C.S. Lewis

From Tolkien Gateway
C.S. Lewis
Biographical Information
Born29 November, 1898
Died22 November, 1963
EducationUniversity of Oxford
WebsiteC.S. Lewis Foundation

Friendship with the latter marked the breakdown of two old prejudices. At my first coming into the world I had been (implicitly) warned never to trust a Papist, and at my first coming into the English Faculty (explicitly) never to trust a philologist. Tolkien was both.

Clive Staples "Jack" Lewis (29 November, 189822 November, 1963), commonly referred to as C.S. Lewis, was an Irish-born English writer and scholar. Lewis is known for his work on medieval literature, Christian apologetics, literary criticism, and fiction. He is best known today for his bestselling series The Chronicles of Narnia.


"The wise will stay here and hope to rebuild our town..." — Master of Lake-town
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Lewis was a close friend of J.R.R. Tolkien. Both authors were leading figures in the English faculty at Oxford University and in the informal Oxford literary group known as the Inklings, where he was a leading figure. According to his memoir Surprised by Joy, Lewis had been baptised in the Church of Ireland at birth, but fell away from his faith during his adolescence. Owing to the influence of Tolkien and other friends, at about the age of 30, Lewis re-converted to Christianity, becoming "a very ordinary layman of the Church of England". His conversion had a profound effect on his work, and his wartime radio broadcasts on the subject of Christianity brought him wide acclaim.

In the 1930s Tolkien and Lewis discussed about science fiction and decided to make an amateurish attempt simultaneously, on time-travel and space-travel. Tolkien's attempt at time-travel fiction was the unfinished The Lost Road, but Lewis's attempt at space-travel fiction evolved to his famous Space Trilogy.[1]

Throughout the writing of The Lord of the Rings Lewis kept encouraging Tolkien and supported him with positive reviews, and enthusiastic blurbs before publication. At some point Tolkien recognised that without Lewis he would have never finished the book.[2]

His brother was Inkling Warren Lewis, who after his retirement acted as C.S. Lewis's secretary.

In later years, around 1940, Tolkien and Lewis distanced from each other; Tolkien credited the influence of Charles Williams (whom Tolkien did not appreciate much[3]) on Lewis. They distanced further after his "very strange" marriage to Joy Gresham (1956[4]). Lewis remained dear to Tolkien, and Tolkien was struck by his death[5] which coincided with the murder of J.F. Kennedy. As Tolkien said "The loss reached for me its climax on Nov. 22nd, not for me the day Kennedy was murdered, but the day C.S. Lewis died".[6] Tolkien also said that while he was already feeling like an old tree losing its leaves, Lewis's death was "an axe-blow near the roots". His funeral service was attended by Tolkien himself, Christopher Tolkien, James Dundas-Grant, Robert Havard, Owen Barfield and several others.[7]

Bibliography, selected



External links


The Inklings
J.R.R. Tolkien · Owen Barfield · J.A.W. Bennett · Lord David Cecil · Nevill Coghill · James Dundas-Grant · Hugo Dyson · Adam Fox · Colin Hardie · Robert Havard · C.S. Lewis · Warren Lewis · Gervase Mathew · R.B. McCallum · C.E. Stevens · Christopher Tolkien · John Wain · Charles Williams · Charles Leslie Wrenn