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C. S. Lewis

C. S. Lewis C. S. Lewis[1†]

Clive Staples Lewis, commonly known as C. S. Lewis, was a renowned British writer, literary scholar, and Anglican lay theologian[1†][2†]. Born on November 29, 1898, in Belfast, Ireland[1†][2†], he held academic positions in English literature at both Magdalen College, Oxford (1925–1954), and Magdalene College, Cambridge (1954–1963)[1†]. Lewis is best known for his works of fiction, especially The Chronicles of Narnia, The Screwtape Letters, and The Space Trilogy[1†]. His non-fiction Christian apologetics, including Mere Christianity, Miracles, and The Problem of Pain, are also widely recognized[1†].

Early Years and Education

Clive Staples Lewis was born on November 29, 1898, in Belfast, Ireland[3†][2†]. He was the son of A. J. Lewis, a lawyer, and Flora August Hamilton Lewis, a mathematician[3†]. His mother, who had tutored him in French and Latin, died when he was ten years old[3†][4†]. This event greatly impacted his life[3†][4†].

Lewis and his older brother, Warren, developed a love for myths and legends during their childhood[3†][2†]. They even created their own made-up country, Boxen, complete with individual characters and a four-hundred-year history[3†]. Lewis was schooled by private tutors until age nine[3†][1†]. After his mother’s death, his father sent him to England to live and study at Wynyard School in Watford, Hertfordshire[3†][1†].

Lewis’s education continued at several institutions, including Malvern College, a boarding school in England[3†][2†]. He then received private tutoring from W. T. Kirkpatrick, former headmaster of Lurgan College[3†]. Lewis served as a second lieutenant in the English army during World War I, interrupting his career as a scholar that he had begun in 1918 at University College, Oxford[3†]. After being wounded in the war, he returned to Oxford, where he was appointed lecturer at University College in 1924[3†].

In 1925, Lewis was appointed fellow and tutor at Magdalen College, England, where he gave lectures on English literature[3†]. His early life and education laid the foundation for his later works and contributions to literature and Christian apologetics.

Career Development and Achievements

C. S. Lewis was a scholar and professor of English literature with positions at both Magdalen College, Oxford (1925–1954), and Magdalene College, Cambridge (1954–1963)[2†][1†]. He held academic positions in English literature at both institutions[2†][1†]. His career as a scholar was interrupted by his service as a second lieutenant in the English army during World War I[2†]. After being wounded in the war, he returned to Oxford, where he was appointed lecturer at University College in 1924[2†].

Lewis wrote more than 30 books, which have been translated into more than 30 languages and have sold millions of copies[2†][1†][5†]. His works continue to attract thousands of new readers every year[2†][5†]. His most distinguished and popular accomplishments include Mere Christianity, Out of the Silent Planet, The Great Divorce, The Screwtape Letters, and the universally acknowledged classics in The Chronicles of Narnia[2†][5†].

The books that make up The Chronicles of Narnia have sold the most and have been popularized on stage, TV, radio, and cinema[2†][1†]. His philosophical writings are widely cited by Christian scholars from many denominations[2†][1†]. Lewis was a close friend of J. R. R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings[2†][1†]. Both men served on the English faculty at Oxford University and were active in the informal Oxford literary group known as the Inklings[2†][1†].

Lewis’s faith profoundly affected his work, and his wartime radio broadcasts on the subject of Christianity brought him wide acclaim[2†][1†]. In 1956, Lewis married American writer Joy Davidman; she died of cancer four years later at the age of 45[2†][1†]. Lewis died on 22 November 1963 from kidney failure, at age 64[2†][1†].

First Publication of His Main Works

C. S. Lewis was a prolific writer, having written over thirty books[6†]. His works spanned various genres, including fantasy, science fiction, and Christian apologetics[6†][1†][6†]. Here are some of his main works:

Analysis and Evaluation

C. S. Lewis’s work as a writer, literary scholar, and Christian apologist has had a profound impact on both literature and religion[9†]. His writings, which span various genres, including fantasy, science fiction, and Christian apologetics, continue to be widely read and admired[9†].

