(1898-1963). The death of C.S. Lewis on Nov. 22, 1963, was
not much noticed at the time, because it occurred on the same day as the
assassination of United States President John F. Kennedy. Yet for three
decades Lewis had been one of the most widely read authors on Christian
teaching in the Western world.
Clive Staples Lewis was
born in Belfast, Ireland, on Nov. 29, 1898. He was educated by private
tutor and then at Malvern College in England for a year before attending
University College, Oxford, in 1916. His education was interrupted by service
in World War I. In 1918 he returned to Oxford where he did outstanding
work as a classical scholar. He taught at Magdalen College, Oxford, from
1925 to 1954, and from 1954 until his death in Oxford he was professor
of Medieval and Renaissance English at Cambridge University in Cambridge.
He was highly respected in his field of study, both as a teacher and writer.
His book The
Allegory of Love: a Study in Medieval Tradition, published
in 1936, is considered by many to be his best work.
It was as an apologist for Christianity that Lewis gained his greatest audience. In his attempt
to formulate a core of Christian understanding, Lewis wrote a number of
highly readable books--intelligent, imaginative, and often witty. Among
these were: The Pilgrim's Regress, published in 1933, The
Problem of Pain (1940), Miracles (1947), and The
Screwtape Letters (1942), probably
his most popular work. He also wrote a trilogy of religious science fiction
of the Silent Planet (1938), Perelandra (1943), and That
Hideous Strength (1945). For children he wrote a series of seven allegorical
tales, beginning with The
Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in 1950.
His autobiography, Surprised by Joy, was published in 1955.