22nd November 2023 by

60th anniversary of the death of CS Lewis

Born in Belfast in November 1898 into the Anglican Church of Ireland, British writer, literary scholar and Anglican lay theologian CS (Clive Staples) Lewis (1898-1963) abandoned his faith at school, but was reconverted to Christianity when on the English faculty at Oxford by the devoutly Catholic J.R.R. Tolkien, author of “The Lord of the Rings.”

As a boy, Lewis was fascinated with anthropomorphic animals and often wrote and illustrated his own animal tales. Along with his brother Warnie, he created the world of Boxen, a fantasy land inhabited and run by animals. 

He achieved most fame with stories for children that contained deep Christian echoes, the best known of which are, “The Chronicles of Narnia” which have been popularized on stage, TV, radio and cinema. Lewis wrote more than 30 books which have been translated into more than 30 languages and have sold millions of copies.

His philosophical writings are widely cited by Christian scholars from many denominations. Like his close friend, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lewis expressed his Christian faith through narrative and imagination. His wartime radio broadcasts on the subject of Christianity brought him wide acclaim.

In later life, Lewis corresponded with Joy Davidman Gresham, an American writer of Jewish background, a former Communist, and a convert from atheism to Christianity. He later married Joy and after her death he wrote A Grief Observed which describes his experience of bereavement in such a raw and personal fashion that he originally released it under the pseudonym N.W.Clerk to keep readers from associating the book with him. Ironically, many friends recommended the book to Lewis as a method for dealing with his own grief.

He died on 22 November 1963, the same day as President John F. Kennedy and Aldous Huxley.

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