Clive Staples Lewis, who is more commonly known as C.S Lewis was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland on 29 November 1898 and died in Oxford England on 22 November 1963 at the age of 65. He was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably one of the most influential writers of his day. He was a Fellow and Tutor in English Literature at Oxford University and then in 1954 moved to Cambridge University where he became the Chair of Medieval and Renaissance Literature.
Despite being such a renowned author the death of C.S Lewis was not a much-publicised event because the day he died was also the day that President Kennedy was assassinated and all the news coverage was on him.
C.S Lewis is most famous for his Children’s books “The Chronicles of Narnia” a series of seven novels set in the fictional realm of Narnia which is a fantasy world of magic, mythical beasts, and talking animals. The series tells the stories of various children, from the real world who are magically transported to Narnia in various ways and play central roles in the unfolding of history from Narnia. The children are called upon by Aslan, the Lion to protect Narnia from evil and restore the throne to its rightful line. The books span the entire history of Narnia from its creation in the Magicians Nephew to the eventual destruction in the Last Battle. The series of books has a largely Christian theme and have influenced children and adults today as well as influencing the writing of many other authors including that of J.K Rowling, (Harry Potter), Daniel Handler, (A Series of Unfortunate Events) and Eoin Colfer (Artemis Fowl).
The Chronicles of Narnia are so popular they have been translated into more than 30 languages and have sold millions of copies. The series has also been adapted for the stage, TV, radio and films.
However, there is more to C.S Lewis than the Narnia series as he wrote 74 books including several essays collections published after his death. His first published work was in 1919 and was a collection of poetry entitled “Spirits in Bondage” and continued to publish poetry throughout the 1920s but used the pseudonym Clive Hamilton for these works.
Lewis made his debut as a novelist in 1933 with “The Pilgrim’s Regress” which was written just after he became a Christian and was written in the style of John Bunyan’s “The Pilgrim’s Progress”
In the 1940’s Lewis wrote mostly non-fiction work which centered on religion and the most notable of these books are “The Case of Christianity”, “Mere Christianity” (which was voted best book of the twentieth century by Christianity Today in 2000), and “The Screwtape Letters”. He is regarded by many as one of the most influential Christian apologists of his time.
In the 1950’s Lewis returned to writing fiction which is when the “Chronicles of Narnia” series was written.
The books of C.S Lewis still continues to attract a wide readership and in 2008 he was ranked eleventh on their list of “the 50 greatest British writers since 1945”
In 2013, on the 50th anniversary of his death, Lewis joined some of the greatest British writers recognised at Poet’s Corner in Westminster Abbey. There was a dedication service 22 November 2013 which included a reading from The Last Battle by his younger stepson Douglas Gresham and an address was delivered by former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams. The inscription on the floor stone is a quotation from an address by Lewis, “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”
There are several C.S Lewis societies’ exist around the world where they meet, discuss and appreciate all things inspired and created by the author.
Lewis has also been written as characters into two books, “The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Georaphica” series by James A Owen and “Freud’s Last Session” by Mark St Germain.
- The Pilgrim’s Regress
- The Space Trilogy
- Out of the Silent Planet
- Perelandra (also known as Voyage to Venus)
- That Hideous Strength
- The Screwtape Letters
- The Great Divorce
- The Chronicles of Narnia
- The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
- Prince Caspian
- The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
- The Silver Chair
- The Horse and His Boy
- The Magician’s Nephew
- The Last Battle
- Till We Have Faces
- Ministering Angels
- Screwtape Proposes a Toast
- Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer
- The Dark Tower
- The Allegory of Love: A Study in Medieval Tradition
- Rehabilitations and Other Essays
- The Personal Heresy: A Controversy (with E. M. W. Tillyard)
- The Problem of Pain
- A Preface to Paradise Lost
- The Abolition of Man
- Arthurian Torso
- Mere Christianity
- Major British Writers, Volume I
- English Literature in the Sixteenth Century Excluding Drama
- Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life
- Reflections on the Psalms
- The Four Loves
- Studies in Words
- The World’s Last Night and Other Essays
- An Experiment in Criticism
- A Grief Observed
- They Asked for a Paper: Papers and Addresses
- The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature
- Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Literature
- Spenser’s Images of Life
- Letters to an American Lady
- Christian Reflections
- Selected Literary Essays
- God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics
- Of Other Worlds
- The Business Of Heaven: Daily Readings From the Writings of C. S. Lewis
- Present Concerns
- All My Road Before Me: The Diary of C. S. Lewis 1922 – 27
- Compelling Reason: Essays on Ethics and Theology
- Essay Collection: Literature, Philosophy and Short Stories
- Essay Collection: Faith, Christianity and the Church
- Collected Letters, Vol. I: Family Letters 1905 – 1931
- Collected Letters, Vol. II: Books, Broadcasts and War 1931 – 1949
- Collected Letters, Vol. III: Narnia, Cambridge and Joy 1950 – 1963