Login/Sign up

World Association of International Studies

Post C. S. Lewis
Created by John Eipper on 01/24/14 4:36 AM

Previous posts in this discussion:


C. S. Lewis (David Gress, Denmark, 01/24/14 4:36 am)

Some people say that C. S. Lewis's memoir Surprised by Joy should in fact have been entitled Suppressed by Jack, which is a triple joke, because C. S. Lewis was called Jack by his friends, because he, being a literary man, was notoriously inaccurate about dates and stories, and because unknownst to him when he wrote it, his later wife was named Joy, and she did surprise him. That last fact is a tremendous irony.

That book played no small part in leading me to Christianity in my early adulthood, and I have not read it since, which is now well over 40 years ago.

His story of the motorcycle ride with his brother may or may not be pertinent to his conversion, but as his biographer Alister McGrath, a Protestant like Lewis and professor at Oxford, makes clear, the breakthrough for Lewis came in the spring of 1931 during and after a night-time conversation which took place on Addison's Walk in the grounds of Magdalen College, Oxford, with J.R.R. Tolkien and a mutual friend, Hugo Dyson. The motorcycle ride took place, most likely, a year or so later.

David Duggan (23 January) is right that the TV play with Joss Ackland is superior to the romanticized film with Hopkins and Winger. The whole story is much more complicated and interesting, and can be followed in McGrath's biography, published last year (2013).

To my young mind 40-odd years ago, Lewis's apologetic writings, including Surprised by Joy, were tremendously impressive, because I had never encountered anything like them before, and in particular, as David Duggan suggests, his vivid account of the paradox of Christianity.

Now, in later life, I find Lewis's fiction much more satisfying. Not so much the Narnia stories as his Ransom trilogy, Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength, all of which I re-read regularly, especially the first two. As a writer, he is not really a match for Tolkien, but he had another agenda, and had a very different mind, good friends though the two were for many years. Lewis thought as a medieval person; his imagination was full of the cosmos of the medieval romances, whereas Tolkien was much more authentically Northern and above all a philologist, whereas Lewis was a literary person. Lewis thought in styles and conceits, Tolkien in principles and cosmologies. Lewis could have a faun walking through a wintry wood with gift parcels; Tolkien would never commit the inconsistency of putting a faun, a creature out of Greek legend, into a heroic story derived from a Norse-inspired mythology of his own invention. What arguments those two must have had!

JE comments:  Lewis's wife Joy Davidman, an American 17 years his junior, died of bone cancer just four years into their marriage.  Lewis himself died on 22 November 1963, the day of the Kennedy assassination.  (Aldous Huxley also passed away that same day--uncanny.)

Rate this post
Informational value 
Reader Ratings (0)
Informational value0%

Visits: 25


Please login/register to reply or comment: Login/Sign up

Trending Now

All Forums with Published Content (44621 posts)

- Unassigned

Culture & Language

American Indians Art Awards Bestiary of Insults Books Conspiracy Theories Culture Ethics Film Food Futurology Gender Issues Humor Intellectuals Jews Language Literature Media Coverage Movies Music Newspapers Numismatics Philosophy Plagiarism Prisons Racial Issues Sports Tattoos Western Civilization World Communications


Capitalism Economics International Finance World Bank World Economy


Education Hoover Institution Journal Publications Libraries Universities World Bibliography Series


Biographies Conspiracies Crime Decline of West German Holocaust Historical Figures History Holocausts Individuals Japanese Holocaust Leaders Learning Biographies Learning History Russian Holocaust Turkish Holocaust


Afghanistan Africa Albania Algeria Argentina Asia Australia Austria Bangladesh Belgium Belize Bolivia Brazil Canada Central America Chechnya Chile China Colombia Costa Rica Croatia Cuba Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark East Europe East Timor Ecuador Egypt El Salvador England Estonia Ethiopia Europe European Union Finland France French Guiana Germany Greece Guatemala Haiti Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran (Persia) Iraq Ireland Israel/Palestine Italy Japan Jordan Kenya Korea Kosovo Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Latin America Liberia Libya Mali Mexico Middle East Mongolia Morocco Namibia Nations Compared Netherlands New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria North America Norway Pacific Islands Pakistan Palestine Paraguay Peru Philippines Poland Polombia Portugal Romania Saudi Arabia Scandinavia Scotland Serbia Singapore Slovakia South Africa South America Southeast Asia Spain Sudan Sweden Switzerland Syria Thailand The Pacific Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan UK (United Kingdom) Ukraine USA (America) USSR/Russia Uzbekistan Venezuela Vietnam West Europe Yemen Yugoslavia Zaire


Balkanization Communism Constitutions Democracy Dictators Diplomacy Floism Global Issues Hegemony Homeland Security Human Rights Immigration International Events Law Nationalism NATO Organizations Peace Politics Terrorism United Nations US Elections 2008 US Elections 2012 US Elections 2016 US Elections 2020 Violence War War Crimes Within the US


Christianity Hinduism Islam Judaism Liberation Theology Religion

Science & Technology

Alcohol Anthropology Automotives Biological Weapons Design and Architecture Drugs Energy Environment Internet Landmines Mathematics Medicine Natural Disasters Psychology Recycling Research Science and Humanities Sexuality Space Technology World Wide Web (Internet)


Geography Maps Tourism Transportation


1-TRIBUTES TO PROFESSOR HILTON 2001 Conference on Globalizations Academic WAR Forums Ask WAIS Experts Benefactors Chairman General News Member Information Member Nomination PAIS Research News Ronald Hilton Quotes Seasonal Messages Tributes to Prof. Hilton Varia Various Topics WAIS WAIS 2006 Conference WAIS Board Members WAIS History WAIS Interviews WAIS NEWS waisworld.org launch WAR Forums on Media & Research Who's Who