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C. S. Lewis

C. S. Lewis

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Published by: Ransel Fernandez Villaruel on Oct 11, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Shien Ransel F. Villaruel: Christian Methodical Camaraderie (C. M. C.)
Pangasinan State University, Lingayen Campus
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_PageFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
C. S. Lewis
Clive Staples Lewis
(29 November 1898 – 22 November 1963), commonly referred to as
C. S. Lewis
andknown to his friends and family as
, was an Irish-born British
novelist, academic,medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian andChristian apologist.He is also known for his fiction, especially 
.Lewis was a close friend of J. R. R. Tolkien,the author of  
. Both authors were leadingfigures in the English faculty atOxford Universityand in the informal Oxford literary group known as the"Inklings". According to his memoir 
, Lewis had been baptised in theChurch of Irelandat birth, but fell away from his faith during his adolescence. Owing to the influence of Tolkien and other friends, at about the age of 30, Lewis returned toChristianity, becoming "a very ordinary layman of theChurch of England".
His conversion had a profound effect on his work, and his wartime radio broadcastson the subject of Christianity brought him wide acclaim.In 1956, he married the American writer Joy Gresham, 17 years his junior, who died four years later of cancer at the age of 45.Lewis himself died three years later following a heart attack, one week before what would have been his65th birthday. Media coverage of his death was minimal, as he died on 22 November 1963 – the same daythat US PresidentJohn F. Kennedywas assassinated, and the same dayAldous Huxleydied. Lewis's works have been translated into more than 30 languages and have sold millions of copies over theyears. The books that make up
The Chronicles of Narnia
have sold the most and have been popularised onstage, in TV, in radio, and in cinema.
Clive Staples Lewis was born inBelfast, Ireland, on 29 November 1898. His father was Albert JamesLewis (1863–1929), asolicitor whose father, Richard, had come to Ireland fromWalesduring the mid 19th
century. His mother was Florence (Flora) Augusta Lewis née Hamilton (1862–1908), the daughter of aChurch of Ireland(Anglican) priest. He had one older brother,Warren Hamilton Lewis(Warnie). At the age of four, shortly after his dog Jacksie died when run over by a car, Lewis announced that his name wasnow Jacksie. At first he would answer to no other name, but later accepted Jack, the name by which he wasknown to friends and family for the rest of his life. When he was seven, his family moved into "Little Lea",the house the elder Mr. Lewis built for Mrs. Lewis, in theStrandtownarea of East Belfast.
Little Lea
Lewis was initially schooled by private tutors before being sent to theWynyard SchoolinWatford,Hertfordshire, in 1908, just after his mother's death fromcancer.Lewis's brother had already enrolled there three years previously. The school was closed not long afterwards due to a lack of pupils — the headmaster Robert "Oldie" Capron was soon after committed to a psychiatric hospital. Tellingly, in
Surprised By Joy
, Lewis would nickname the school (and place)"Belsen".
 There is some speculation by biographer Alan Jacobs that the atmosphere at Wynyard greatlytraumatized Lewis and was responsible for the development of "mildly sadomasochistic fantasies".
After Wynyard closed, Lewis attendedCampbell Collegein the east of Belfast about a mile from his home, buthe left after a few months due to respiratory problems. As a result of his illness, Lewis was sent to thehealth-resort town of Malvern, Worcestershire, where he attended the preparatory school Cherbourg House(called "Chartres" in Lewis's autobiography).In September 1913, Lewis enrolled atMalvern College, where he would remain until the following June. Itwas during this time that 15-year-old Lewis abandoned his childhood Christian faith and became anatheist, becoming interested in mythology and the occult.
Later he would describe "Wyvern" (as he styled theschool in his autobiography) as so singularly focused on increasing one'ssocial statusthat he came to seethe homosexual relationships between older and younger pupils as "the one oasis (though green only withweeds and moist only with fetid water) in the burning desert of competitive ambition. […] A perversionwas the only thing left through which something spontaneous and uncalculated could creep".
After leaving Malvern he moved to study privately with William T. Kirkpatrick, his father's old tutor and former headmaster of Lurgan College.As a young boy, Lewis had a fascination withanthropomorphicanimals, falling in love withBeatrix Potter'sstories and often writing and illustrating his own animal stories. He and his brother Warnie together created the world of Boxen,inhabited and run by animals. Lewis loved to read, and as his father’s housewas filled with books, he felt that finding a book to read was as easy as walking into a field and "finding anew blade of grass."
As a teenager, he was wonderstruck by the songs and legends of what he called
