief.

Lewis on the cover of Time magazine, September 8, 1947

The circle of literary friends he met through his time at Magdalen College became an informal discussion society known as "The Inklings", formed in 1933, and which included Tolkien, Dyson, Charles Williams, Owen Barfield, as well as his brother Warren. The Inklings gathered regularly at "The Eagle and Child" public house (known colloquially as the "Bird and Baby") where they drank beer, discussed philosophy, and critiqued each other's work. They also met informally in Lewis' rooms at the college. Both Tolkien and Lewis shared their classic works with The Inklings during the writing stage, including Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings and Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia. This talented group of writers have been acknowledged as changing modern literature. The group met twice a week for the next 16 years.

Lewis began to publish works on Medieval Literature after the success of his contribution on 16th century English Literature for the Oxford History of English Literature series and in 1936, The Allegory of Love: A Study in Medieval Tradition was published. In 1938, Out of the Silent Planet, the first installment of The Space Trilogy was published, written as a result of Lewis' own frustration at the available works of science fiction of the day. The final installment, That Hideous Strength was published in 1946.

Lewis' theological works began to attract much critical acclaim, starting with The Problem of Pain (1940) but it was The Screwtape Letters, which were published in weekly installments by The Guardian newspaper, that saw his position as apologist confirmed. On the success of his writings, he was invited to broadcast many talks on BBC Radio on the topic of religion and faith, which he continued throughout the rest of his life.

The huge success of The Screwtape Letters led to Lewis being featured on the cover of Time magazine in 1947, by which point the book had gone through 20 British and 14 U.S. printings. In 1950, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was published and quickly the series of seven books, collectively called The Chronicles of Narnia, were published at the rate of one a year. The series was an attempt to bring the lessons of Christianity and the Bible to a young audience, while still keeping them entertained by the narrative. Although not immediately popular, word of mouth increased the demand and they were taken into the hearts of both young and old readers alike.


Many consider Lewis the most important Christian writer in the English language. He is, certainly, among the most popular. Over fifty books have been published to his credit, and annual book sales remain over two million, with more than 200 million copies of his books sold worldwide. All have never been out of print, and there are more than 200 individual fan clubs, readers groups and C.S. Lewis societies around the world.[19][20] However, his success and prominence can not be interpreted by evaluating his novels or poetry alone. Dabney Hart, who has written and lectured extensively about Lewis said, "I think it does no disservice to him to say that he is not one of the great novelists of the 20th century. I think he would have been the first person to say that himself."[21] Biographer John Ryan Duncan sums up Lewis' literary greatness as "his ability to simplify an intellectual or philosophical concept and to assist readers on a spiritual journey of their own."[22] The heart of Lewis' work is about values, morality and the battle between good and evil, and he used his writing to ask the philosophical, psychological, and moral questions that are at the core every person's existence: Is there a God? If so, is there only one God? If there is a God, then why does evil permeate our world? Why is there famine, war, overpopulation, death and destruction? How does belief in God help nurture happiness and fulfillment? How does faith heal and help someone overcome pain?

The way Lewis posed spiritual questions in both his fiction and non-fiction writing set him apart from many writers of his or any generation. Few writers are able to place the search for God or enlightenment in a context that is equally thought provoking and entertaining. Lewis was able to walk that fine line. His intellect and his vast knowledge of English literature and mythology helped him craft his argument and his storytelling. But it was more than that: Lewis was also able to harness the same imagination and creativity that served him as a child and use it to explore different worlds, colorful landscapes, and multi-dimensional characters consumed by the same human frailties and temptations that besiege us all.[23]

Personal life

While it is Lewis' work that is both lasting and inspired, there is an ongoing interest in who Lewis was as a man. Much of his adulthood was defined by simple routine: Lewis lived a quiet, humble, communal, and uniquely provincial lifestyle in sharp contrast to the worlds he explored in his books. He often said he was a throwback to an earlier century: he couldn't drive, he rarely wore a watch, and, until late in life, his travels were limited to Ireland, England and his war time service in France. From the age of 18, Oxford was his home.