Lewis’s achievements as a novelist are hard to separate from his role as a Christian apologist and from his impeccable literary scholarship[9†]. Many of Lewis’s readers believe that his greatness lies in the unusually wide scope of his work: He wrote so much so well in so many forms[9†].

His book “The Abolition of Man” is a critical analysis of moral relativism, where Lewis takes issue with textbooks and philosophies that argue for (or imply) that all morals and moral judgments are relative[9†][10†]. He deploys evaluative skills to point out the weaknesses in such arguments and then sets out for his readers the kind of moral future such relativism could lead to[9†][10†].

In his book “An Experiment in Criticism”, Lewis presents a critical approach that has much in common with reader-response[9†][11†]. The book reveals a critical approach that has much in common with reader-response[9†][11†].

Lewis’s criticism, focused primarily on medieval and Renaissance studies, includes “The Allegory of Love”, a classic study of medieval literature and society, while “The Discarded Image” is one of the very best discussions of the contrast between the medieval worldview and the modern mind[9†].

In conclusion, C. S. Lewis’s work has had a significant impact on literature, religion, and philosophy. His writings continue to be widely read and studied, and his influence can be seen in a variety of fields[9†][11†][10†].

Personal Life

C. S. Lewis, also known as Jack to his family and friends[3†], led a life that was as intriguing personally as it was professionally. In 1956, rather late in life, Lewis married Joy Davidman Gresham, the daughter of a New York Jewish couple[3†]. She was a graduate of Hunter College and had previously been married twice[3†]. Their correspondence had blossomed into a deep connection, and their marriage brought Lewis great happiness[3†][4†]. Tragically, Joy died of cancer just four years later, in 1960[3†][1†][3†][4†].

Lewis’s personal life was also marked by his close friendship with J. R. R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings[1†]. Both men served on the English faculty at Oxford University and were active in the informal Oxford literary group known as the Inklings[3†][1†].

Lewis died on 22 November 1963 from kidney failure, at age 64[3†][1†][3†]. In 2013, on the 50th anniversary of his death, Lewis was honoured with a memorial in Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey[3†][1†].

Conclusion and Legacy

C. S. Lewis’s life and work have left an enduring legacy, inspiring and impacting readers around the world[12†]. His ability to seamlessly bridge intellectual inquiry with faith sets him apart as a figure of remarkable influence[12†]. Lewis’s legacy endures, his writing remaining a great gift to both the church and the world[12†][13†]. When President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963, the world reeled in shock and grief. On the same day, another great figure of the twentieth century, C. S. Lewis, peacefully died in his bedroom[12†][13†].

Lewis is more popular today than he was fifty years ago[12†][13†]. The approaching anniversary of his death has prompted fresh attention on Lewis, including a recent conference, the November issue of Christianity Today, and a recent article from the Religious News Service[12†][13†]. Despite the overshadowing of his death by the assassination of President Kennedy, he left behind a legacy that continues to shape literature, theology, and popular culture[12†][14†].

Key Information

References and Citations:

  1. Wikipedia (English) - C. S. Lewis [website] - link
  2. Britannica - C.S. Lewis: Irish-born author and scholar [website] - link
  3. Encyclopedia of World Biography - C. S. Lewis Biography [website] - link
  4. Biography - C.S. Lewis [website] - link
  5. C. S. Lewis - About C.S. Lewis - Official Site [website] - link
  6. C.S. Lewis Institute - Meet C.S. Lewis [website] - link
  7. C.S. Lewis Institute - C.S. Lewis: His Life and Works [website] - link
  8. C. S. Lewis - C. S. Lewis [website] - link
  9. eNotes - C. S. Lewis Analysis [website] - link
  10. Routledge - An Analysis of C.S. Lewis's The Abolition of Man - 1st Edition - Ruth [website] - link
  11. JSTOR - C. S. Lewis [website] - link
  12. Jesus Leadership Training - C.S. Lewis: His Life and Enduring Legacy [website] - link
  13. Christianity.com - The Enduring Legacy of C. S. Lewis [website] - link
  14. History Hit - Beyond Narnia: The Enduring Legacy of C.S. Lewis [website] - link
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