C S Lewis was an academic who held positions both in Oxford and in Cambridge Universities. He is best known for his works of fiction The Chronicles of Narnia and The Space Trilogy, but he also is very well known for his Christian literature including The Screwtape Letters, Mere Christianity and Surprised By Joy.
He was born in Belfast in Ireland in 1898. During childhood, he was schooled by tutors until aged 9 when his mother died. His father then sent him to various different schools to live and study. He enrolled at Oxford in 1917, but soon found himself joining the Army. In 1917, on his nineteenth birthday, he was posted to the Somme as part of the British Army in World War I. He survived that battle but was injured on 15th April 1918 by a British stray shell which killed two of his colleagues. During recovery from this he suffered from depression and homesickness.
Lewis was good friends with fellow novelist JRR Tolkein and they were part of the same circle of friends and literary group. Lewis fell away from faith in adolescence but returned to Christianity at the age of 32 partly as a result of these debates with Tolkein and others. He called himself the ‘most dejected and reluctant convert in all England’, but his acceptance of faith profoundly affected his work and he became one of the most outspoken proponents of Christianity.
Lewis died on November 22nd 1963 – the day (and even hour) that JFK was assassinated, and as a result, his death was almost completely overshadowed at the time.
C S Lewis is one of the most popular and widely read authors of the last hundred years. He is the epitome of scholarship, with numerous degrees and qualifications. He was a thinker and philosopher, and we learn from Lewis the value of debate and learning in order to understand the views of others. Lewis became convinced of the truth of Christianity through his friendships and through discussion, and was willing to listen and change his mind. Lewis’ Christian faith was evident in all of his work from then, and we can learn from Lewis the importance of allowing faith to affect all parts of our lives and work. Lewis demonstrated a creative way of communicating the gospel, of storytelling and communicating with others in a way which resonates to each person.
What Values does Lewis encompass?
Hard Work; Integrity; Academic Success; Debate; Listening; Faith; Creativity; Building Bridges through literature and the Arts.