Reading C.S. Lewis: A Commentary  -     By: Wesley A. Kort
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Reading C.S. Lewis: A Commentary

Oxford University Press / 2015 / Hardcover

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Product Description

A comprehensive examination of the major Lewis texts

C. S. Lewis was a gifted writer in all manner of forms - science fiction, apologetics, autobiography, and literary criticism. Wesley Kort, like a seasoned docent, takes us to the heart of a dozen of Lewis's major works, poignantly commenting on core themes.

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 320
Vendor: Oxford University Press
Publication Date: 2015
Dimensions: 9.20 X 6.10 (inches)
ISBN: 0190221348
ISBN-13: 9780190221348

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Publisher's Description

From the unbending belief in invisible powers that animates Till We Have Faces to the depiction of Aslan's sacrifice and resurrection in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, C. S. Lewis's writing has sparked intense debate about the presence and function of religion in his works. Today, a reader's opinion of Lewis is more often than not based on his or her perspectives on religion. In Reading C. S. Lewis, Wesley A. Kort examines Lewis's work as a whole, investigating why and at what points Lewis turns to religion-and particularly to Christianity-in order to advance his arguments.

Kort moves through more than a dozen of Lewis's major books, providing a useful guide to their various elements while connecting readers to the literary contexts that influenced the works and Lewis himself. Reading C. S. Lewis examines the standing of Lewis's work, how best to approach the books, and the misunderstandings that lead to mistaken readings. The commentaries also function as free-standing essays that can be read individually and in any order.

Reading C. S. Lewis: A Commentary sets a new standard for C. S. Lewis studies. A comprehensive examination of the major Lewis texts, this volume is a captivating look into the author's work from a refreshingly undogmatic point of view.

Author Bio


Wesley A. Kort is Professor Emeritus of Religion at Duke University and author of C. S. Lewis Then and Now (OUP 2004).

Endorsements

A rich presentation of C.S. Lewis' place in the literary and academic culture of Oxford and Cambridge, with fresh, exciting views on his space trilogy, Narnia, apologetics, and his standing as a moral philosopher. A must for serious students of this writer, whose importance increases with every decade.
-Philip Zaleski,
co-author of The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings: J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Charles Williams, Owen Barfield

Reading C.S. Lewis should be read by Lewis devotees and detractors alike. In this remarkably wise and balanced account of Lewis' imaginative and apologetic works, readers of every persuasion will discover an intellect more capacious, a sensibility more congenial, and a world-view more inclusive and edifying than those of the sectarian Lewis created and somewhat distorted by our own cultural wars.
-Sanford Schwartz,
author of C.S. Lewis on the Final Frontier: Science and the Supernatural in the Space Trilogy

Wesley Kort's achievement is to have written a treatment of C. S. Lewis that is, first, synoptic, in that it covers generously yet concisely the broad ambit of Lewis's writing. Kort is at once a sensitive and a sensible reader of Lewis, who takes seriously Lewis' thought while refusing to play the 'are you for him or are you against him?' game. Kort has given us an 'experiment in criticism' of an order that Lewis himself would surely have appreciated.
-Richard A. Rosengarten,
The University of Chicago Divinity School

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  1. Michigan
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: Male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    A brilliant book by a scholar well-acquainted with Lewiss life and works!
    March 1, 2016
    John M Kight
    Michigan
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: Male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Wesley A. Kort is Professor Emeritus of Religion at Duke University. He holds a Ph.D from the University of Chicago and has received numerous awards, honors, and distinctions throughout his academic career. Kort is the author of the well-received C. S. Lewis Then and Now (Oxford, 2004), where he sought to rehabilitate Lewis to demonstrate the continuing value and relevance of his work today. Most recently, in Reading C. S. Lewis: A Commentary (Oxford, 2015), Kort has delivered yet another excellent volume into the hands of Lewis enthusiasts everywhere. It is here that Kort offers an exciting investigation into some of Lewiss major works, providing a fresh literary and academic evaluation that has set a new standard for C. S. Lewis studies.

    Reading C. S. Lewis begins with an introduction that positions the reader to recognize the cultural milieu of Lewiss day. Kort does the reader a service by bringing attention to the backdrop of the story before directing the reader towards the material that comprises the remainder of the bookwhich is organized around three structural components that constitute the framework of Lewiss project (ix).

    First, Kort seeks to independently comment on four of Lewiss well-known works: Surprised by Joy (1955), The Problem of Pain (1940), The Screwtape Letters (1942), and Mere Christianity (1952). For Kort, these four books display Lewiss assumptions concerning basic and important moral and religious matters [that] are and have been generally agreed upon by reasonable people (109). This is the preliminary structural component of the larger framework mentioned aboveLewiss philosophical and moral theory. The commentary on each of these works is consistent and helpful throughout, and he often provides insight that would be unknown by the average reader with little exposure to Lewis (myself included).

    Second, Kort guides the reader through the next major structural component, namely, Lewiss cultural critique of modernity. Kort again provides commentary on four of Lewiss well-known works: Out of the Silent Planet (1938), Perelandra (1943), The Abolition of Man (1944), and The Hideous Strength (1945). For Kort, the critique of modernity expressed in these texts is sharply focused, well informed, consistent, and both theoretically and practically defended (189). The reader will likely agree with Korts assessment at this point. I was personally intrigued by this section considering Lewiss interaction within the academy and the cultural shift that was taking place therein. However, I anticipated more interaction by Kort regarding Lewiss adoration for Dante and his influence on Lewiss workespecially that of the Space Trilogy.

    Third, Kort turns attention to the final structural component of Lewiss project as he comments on The Lion, the Witch and the Wardobe (1950) and Prince Caspian (1951), The Four Loves (1960), and The Magicians Nephew (1955) and The Last Battle (1956). Kort explains, the third component, applied principals, relates to his distinction between principles and their embodiments and, second, to his [Lewiss] constructive application of moral and doctrinal principals to delineate a worldview that he sees as preferable to its modern, particularly nonreligious, alternatives (viii). The reader will find the observations that Kort details here both helpful and insightful. I personally found Korts discussion on charity within The Four Loves (233-235) to be of great practical significant, and it was full of witty and quotable content.

    Reading C. S. Lewis by Wesley A. Kort is a brilliant book by a scholar well-acquainted with Lewiss life and works. Kort was both fair and generous in his assessment, and the organization of the book was planned well for the interested reader. Some readers, especially those who are more familiar with Lewiss work, will likely be disappointed in the limited scope of Lewiss corpus presented here. Moreover, I was personally disappointed by the use of endnotes over footnotes. There is some truly outstanding material lingering in the endnotes of this book and it would have been more readily available for the reader at the bottom of the page. Nevertheless, despite these foreseen issues, it is clear that Kort has provided a commendable volume that is certain to be enjoyed by C. S. Lewis fans everywhere. I recommend it with enthusiasm!

    I received a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
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