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C.S. Lewis - Research Resources


C.S. Lewis (1898-1963)

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Author and Christian apologist.

Besides teaching generations of undergraduates at Oxford and Cambridge Universities, C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) wrote more than 40 books. Indeed, his published output sometimes appears to be the work of at least three different authors.

One was a serious scholar who, as a young man, won top honors for his study of classics, philosophy, and English. His book The Allegory of Love (1936) remains a landmark in the criticism of medieval and Renaissance literature. This was also the Lewis who, according to academic legend, had read every book published in the English language during the 16th century.

A second C.S. Lewis may have been the greatest 20th-century practitioner of apologetics -- the branch of Christian theology arguing for the soundness of its doctrines against the objections of unbelievers. Lewis had become an atheist in his teens, but underwent a dramatic conversion in 1931, largely under the influence of discussions with a fellow Oxford medievalist named J.R.R. Tolkien. Lewis told the story of his conversion in Surprised by Joy (1955), and delivered numerous lectures, such as the BBC radio addresses gathered in Mere Christianity (1952).

Finally, there was Lewis the author of science fiction and fantasy. Out of the Silent Planet (1938) was the first volume of what became known as the Space trilogy. After publishing The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (1950), Lewis found that it required six more novels to chronicle the land of Narnia -- with literary and theological echoes never quite drowning out his voice as a teller of adventure stories.

This third Lewis also wrote, in a more cynical vein, The Screwtape Letters (1942). The narrator, Screwtape, is a wise old member of the infernal bureaucracy; he offers advice on human psychology to a young demon to help him lure his first victim to eternal damnation. Lewis reveals a dry, donnish wit, enjoyable even to readers who don't share his religious beliefs. As a satirist, the Christian author becomes, almost literally, the devil's advocate.
The 3 Sides of C.S. Lewis, The Chronicle of Higher Education, July 20, 2001


1898 Clive Staples Lewis born in Belfast, Ireland

1908 Lewis's mother dies

1917 Lewis begins studies at University College, Oxford

1925 Awarded a fellowship in English at Oxford's Magdalen College; publication of G.K. Chesterton's The Everlasting Man

1929 Converts to theism and, in 1931, Christianity

1933 The first members of the Inklings meet in Lewis's chambers

1937 J. R. R. Tolkien publishes The Hobbit

1939 Author Charles Williams moves to Oxford, joins the Inklings

1941 Publication of The Screwtape Letters gains Lewis worldwide fame; Dorothy Sayers, Lewis's friend and a 22-year member of his Socratic Club at Oxford, publishes her best-known work, The Man Born to Be King

1948 Lewis loses debate to British philosopher Elizabeth Anscombe

1950-1956 Writes seven volumes of The Chronicles of Narnia

1952 Mere Christianity, a collection of radio broadcasts Lewis delivered during World War II, is published

1954-1955 Publication of Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings

1956 Lewis marries Joy Davidman Gresham in a civil ceremony (a Christian ceremony followed in 1957)

1960 Joy dies; to deal with his emotions, Lewis writes A Grief Observed

1963 Lewis dies at his home, The Kilns.
C.S. Lewis, Christian History, Winter 2000, p. 26


Christian C.S. Lewis ''The atheist scholar who became an Anglican, an apologist, and a ''patron saint'' of Christians everywhere.'' By Ted Olson, in Christian History, Winter 2000
Christian C. S. Lewis Among the Postmodernists ''How to be a perspectivalist without losing your foundations.'' By David C. Downing in Books and Culture, Nov/Dec 1998.
Christian Still Surprised by Lewis ''Why this nonevangelical Oxford don has become our patron saint.''. By J. I. Packer, in Christianity Today, Sep. 7, 1998.


Christian The Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis. Addresses moral relativism.
Christian The Complete Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
Christian The C.S. Lewis Readers' Encyclopedia by Jeffrey D. Schultz. "The most comprehensive treatment of C. S. Lewis's work ever published, embracing virtually all of his writings and exploring the many, varied topics he dealt with."
Christian Mere Christianity : Comprising the Case for Christianity, Christian Behaviour, and Beyond Personality by C.S. Lewis.

» What's Really In That Wardrobe? To mark the 100th anniversary of C.S. Lewis's birth, Michael Joseph Gross rounds up the best books by and about the century's most prominent "apostle to the skeptics."
» Additional books by and about C.S. Lewis

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Secular Mere Lewis Focuses on Lewis' writings, "and generally avoids discussion of larger theological or denominational issues apart from Lewis...."

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Christian The Bible and C.S. Lewis Includes a FAQ section, and an outline to "The Bible and C.S. Lewis Study Guide,"
Christian C.S. Lewis and the Inklings Dr. Bruce L. Edwards' extensive site.
Christian C.S. Lewis Foundation ''The mission of the C.S. Lewis Foundation is to celebrate the life and legacy of C.S. Lewis and to encourage a renaissance of Christian scholarly and artistic expression within the mainstream of the contemporary university.''
Christian C.S. Lewis Mega-Links Page If you can't find it here, it probably doesn't exist... Includes links to sites about friends of Lewis (J.R.R. Tolkien, George MacDonald, Dorothy Sayer, et.al.)
Christian Into The Wardrobe Extensive site with some interesting articles.
Christian The "Mere Christianity" Study Guide A study guide to C.S. Lewis' classis "Mere Christianity," which provides readers with a basic understanding of what Christians believe.

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C.S. Lewis - Research Resources
First posted: Jan 18, 1999
Last Updated: May 11 2004
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