C. S. Lewis and His Circle: Essays and Memoirs from the Oxford C.S. Lewis Society  -     By: Roger White
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C. S. Lewis and His Circle: Essays and Memoirs from the Oxford C.S. Lewis Society

Oxford University Press / 2015 / Hardcover

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Black Friday Again

Product Description

A collection of the best unpublished talks of the Oxford C.S. Lewis Society over 30 years: Rowan Williams's re-imagining of Lewis's cosmic trilogy; Elizabeth Anscombe's final word on Lewis's arguments for Christianity; Rev. Peter Bide's memories of marrying Lewis and Davidman at a hospital; Walter Hooper's notes on the origins of Narnia; and more. 288 pages, hardcover. Oxford University.

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 288
Vendor: Oxford University Press
Publication Date: 2015
ISBN: 0190214341
ISBN-13: 9780190214340

Publisher's Description

For over thirty years, the Oxford C. S. Lewis Society has met weekly in the medieval colleges of the University of Oxford. During that time, it has hosted as speakers nearly all those still living who were associated with the Inklings-the Oxford literary circle led by C. S. Lewis--as well as authors and thinkers of a prominence that nears Lewis's own.

C. S. Lewis and His Circle offers the reader a chance to join this unique group. Roger White has worked with Society past presidents Brendan and Judith Wolfe to select the most important talks, which are here made available to the wider public for the first time. They exemplify the best of traditional academic essays, thoughtful memoirs, and informal reminiscences about C. S. Lewis and his circle. The reader will reimagine Lewis's Cosmic Trilogy with former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, read philosopher Elizabeth Anscombe's final word on Lewis's arguments for Christianity, hear the Reverend Peter Bide's memories of marrying Lewis and Joy Davidman in an Oxford hospital, and learn about Lewis's Narnia Chronicles from his former secretary.

Representing the finest of both personal and scholarly engagement with C. S. Lewis and the Inklings, the talks collected here set a new tone for engagement with this iconic Oxford literary circle--a tone close to Lewis's own Oxford--bred sharpness and wryness, seasoned with good humor and genuine affection for C. S. Lewis and his circle.

Author Bio


Roger White is curator of the Inklings Special Collection for the University Libraries as well as Professor of Ministry for the Seminary at Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, California.

Judith Wolfe is Lecturer (Associate Professor) in Theology and the Arts at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland. She has published widely on C. S. Lewis and is the founding general editor of the Journal of Inklings Studies.

Brendan N. Wolfe is a Germanic philologist at Oxford, editor of the Journal of Inklings Studies, and past president and secretary of the C. S. Lewis Society of Oxford University.

Editorial Reviews


"This book is a treat. Just when you might have thought there wasn't much more to say about Lewis, Tolkien, and their friends, we have a rich and diverse collection of reflections, reminiscences, expositions, and engagements from angles both expected and unexpected. By retaining the spoken style of the original contributions to the Oxford C. S. Lewis Society (not quite a new Inklings, not quite a new Socratic Club, but sharing the heritage of both), the editors give us the sense that we are there in Oxford, thinking through issues old and new, always being challenged to fresh visions of literature, faith, and a hundred other topics. There is here much to ponder, much to praise." --Rt. Revd. Prof. N. T. Wright, St. Mary's College, St. Andrews


"Among the many worthwhile studies of C. S. Lewis which have been published in recent years, this will prove to be among the most important. It gives us authentic and candid insights into his personal as well as his literary and scholastic life, adds significantly to our understanding of why his reputation continues to expand worldwide, and deepens his influence." --Aidan Mackey, Senior Fellow, G. K. Chesterton Institute


"The Oxford C. S. Lewis Society has always been a beacon for students of C. S. Lewis, his friends, and their shared vision. In this splendid collection, the editors share with us the choicest fruits of thirty years of scholarship and conversation. The result is an illuminating tribute to Lewis and an intellectual feast worthy of the liveliest of Inklings gatherings." --Carol Zaleski, co-author (with Philip Zaleski) of The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings: J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams


"The book is a treasure for Lewis fans. Highly recommended."--J. R. Griffin, Colorado State University, CHOICE


"The satisfactions of this volume are legion- far too numerous to be contained in this brief review. It is far better to find the book itself, along with a comfortable chair."--Sehnsucht: The C. S. Lewis Journal


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  1. 3 Stars Out Of 5
    A mix of the interesting and the tedious
    July 8, 2015
    RuthSophia
    Quality: 3
    Value: 3
    Meets Expectations: 2
    With a title like C.S. Lewis & His Circle, I expected the essays to cover Lewis & close friends about equitably (with Lewis being an obvious name draw) OR for the essays to focus primarily on Lewis and his relationship with various friends. The work is neither.

    This volume appears, quite honestly, confused. C.S. Lewis & His Circle naturally focuses much (indeed almost exclusively) on Lewis, but there is a random essay or two about someone who is a friend of Lewis (yet Lewis is not mentioned at all in the essay, save a possible passing reference). Those random essays are quite perplexing, though not necessarily unenjoyable.

    That cannot be said for all of the essays. The book is unevenly divided in two sections (Section 1 occupying about 2/3 of the work).

    The first is comprised of lectures about the works of Lewis (with a random one on Williams). While some are quite interesting, others are seriously boring. - to the point that I really, really wanted to put the book down and leave an review about how tediously academic is was. I enjoy a good academic work - which this collection did contain some of - but others in this collections are to be dreaded. Some, while not necessarily boring or tedious made claims about Lewis & his writings that I disagreed strongly with. I readily admit that I am no professional expert in Lewis. I have, however, read a great deal of his writings and have some ideas of my own. It pained me to see some "academic" essays making claims I disagreed with, but that will always happen I suppose.

    I must say this first section made me wonder about the claim that the work contained the "best unpublished" lectures the C.S. Lewis Society has hosted. The very hit-and-miss nature of the essays made me seriously wonder if maybe there was a reason these essays had been hitherto unpublished. Perhaps the true "best" essays had already been published.

    I did not have those thoughts about the second part of the collection.

    Mercifully, the second part of the book is far superior, containing nothing dull or boring. This section of the book is about the man Lewis (with one delightful essay about his brother), containing recollections from those who knew him in various capacities. It's a pity what while this section is only one essay shorter than the first part of the book, the essays are generally shorter in length. As this is the part of the book that shines, it is a shame that it is only a third of the whole.

    Because of the widely disparate quality of the essays of the first part (which numerous times made me want to walk away from the work altogether) I cannot give this book a hearty recommendation. That I reserve for the second part of the work, which pulls the book up from the two stars it would otherwise have received (and which the first section deserves). As is, the work hovers between 3 stars and 3.5 stars.

    This is certainly not a work I recommend purchasing without first checking out of the library to see if it is of real value to you as an individual or researcher.

    I received a complimentary ecopy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
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