Lewis and his wife Joy
Chris Mitchell, director of the Marion E. Wade Center at Wheaton College (the world's largest repository of Lewis' scholarly writings and memorabilia), said of him:
He was a man of habit. I don't think he was the sort of guy who necessarily stood out unless you engaged him. You would never have thought of him as an Oxford don because of the way he dressed. Neat freaks would not have admired Lewis. He could be loud and boisterous but I don't know that his personality could be called eccentric. His life was filled with friends, teaching at the college, reading and his work. And of course, walking. But he didn't take in the cinema. He didn't have a public social life. Especially in American contemporary terms, he was kind of a boring guy, which is ironic because he's anything but that in his writings.[24]
Walter Hooper, who acted as a temporary secretary for Lewis, described him as:
So humble and kind, and such a simple man. I can't imagine anyone not feeling comfortable with him... There was nothing daunting about his home or the way he lived. He was one of those fortunate people who didn't really need much to make him happy. If you had put him in a palace, he would have admired it for its beauty, but he didn't need those things... Lewis' house was so basic. There was even a hole in the floor that you had to be careful the chair didn't fall into. And the food he liked couldn't have been simpler: sausages and mashed potatoes, fish and chips.[25]

Joy Davidman

Helen Joy Davidman Gresham (b.April 18, 1915, New York - d.July 13, 1960 Oxford) was an award-winning American poet (the Yale Younger Poets Series Award, for her 1938 poetry collection, Letter to a Comrade), born into a family of Polish and Ukrainian Jewish immigrants. She began reading before she was 3. At 8, she read H.G. Wells' Outline of History and pronounced herself an atheist. Davidman entered Hunter College at 14, and took a degree at 19. Three semesters later, in 1935, she received her master's degree with honors from Columbia University. She began publishing poetry in America's most prestigious poetry magazine, Poetry, the next year.

She first heard of Lewis through his Christian writings and later through his Narnia tales, which her sons had read avidly. She rediscovered religion and converted to Christianity in 1948, partly as a result of Lewis' writings. She was encouraged to strike up a trans-Atlantic correspondence with him by fellow poet and C.S. Lewis Scholar Chad Walsh. Her correspondence eventually became a warm friendship, and during a trip to London in 1952 in search of a publisher for her poetry and a home for her family, she invited Lewis to meet her for tea. He and his brother accepted. Clearly, Lewis was quite taken with her, and her candor and willingness to compete with him in battles of wits made her a welcome presence in his life. Yet to say that he loved her from the beginning would be to presume. It's unlikely that this dedicated bachelor would have recognized loving Joy immediately let alone admit to it. Warren Lewis observed: "For Jack the attraction was at first undoubtedly intellectual. Joy was the only woman whom he had met who had a brain which matched his own in suppleness, in width of interest, and in analytical grasp, and above all in humour and a sense of fun."[26]

Gresham was married to William Gresham, also an acclaimed author, although the marriage was unhappy due to his alcoholism and infidelities. Joy divorced Gresham in 1953 when he professed his love for another woman but invited his wife to join him and his lover in a ménage a’ trois. Taking her sons, she returned to London, intending to make England her new home. In 1956, her visa was due to expire, and the Home Office had refused to renew it. She had maintained her friendship with Lewis, and it seems that a gentle love was beginning to bloom. She asked him to marry her and extend his citizenship to her and her children. He agreed and on April 23, 1956 they were married in a secret civil ceremony.

The couple did not immediately take up residence together - this happened somewhat gradually as more and more, Joy and her children stayed Lewis and Warren at The Kilns. Lewis' feelings for Joy seem to have taken him over in 1957 when it was discovered that Joy had aggressive bone cancer, and was given only weeks to live. While she lay in the hospital, dying, Lewis persuaded one of his clergymen friends to perform a Christian marriage service for this divorced woman and her legal husband. Joy's cancer unexpectedly went into remission and she was able to return home to The Kilns. Initially confined to a wheelchair, she progressed to crutches and later a cane. In 1958, the couple, by now wildly in love with each other, were finally able to take a honeymoon, in Ireland. Lewis, Joy and her sons, David and Douglas, were given two years of respite from Joy's cancer, but in 1959, the cancer returned. Despite treatments and drugs, her cancer spread and it became apparent that Joy would die. This she wanted to do at home, with her children, Lewis and her brother-in-law Warren near her.

