2013 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the passing of C.S. Lewis, and although his writings remain as influential as ever--Lewis himself remains--for many of his biggest fans-- somewhat of an enigma.
Lewis' legacy is as vast as it is varied. He was a towering intellectual figure with impeccable academic credentials and yet a popular novelist for both children and adults publishing both The Chronicles of Narnia and his Space Trilogy. Lewis was also an accomplished apologist and advocate of the Christian faith and completed numerous timeless classics such as Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, The Great Divorce, and The Four Loves along with a host of other books, stories, and insightful essays.
In C.S. Lewis: A Life, renowned historian and former Oxford professor Alister McGrath paints a definitive and comprehensive portrait of the life of C. S. Lewis. McGrath combines crisp prose with a highly informative but accessible narrative that highlights every corner of Lewis' often obscure world from his days as an introverted child spending endless hours reading and imagining to his ascension to fame as a British novelist. Lewis' complex relationships with his brother, father, Joy Davidman, J.R.R. Tolkien and the Inklings are all examined in detail as is recently discovered personal correspondence. But McGrath also delves into Lewis' psyche and his faith, reexamines his conversion in light of new evidence, and brings the entire story together in a biography that N.T. Wright has called "A penetrating and illuminating study".
C.S. Lewis has, perhaps, influenced more Christians than any other modern writer. But there is so much more to the man than his writings. There is a remarkable story within the storyteller. Alister McGrath tells that story with precision, honesty, and humor.
ECPA 2014 Christian Book Award Winner (Non-Fiction)!
Fifty years after his death, C. S. Lewis continues to inspire and fascinate millions. His legacy remains varied and vast. He was a towering intellectual figure, a popular fiction author who inspired a global movie franchise around the world of Narnia, and an atheist-turned-Christian thinker.
In C.S. LewisA Life, Alister McGrath, prolific author and respected professor at Kings College of London, paints a definitive portrait of the life of C. S. Lewis. After thoroughly examining recently published Lewis correspondence, Alister challenges some of the previously held beliefs about the exact timing of Lewiss shift from atheism to theism and then to Christianity. He paints a portrait of an eccentric thinker who became an inspiring, though reluctant, prophet for our times.
You wont want to miss this fascinating portrait of a creative genius who inspired generations.
McGrath's new biography of C. S. Lewis is excellant. it's filled with information based on extensive scholarship but is nonetheless extremely readable. It not only devotes great attention to the formation and character of Lewis, it offers incisive and balanced analyses of all his main literary works. I devoured Lewis's works in my youth. His impact on me was profound and lasting, and McGrath clearly explains why so many can say the same thing.
McGrath sheds new light on the life of the incomparable C.S. Lewis. This is an important book.
author of Bonhoeffer
Many of us thought we knew most of what there is to know about C.S. Lewis. Alister McGrath's new biography makes use of archives and other material that clarify, deepen, and further explain the many sides of one of Christianity's most remarkable apologists. This is a penetrating and illuminating read.
Alister McGrath has written a meticulously researched, insightful, fair-minded, and honest account of a fascinating man's life. His book is especially distinctive in its placing of Lewis in his vocational and social contexts, but it also provides a compelling account of the development of Lewis' Christian mind. This will be an indispensable resource for fans and scholars of Lewis.
For people who might wonder if we need another biography of C.S. Lewis, McGrath's crisp, insightful, and at times quite original portrait of the celebrated Oxford Christian will change their minds.
-Lyle W. Dorsett
A welcome addition to the biographical literature on C.S. Lewis, which includes several valuable new perspectives. McGrath's book will gain a permanent position in Lewis scholarship for his brilliant and, to my my mind, undeniable re-dating of Lewis' conversion to Theism. How we all missed this for so long is astonishing.
There have been plenty of biographies of LewisI once wrote one myselfbut I do not think there has been a better one than Alister McGraths. He is a punctilious and enthusiastic reader of all Lewiss workthe childrens stories, the science fiction, the Christian apologetics and the excellent literary criticism and literary history. He is from Northern Ireland, as Lewis was himself, and he is especially astute about drawing out the essentially Northern Irish qualities of this very odd man. And he is sympathetic to the real oddness of his story.
On the 50th anniversary of his death, this new C. S. Lewis biography succeeds in deepening the appeal of his worksÂ
The most abiding gift of C. S. Lewis: A Life is its fierce curiosity about the novels, letters, and books of popular philosophy that are Lewis most substantial legacy. McGraths biography promises to introduce new readers to those worksand inspire veteran C. S. Lewis fans to visit them again.
Rather than canonizing Lewis, McGraths meticulously detailed book succeeds in humanizing him.
If youre looking for a lively, general introduction to this multitalented thinker and writer, Alister McGraths new biography is a good place to start.
Alister McGraths C. S. Lewis: A Life now supplies a welcome balance, along with some significant discoveries. Mr. McGrath is well placed, culturally speaking, to understand and sympathize with Lewis. . . . One comes away with a renewed sympathy for a provocative, perceptive, contrarian and somewhat tormented soul
McGrath is not intimidated by Lewis nor overly reverential of him; but he shows him a professional respect that ought to silence those who dismiss Lewis as a theological amateur. He points out that under its clothing of reasoned argument, Lewis theology is always founded on a profoundly aesthetic effort: to draw us a picture of the Christian universe and our place in it that moves, attracts and persuades us, so that we say: yes, this is what life is really like, and how much more real it is than we ever imagined. A powerful achievement.
While readers of C. S. Lewis might assume a biography would cover his literature, this account comes from an eminent theologian and focuses on Lewis spiritual life and conversionand therefore is a definitive survey of Lewis conversion and faith, recommended for spirituality holdings above all else. Dr. McGrath is the only scholar to analyze the entire collection of Lewis letters and archives: his survey is a powerful biography combining elements of spiritual and literary analysis, and is a special pick for any Christian collection.
An excellent scholarly read encompassing new ideas for Lewis devotees or those interested in religious argument.
To the question of whether the world really needs another biography of C.S. Lewis, McGraths lucid and unsentimental portrait of the Christian champion responds with a resounding yes. The year 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of Lewiss death, and times have changed and evangelical sentiments have matured. McGrath offers a new and at times shocking look into the complicated life of this complex figure, in a deeply researched biography. The author takes us headlong into the heart of a Lewis weve known little about: his unconventional affair with Mrs. Jane Moore; his hostile and deceptive relationship with his father; his curiosity about the sensuality of cruelty. McGrath navigates the reader through these messy themes, ultimately landing us onto the solid ground of Lewiss postconversion legacy. He shows with skill, sympathy, dispassion, and engaging prose that Lewis, like the rest of us, did the best he could with the hand he was dealt. But he got over it, as must all those who would prefer a Lewis without shadows.
McGrath does this so limpidly, so intelligently, and so sympathetically that this biography is the one Lewis admirersespecially those who, like him, believe that books are to be read and enjoyedshould prefer to all others.
A thoroughly researched yet very readable, chronological account of C.S. Lewis life, his literature, and his journey from atheism to Christianity. Fifty years after his death, the words of Lewis continue to inspire many, and McGraths biography may help to unravel some of the mystery behind his eccentric mind. Staff Pick