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C.S. Lewis

C. S. Lewis was friends with J. R. R. Tolkien; and like Tolkien, at least part of his claim to fame has to do with his mythopoetic talent. He created the entire world of Narnia across a series of seven children's books. Beyond this, though, Lewis is also known for the skill he displayed as an apologist for Christianity after converting to the faith. He was also a reputed scholar of medieval times and the culture that prevailed in that era.  

Introduction and Background

Clive Staples Lewis was a Christian writer of novels, poems, and essays. He was born in Belfast, Ireland and held academic position at two incredibly prestigious schools: Oxford University between 1925 and 1954; and Cambridge University from 1954 to 1963. C.S. Lewis is best known for his fiction work, which includes The Chronicles of Narnia. His work has been translated into more than thirty different languages and has sold millions of copies world-wide. The Chronicles of Narnia have been converted to the stage, television productions, radio shows, and films. 

Works

After converting to Christianity, the first novel written by C.S. Lewis was called The Pilgrim’s Regress and was published in 1933. Modeled after The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan, Lewis used the books to depict his experiences with Christianity. His net set of novels, Space Trilogy, were written by Lewis as a means of expressing his contempt with what he believed were dehumanizing trends prevalent in contemporary science fiction. His most popular work, The Chronicles of Narnia, contains seven books and was written between 1949 and 1954. These stories have sold over one hundred million copies. Other works of Lewis’s include various novels and several nonfiction Christian apologetic works. 

Writing Style

A common theme present in almost all of C.S. Lewis’s work is the idea of universal morality. He describes universal morality as behavior that we all expect each other to adhere to. This Natural Law, as he called it, is known by citizens across the world. Sort of like a conscious, Lewis believed that people know when they are doing something that breaks that Natural Law. He states that even though we all understand this unspoken code of right and wrong, we still knowingly break these rules. He focuses on this idea of universal morality in his novels, his essays, and his non-fictions publications.

Additional Information

C.S. Lewis’s work centers a lot around Christianity. He was raised in a very religious home and his family attended the Church of Ireland. When he turned fifteen, he began to view religion as more of a chore than anything else. The occult and other such topics peaked his interest as he believed that God could not have created the world in its state of frailty and fault. 

He began to return to Christianity when he became immersed in the works of George MacDonald. MacDonald’s work, Lewis felt, gave Christianity more reason and sense. Debates at Oxford with his good friend J.R.R. Tolkein. Though he actively resisted conversion at first, and in fact described his journey as being brought to Christianity, ‘kicking, struggling, resentful’, he did return to Christianity in 1931. Despite the wishes of Tolkein, who had hoped that Lewis would join Catholicism, C.S. Lewis joined the Church of England.

This was the gateway to his Christian apologetic writings. His theology was largely orthodox Anglican, but in his writing, he purposely avoided endorsing any specific denomination. In his later work, he even proposed the purification of venial sins and mortal sin. This was interesting because these ideas are typically considered to be Catholic ideologies.

At the end of his life, C.S. Lewis considered himself to be an orthodox Anglican for the rest of his life. He noted that while his original intention of attending church was only to receive communion and be forgiven of his sins and that he was repelled by the hymns and sermons, the end of his life saw him humbled and honored to worship with poor men who took great joy in God.

Conclusion

C.S. Lewis’s work is honored and exalted in countries across the world. His work was influenced by his other great passion- Christianity. Lewis’s books continue to be read in schools and libraries in many different languages, even more than fifty years after his death. Their uplifting messages and lessons in morality continue to keep these stories popular favorites for children all over the world.

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