Clive Staples Lewis mostly known as C. S. Lewis was born on the 29th of November in 1898, in Belfast, Ireland. His father, Albert James Lewis was a solicitor, and his mother, Florence Augusta Lewis, was a housewife and deeply religious. Lewis spent his early years in Belfast with his loving family, where he nurtured his passions and talents for reading and writing in the supervision of his brother. Together, the brothers would create a fictional world of their own, featuring anthropomorphic animals in a medieval setting. Their imaginative world, coupled with intricate history, aided their writing pursuits for years to come.
Clive first attended private tuitions until his mother’s death in 1908. The loss was unfortunate and tragic. Following this, his father sent him to Waterford, where he attended Wynyard School and then Campbell College in Belfast. After spending months at college, his health started deteriorating. It, then, affected his performance. Keeping his health issues in view, he soon found himself transferred to the health-resort town of Malvern, where he was admitted to the preparatory school, Cherbourg House. During that time, his religious beliefs witnessed a seachange. He abandoned Christianity and became an atheist. Later, he attended private classes with William T. Kirkpatrick, former headmaster of Lurgan College. His union with Kirkpatrick proved a turning point in his life. Not only it sharpened his reasoning skills but also instilled in him a love for Greek mythology and literature.
Clive seriously ill in 1961 when he was diagnosed with nephritis with resultant blood poisoning. After fighting for two years with this deadly disease, he was fully recovered by 1963. Unfortunately, the same year, he suffered a severe heart attack and was also diagnosed with end-stage kidney failure, which became the reason for his death. He died on the 22nd of November, 1963.
Some Important Facts about Him
- He won the Hawthornden Prize for his work, The Allegory of Love, in 1963.
- During World War II, he took part in popular radio shows in which he delivered motivational speeches about Christianity.
- Some of his popular Christian writings include The Screwtape Letters and Mere Christianity.
- His fictional and nonfictional works have been translated into more than 30 languages.
- He married Joy Gresham, an American English teacher, in 1956, but the lady died of cancer in 1060.
Lewis became a published writer in 1926 when his first poem, “Dymer” was published followed by another acclaimed work, The Pilgrim’s Regress: An Allegorical Apology for Christianity, Reason, and Romanticism. Since he rejected his Christian beliefs in his teens and became an atheist, with the help of his friend, Roman Catholic J.R.R. Tolkien, he returned to the Christian faith and illuminated the world with his strong religious beliefs. He documented his spiritual and intellectual thoughts in his works, Surprised by Joy and Out of the Silent Planet. These publications were followed by two other successful novels, Perelandra and That Hideous Strength. His other notable works include The Abolition of Man, The Allegory of Love: A Study in Medieval Tradition and English Literature in the Sixteenth Century, and Excluding Drama.
C. S. Lewis used an identifiable style in almost all of his works. This distinct writing approach is derived from his personal experiences and ideas about life, religion, and society in general. He demonstrated his ideas in his works using a conversational approach, which enabled him to listen and talk to others. For instance, in Mere Christianity, he presents Christianity as an absolute religion that provides insight to all people. Similarly, The ScrewtapeLetters used a sarcastic and epistolary style which introduced him as a man familiar with letter writing. Later, however, he developed, logical, considerate, and gentle narrative in his work, The Problem of Pain, to demonstrate the pain that a problem can cause. Almost all of his works represent the clarity of thoughts and logical reasoning. Regarding literary devices, he often turns toward imagery, paradox, symbolism, logos, ethos, and pathos.
Some Important Works
- Best Works: Some of her incredible writings include Mere Christianity, The Great Divorce, The Screw Tape Letters, A Grief Observed, The Chronicles of Narnia fantasy series, The Problem of Pain, The Four Loves, and Surprised by Joy.
Clive Staples Lewis’s Impact on Future Literature
Despite the refusal of some writers and critics to recognize his greatness, C. S. Lewis is categorized as a prolific Christian lay apologist, a fantasist, an adept novelist, and an outstanding logician and literary scholar. He has won a place among the influential Christian writers whose ideas and philosophies do not seem to see a decline during any time. His religious beliefs, faith, and persuasive style of writing attract various authors and critics across the globe, the reason that various people have written about him, on him, and his works. Many great writers such as J. K. Rowling and Philip Pullman consider him a great master in writing for children.
- “A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.” (The Problem of Pain)
- “I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. (Mere Christianity)
- “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. (The Four Loves)