They took a final holiday together in Greece in April 1960. When they returned home, her cancer progressed rapidly. Lewis was at her side constantly and begged her not to leave him. He wrestled with letting her go, wishing to keep her with him even in the face of the horrible pain she suffered. Finally he surrendered to the inevitable and told Joy to leave. She died at the Radcliffe Infirmary on July 13, 1960. By her own request, her body was cremated and a poem by Lewis, Epitaph, was cut into a marble plaque which is near where her ashes were scattered at Oxford Crematorium. Lewis was devastated by grief. While he was able to carry on the duties of life after losing Joy, it's clear that he was a changed man. He poured out his grief on paper, turning his own loss into comfort for thousands. His book, A Grief Observed published first under a pseudonym in 1961, delves deeply into his personal loss, but the profound insight into the nature of grief that Lewis pours out in the volume transcends his own loss and speaks to the heart of any who have lost a spouse or partner. Lewis's relationship with Joy was the subject of the play and movie Shadowlands.

Lewis' tombstone

In June 1961, Lewis was diagnosed as having an enlarged prostate gland. He was initially fitted with a catheter, but this caused his kidneys to become infected, which in turn led to a heart problem which made it impossible to operate on him. In November 1963, he was diagnosed with end stage renal failure. Lewis showed a calm approach to death: "I have done all I wanted to and I'm ready to go," he told his brother. Lewis died at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, November 22, 1963, at The Kilns, one week before his 65th birthday. His death was largely ignored by the media, due to the assassination of John F. Kennedy on the same day. He is buried in the churchyard of Holy Trinity Church, Headington, Oxford, where his funeral took place on Tuesday 26 November 1963. On his tombstone, his brother had engraved the words from King Lear which had been on the calendar on the day their mother had died: Men must endure their going hence. Warren was buried beside his brother in 1973.

Works of fiction

C.S. Lewis's last novel was Till We Have Faces, which some feel was his greatest fictional work but it did not attain popular success.


  • "There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”
  • "If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning."[27]
  • "Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil"[27]
  • "I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else."[27]
  • "There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, 'Thy will be done,' and those to whom God says, 'All right, then, have it your way.'"[27]
  • “Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”



  • The Allegory of Love: A Study in Medieval Tradition (1936)
  • Rehabilitations and other essays (1939) — with two essays not included in Essay Collection (2000)
  • The Personal Heresy: A Controversy (with E. M. W. Tillyard, 1939)
  • The Problem of Pain (1940)
  • A Preface to Paradise Lost (1942)
  • The Abolition of Man (1943)
  • Beyond Personality (1944)
  • Miracles: A Preliminary Study (1947, revised 1960)
  • Arthurian Torso (1948; on Charles Williams's poetry)
  • Mere Christianity (1952; based on radio talks of 1941–1944)
  • English Literature in the Sixteenth Century Excluding Drama (1954)
  • Major British Writers, Vol I (1954), Contribution on Edmund Spenser
  • Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life (1955; autobiography)
  • Reflections on the Psalms (1958)
  • The Four Loves (1960)
  • Studies in Words (1960)
  • An Experiment in Criticism (1961)
  • A Grief Observed (1961; first published under the pseudonym N. W. Clerk)
  • Selections from Layamon's Brut (ed. G L Brook, 1963 Oxford University Press) introduction
  • Prayer: Letters to Malcolm (1964)
  • The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature (1964)
  • Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Literature (1966) — not included in Essay Collection (2000)
  • Spenser's Images of Life (ed. Alastair Fowler, 1967)
  • Letters to an American Lady (1967)
  • Christian Reflections (1967; essays and papers)
  • Selected Literary Essays (1969) — not included in Essay Collection (2000)
  • God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics (1970)
  • Undeceptions (1971)
  • Of Other Worlds (1982; essays) — with one essay not included in Essay Collection
  • Present Concerns (1986; essays)
  • All My Road Before Me: The Diary of C. S. Lewis 1922–27 (1993)
  • Essay Collection: Literature, Philosophy and Short Stories (2000)
  • Essay Collection: Faith, Christianity and the Church (2000)
  • Collected Letters, Vol. I: Family Letters 1905–1931 (2000)
  • Collected Letters, Vol. II: Books, Broadcasts and War 1931–1949 (2004)
  • Collected Letters, Vol. III: Narnia, Cambridge and Joy 1950–1963 (2007)
  • The Business Of Heaven:Daily Readings From C.S.Lewis ed. Walter Hooper, 1984, Harvest Book, Harcourt, Inc.