, the ancientliterature of Scandinaviapreserved in theIcelandic sagas. These legends intensified a longing he had within, a deep desire he would later call "joy". He also grew to love nature — the beauty of naturereminded him of the stories of the North, and the stories of the North reminded him of the beauties of nature. His writing in his teenage years moved away from the tales of Boxen, and he began to use differentart forms (epic poetryand opera) to try to capture his new-found interest in Norse mythologyand the natural world. Studying with Kirkpatrick (“The Great Knock”, as Lewis afterwards called him) instilled inhim a love of Greek literatureand mythology, and sharpened his skills in debate and clear reasoning.
World War I
Having won ascholarshiptoUniversity College, Oxfordin 1916, Lewis volunteered the following year in theBritish ArmyasWorld War Iraged on, and was commissioned an officer in the Third Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry. Lewis arrived at the front line in theSommeValley inFranceon his nineteenth  birthday, and experiencedtrench warfare.On 15 April 1918 Lewis was wounded during the German spring offensive, and suffered some depressionduring his convalescence, due in part to missing his Irish home. Upon his recovery in October, he wasassigned to duty inAndover , England. He was discharged in December 1918, and soon returned to his
studies. Lewis received a First inHonour Moderations(Greek andLatin Literature) in 1920, a First in Greats(Philosophy andAncient History) in 1922, and a First inEnglishin 1923.
 Jane Moore
While being trained for the army Lewis shared a room with another cadet, Edward Courtnay Francis"Paddy" Moore (1898–1918). Maureen Moore, Paddy's sister, claimed that the two made a mutual pact
that if either died during the war, the survivor would take care of both their families. Paddy waskilled inactionin 1918 and Lewis kept his promise. Paddy had earlier introduced Lewis to his mother, Jane KingMoore, and a friendship very quickly sprang up between Lewis, who was eighteen when they met, andJane, who was forty-five. The friendship with Mrs. Moore was particularly important to Lewis while hewas recovering from his wounds in hospital, as his father, who had an almost pathological reluctance to break free from the routine of his Belfast practice, could not bring himself to visit Lewis.Lewis lived with and cared for Mrs. Moore until she was hospitalized in the late 1940s. He routinelyintroduced her as his "mother", and referred to her as such in letters. Lewis, whose own mother had diedwhen he was a child and whose father was distant, demanding and eccentric, developed a deeplyaffectionate friendship with Mrs. Moore. In his biography of Lewis, A.N.Wilson makes a case for supposing that Lewis and Mrs Moore were, for a time, lovers.
Surprised by Joy
, Lewis's autobiography, issilent about his relationship with Moore and yet Wilson puts forth evidence to show that Lewis wassupporting both Moore and her daughter in rented accommodation near to his digs in Oxford. Furthermore,in
Surprised by Joy
, Lewis writes of this period of his life, "I was returned to Oxford — 'demobbed — inJanuary 1919. But before I say anything of my life there I must warn the reader that one huge and complexepisode will be omitted. I have no choice in this reticence. All I can or need to say is that my earlier hostility to the emotions was very fully and variously avenged".In writing this, Lewis of course invites speculation. Wilson presents evidence which shows that, whatever the full extent of the relations between Moore and himself, their relationship during his undergraduate yearscould indeed be described as both 'huge' and 'complex'. Lewis himself spoke well of Mrs Moore throughouthis life saying to his friend George Sayer: "She was generous and taught me to be generous, too."In December 1917 Lewis wrote in a letter to his childhood friend Arthur Greeves that Jane and Greeveswere "the two people who matter most to me in the world."In 1930, Lewis and his brother Warnie moved, with Moore and her daughter Maureen, into "The Kilns", ahouse in the district of Headington Quarryon the outskirts of Oxford (now part of the suburb of Risinghurst). They all contributed financially to the purchase of the house, which passed to Maureen, thenDame Maureen Dunbar, Btss., when Warren died in 1973.Moore suffered from dementia in her later years and was eventually moved into a nursing home, where shedied in 1951. Lewis visited her every day in this home until her death.
"My Irish life"
Plaque on a park-bench inBangor  ,County Down
Lewis experienced a certain cultural shock on first arriving in England: "NoEnglishman will be able to understand my first impressions of England,"Lewis wrote in
,continuing, "The strangeEnglish accents  with which I was surrounded seemed like the voices of demons. But whatwas worst was the English landscape … I have made up the quarrel since; butat that moment I conceived a hatred for England which took many years to heal."
From boyhood Lewis immersed himself firstly in NorseandGreek and then inIrish mythologyand literatureand expressed an interest in theIrish language, though he seems to have made little attempt to learn it. He developed a particular fondness for W.B.Yeats, in part because of Yeats’s use of Ireland’s Celticheritage in poetry. In a letter to a friend Lewis wrote, "I have here discovered an author exactly after my own heart, whom I am sure you would delight in, W. B. Yeats. He writes plays and poems of rare spiritand beauty about our old Irish mythology."In 1921, Lewis had the opportunity to meet Yeats on two occasions, since Yeats had moved to Oxford.

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