A Brief Guide to C. S. Lewis: From Mere Christianity to Narnia
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November 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Clive Staples ‘Jack’ Lewis, when a memorial to him will be placed in Poet’s Corner in Westminster Abbey. Although perhaps best known as the author of the seven Chronicles of Narnia, published between 1949 and 1954, Lewis also wrote The Pilgrim’s Regress, a trilogy of science-fiction novels incorporating Christian themes, and a large number of non-fiction books about his faith, accessible to Christians and non-believers alike. In a survey of the greatest British writers since 1945, the Times newspaper ranked Lewis eleventh, ahead of Salman Rushdie, Anthony Burgess and Ian Fleming.
A Brief Guide to C. S. Lewis explores Lewis’s life, from his reconversion to Christianity under the influence of his friend J. R. R. Tolkien, which had such a profound influence on his writing–both fiction and non-fiction–to his marriage to American writer Joy Davidman Gresham and his battle with cancer. He died on 22 November 1963, a day before the first-ever episode of Dr. Who, a TV series with many links to his Narnia stories was shown.
Although this Brief Guide ranges well beyond the world of Narnia to explore other aspects of Lewis’s life and his other writings, it does not do so–unusually among books on Lewis–from the point of view of Christian scholarship, thereby assuming much knowledge of theology on the part of readers. That Lewis wrote about the problems of praying is significant; the specific texts he discusses and dissects are likely to be of less significance to most readers.
The guide provides synopses of Lewis’s fiction, an overview of his other writings, a biography and a look at all the many different versions of his stories that have appeared. In doing so it draws on recent interviews by the author with some of the many talented people who have worked on these adaptations.