Thursday, November 17

Reading C.S. Lewis

After last night's conversation with Wayne Shepherd on the Moody Radio Network, I've gotten a slew of e-mail and phone requests for book recommendations: "What's the best guide to The Chronicles of Narnia?" Or, "What can I read to understand some of the backgrounds Lewis is working with?" And, "Is there a good biography of Lewis you might recommend?"

Well, I'm no expert. But, as is the case in so many other areas of my life, I am an confirmed and veteran enthusiast. So, with that as a caveat, here are my recommendations:

C.S. Lewis: Man of Letters by Thomas Howard (Ignatius) is a very helpful guide to reading the whole fiction corpus of Lewis. It is, like all of Howard's books, wise and witty, literate and learned.

Simply C.S. Lewis by Thomas Peters (Crossway) is a great general introduction to the life and work of Lewis--very much along the line of his award-winning introduction to G.K. Chesterton, Battling for the Modern Mind: A Beginner's Chesterton.

The Spiritual Legacy of C.S. Lewis by Terry Glaspey (Cumberland House). I solicited, edited, and wrote the foreword for this book--and still very much appreciate it despite the fact that it is a decade old now!

Jack: A Life of C.S. Lewis by George Sayer (Crossway) is my favorite of the many biographies of Lewis that I've read. But, I'm also very partial to the books on Lewis by Kay Lindskoog and Michael Coren.

I could probably go on and on, but to do so would be to risk having you despair altogether of reading anything. So, I'll stop with this: at the very least reread the first volume in The Chronicles of Narnia before you head out to the theater to watch Hollywood's The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. You'll be very glad you did.


David Pulliam said...

I'm just curious. Why don't we just read C.S. Lewis? He's worth the time.

gileskirk said...

Veith's book is quite wonderful.

Of course, we should read Lewis--lots of Lewis. And I have. Indeed, I've read everything Lewis ever published while he was alive and much of what was published after his death. And I've read a good bit of Lewis multiple times: the Narnia and Science Fiction stories and his books of criticism particularly. But, to just read Lewis means we don't have the opportunity to know about the man, his times, his academic connections, and his literary context.

I read and study the Bible voraciously, continuously. But, I also read commentaries, devotionals, and contemporary analysis in order to hone my Biblical worldview and literacy.

It's not ever a question of either-or.

sh said...

wealth of resources here:

Mark Dolan said...

Took your advice and read all 7 again. At the end of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Aslan gave me the best reason for visiting Narnia again and again: "This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there." It was true again for me. Thanks for the reminder!