  • Spirits in Bondage (1919; published under pseudonym Clive Hamilton)
  • Dymer (1926; published under pseudonym Clive Hamilton)
  • Narrative Poems (ed. Walter Hooper, 1969; includes Dymer)
  • The Collected Poems of C. S. Lewis (ed. Walter Hooper, 1994; includes Spirits in Bondage)


  • 1st Hon. Moderates: University College, Oxford
  • 1st Hon. Greats: University College, Oxford
  • 1st Hon. English: University College, Oxford
  • 1921 Chancellors English Essay Prize: Optimism
  • Fellow: Magdalen College, Oxford
  • 1937 Gollancz Memorial Prize for Literature: The Allegory of Love
  • Honorary Doctor of Divinity: University of St. Andrews
  • Fellow: Royal Society of Literature
  • COBE :Declined
  • Honorary Doctor of Letters: Laval University, Quebec
  • Chair of Medieval and Renaissance Literature: Magdalene College, Cambridge
  • Honorary Fellow: Magdalen College, Oxford
  • Fellow: British Academy
  • 1956 Carnegie Medal: The Last Battle
  • Honorary Fellow: University College, Oxford
  • Honorary Doctor of Literature: University of Manchester
  • Honorary Fellow: Magdalene College, Cambridge


  4. Brief video presentation
  5. Lewis, C. S., Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life, London: Harvest Books (1955) ISBN 0-1568-7011-8
  6. The Guardian Unlimited Biographical notes
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 7.8 Lewis, Surprised by Joy op cit.
  8. The Long, Long Trail A World War I website
  9. 9.0 9.1 The Long, Long Trail op cit.
  10. McGrath, Alister. C. S. Lewis: A Life - Eccentric Genius. Reluctant Prophet. Page 68. Print. 2013
  11. Lewis, Warren H., Brothers and Friends: The Diaries of Major Warren Hamilton Lewis London: Harper & Row (ed. Clyde S. Kilbey and Marjorie Lamp Mead, 1982)
  12. Gresham, Douglas, Lenten Lands: My Childhood with Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis London: Collins (1988) ISBN 0-0606-3447-2
  13. Jenkyns, Richard, The Faerie King: The Passion According to C. S. Lewis published in The New Republic (2005)
  14. Manwaring, Randle, John Betjeman - a centenary view reproduced in HighBeam Encyclopedia (2006)
  15. Edwards, Dr. Bruce L., C. S. Lewis: Mere Christian reproduced at Bowling Green State University, Ohio (1998)
  16. 16.0 16.1 Edwards, C. S. Lewis: Mere Christian, op cit.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Lewis, Surprised by Joy, op cit.
  18. Hooper, Walter, in his preface to the 1979 edition of Lewis' God in the Dock, London: HarperCollins (1979) ISBN 0-8028-0868-9
  19. A portrait of C.S. Lewis In Touch Ministries (2006)
  20. Duncan, John Ryan, The Magic Never Ends: The Life & Work of C.S. Lewis, London: Thomas Nelson (2001) ISBN 0-8499-1718-2
  21. Duncan, The Magic Never Ends, op cit.
  22. Duncan, The Magic Never Ends, op cit.
  23. Duncan, The Magic Never Ends, op cit.
  24. quoted in Duncan, The Magic Never Ends, op cit.
  25. quoted in Duncan, The Magic Never Ends, op cit.
  26. Lewis,., Brothers and Friends, op cit.
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 27.3 C. S. Lewis Quotes. BrainyQuote. Retrieved December 10, 2016.

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