Tuesday, November 22, 2005

C. S. Lewis

November 22, 1963

Many people remember this as the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. A few may remember it as the day Brave New World author Aldous Huxley died.

But this day is also the day that Clive Staple Lewis, fondly known to many of us as C. S. Lewis, died.

Of these three men whose earthy journey ended forty-two years ago, I daresay that C. S. Lewis has left the greatest legacy.

Many young families become familiar with Lewis through his Chronicles of Narnia books that he wrote for children. Others know him for his Space Trilogy books. Still others know him through Mere Christianity.

I wonder if anyone comes to know Lewis first through any of his other books. Books like Surprised by Joy, The Abolition of Man, A Grief Observed, Miracles, The Great Divorce, The Problem of Pain, The Screwtape Letters, Till We Have Faces, The Pilgrim’s Regress, or The Weight of Glory. Maybe some become acquainted with Lewis through the movie Shadowlands.

An instructive and enjoyable production about Lewis’s life is found in The Magic Never Ends. The Teaching Company has produced a superb resource, The Life and Writings of C. S. Lewis. Listening to it will make you want to read everything Lewis wrote.

While researching this post, I found an interesting tidbit. As home educators, many of us are aware of the author Roger Lancelyn Green and his books Tales of Ancient Egypt, King Arthur & His Knights of the Round Table, Tales of Greek Heroes, and many others. Green was a pupil of Lewis’s who grew into a close and lifelong friend. Green has written a biography of his friend and mentor, C. S. Lewis: A Biography.

Among Lewis’s other friends and mentors were G. K. Chesterton, J. R. R. Tolkien, George MacDonald, authors familiar to many.

One of the books on my 2007 daily book list is A Year with C. S. Lewis.

Lewis saw things most of the rest of us cannot. He seemed to see beyond those shadows he talks about. He understood beyond the norm. He is someone I will be privileged to meet in heaven.

Some of C. S. Lewis’s words......

"If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world." from Mere Christianity

“Those of us who have been true readers all our life seldom fully realize the enormous extension of our being which we owe to authors. We realize it best when we talk with an unliterary friend. He may be full of goodness and good sense, but he inhabits a tiny world. In it, we should be suffocated. My own eyes are not enough for me. The man who is contented to be only himself and therefore less a self, is in prison. My own eyes are not enough for me, even the eyes of all humanity are not enough.” from An Experiment in Criticism

“Literary experience heals the wound, without undermining the privilege, of individuality....Here, as in worship, in love, in moral action, and in knowing, I transcend myself; and am never more than when I do.” from An Experiment in Criticism

"I'm on Aslan's side even if there isn't any Aslan to lead it. I'm going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn't any Narnia." from The Silver Chair

"'Yes,' said Queen Lucy. 'In our world too, a Stable once had something inside it that was bigger than our whole world.'" from The Last Battle

"'Safe?' said Mr. Beaver...'Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. but he's good. He's the King, I tell you.'" from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

1 comment:

Carol in Oregon said...

My 14yr son and I are right on the edge of re-reading the Narnia books, using the Veritas Press Omnibus study guide. Oh what wealth, what rich times are ahead. Thank you for the quotes, Janie.

What a present to the world C.S. Lewis was. Thank you Lord.