A welcome addition to my shelf of books about C. S. Lewis, just below my shelf of books by C. S. Lewis. While perhaps not a definitive biography, A Life gives the reader insights to how and how badly Lewis was injured during World War One and the enigmatic Mrs. Moore. McGrath also proposes a new chronology of Lewis’ famous conversion to Christianity. Lots of good insights. Did you know Lewis nominated J. R. R.Tolkien for the Nobel Prize in Literature?
McGrath’s thesis is that it is hard for us to know this Oxford don and Cambridge professor who died just over fifty years ago because it was hard for Lewis to know—or come to grips with—who he was himself. To know himself as he really was. This 400 page tome helps.
Lewis continues to influence readers long after many of his more famous contemporaries have faded. I only discovered Lewis in the mid-1980s. I happened upon a copy of Mere Christianity on a book shelf in Saudi Arabia (of all places). I didn’t read the Narnia books until I was close to fifty years old. Since then I have read most of his major works, and found him to be entertaining, thought-provoking and inspiring.
Lewis is clearly out of step with this world—he was a devout Christian, he believed education was to build character more than to fill heads with facts, and he found the world to be full of wonders and adventure.
I’m with him.