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$16.11
1. Spirits in bondage; a cycle of
$9.95
2. Biography - Lewis, C. S. (1898-1963):
 
$2.90
3. Lewis, C. S. (1898-1963): An entry
 
4. Mere Christian C. S. Lewis 1898-1963
$26.28
5. The Collected Letters of C.S.
 
$65.95
6. Behind the Veil of Familiarity:
 
$88.67
7. The Letters of C.S. Lewis to Arthur
 
$282.55
8. They Stand Together: The Letters
 
9. The Last Battle [Chronicles Of
 
10. Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The
 
11. Prince Caspian, The Return to
 
12. The great divorce, a dream
$1.79
13. C. S. Lewis on Joy
$7.92
14. The Latin Letters of C.S. Lewis
$30.49
15. The Collected Letters of C.S.
$7.93
16. Simply C. S. Lewis: A Beginner's
$12.52
17. Latin Letters of C.S. Lewis
$9.74
18. Is Your Lord Large Enough?: How
$13.61
19. Yours, Jack: Spiritual Direction
$18.66
20. The Collected Letters of C.S.

1. Spirits in bondage; a cycle of lyrics, in three parts
by C S. 1898-1963 Lewis
 Paperback: 124 Pages (2010-09-12)
list price: US$19.75 -- used & new: US$16.11
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Asin: 1172416834
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2. Biography - Lewis, C. S. (1898-1963): An article from: Contemporary Authors Online
by Gale Reference Team
Digital: 29 Pages (2007-01-01)
list price: US$9.95 -- used & new: US$9.95
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Asin: B0007SDDCM
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Word count: 8589. ... Read more


3. Lewis, C. S. (1898-1963): An entry from SJP's <i>St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture</i>
by Jessy Randall
 Digital: 2 Pages (2000)
list price: US$2.90 -- used & new: US$2.90
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Asin: B0027YVEQ6
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This digital document is an article from St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture, brought to you by Gale®, a part of Cengage Learning, a world leader in e-research and educational publishing for libraries, schools and businesses.The length of the article is 640 words.The article is delivered in HTML format and is available in your Amazon.com Digital Locker immediately after purchase.You can view it with any web browser.Signed essays ranging from 500 to 2,500 words, written by subject experts and edited to form a consistent, readable, and straightforward reference. Entries include subject-specific bibliographies and textual cross-references to related essays. ... Read more


4. Mere Christian C. S. Lewis 1898-1963
by Richard H Schmidt
 Paperback: Pages (2005)

Asin: B0015S2T28
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5. The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume 3: Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy, 1950 - 1963
by C. S. Lewis
Hardcover: 1840 Pages (2007-01-09)
list price: US$42.95 -- used & new: US$26.28
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Asin: 0060819227
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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This collection, carefully chosen and arranged by Walter Hooper, is the most extensive ever published. Included here are the letters Lewis wrote to such luminaries as J.R.R. Tolkien, Owen Barfield, Arthur C. Clarke, Sheldon Vanauken, and Dom Bede Griffiths. To some particular friends, such as Dorothy L. Sayers, Lewis wrote fifty letters alone. The letters deal with all of Lewis's interests—theology, literary criticism, poetry, fantasy, children's stories—as well as his relationships with family members and friends.

The third and final volume begins with Lewis, already a household name from his BBC radio broadcasts and popular spiritual books, on the cusp of publishing his most famous and enduring book, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, which would ensure his immortality in the literary world. It covers his relationship with and marriage to Joy Davidman Gresham, subject of the film Shadowlands, and includes letters right up to his death on November 22, 1963, the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

This volume also includes both a special section of newly found letters from earlier time periods covered in volumes one and two and mini-biographies of Lewis's regular correspondents.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great CS Lewis Book
Nice collection of letters and especially gives insight into his relationship with his wife Joy.

5-0 out of 5 stars Not Coming Out in Paperback
All three of the volumes of Lewis's letters are spectacular, of course, but it's unfortunate that HarperCollins decided (after plenty of us had bought vols. 1 and 2 in paperback) that they were only going to release this volume in hardcover. I suppose I should have guessed since they put the first two paperback volumes in a slipcover (which never made sense to me before--who would buy that knowing the third volume was imminent?), and the IMMENSE size of this volume probably wouldn't have done well in paperback. All the same, it would have been nice to know ahead of time. Now I have to buy the first two volumes AGAIN, this time in hardcover, in order for my set to match. A more cynical man would find a conspiracy there.

At any rate, I can't be the only one checking back here periodically to see if/when they'll issue Vol 3 in paperback, so I hope this note (not really a review, I'm afraid) is helpful to others.

4-0 out of 5 stars Cleaning out the attic.
On a windy day last fall I had the chance to visit the Kilns, the home of Jack and Warren Lewis, uphill from Oxford.One thing that caught my eye was how ad hoc and miscellaneous the house seemed.One could see how someone who lived in that house could write so ramshackle a novel as That Hideous Strength, and where the attic between houses in The Magician's Nephew came from, and (moving up the hill past the pond) why Dryads and Naiads bend in the wind, as they turn into maples and oaks.Like Ransom's St. Annes, or the Professor's in Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe this was a house with a personality, one that collects people, animals, and stories.

It is fitting that the final volume of Lewis' correspondence is also miscellaneous and ad hoc.Yes, there are more letters to T. S. Elliot -- studiously polite in the early years, more friendly (it seems to me) later on -- Tolkien (a few), Sayers, Roger Green, Griffiths.(The Washington Post reviewer gets a lot right, but I think misses Lewis' true tone here -- it seems to me he's worried about Griffiths move away from orthodoxy.)Half or more of the correspondents are writers.Others are children (Lewis seems to put his heart into answers to children) or pests to whom Lewis is trying to be polite, one guesses.

Not all the letters are equally interesting, of course.Some seem a bit pro forma.What struck me about Volume 2 was the enormous amount of fun Lewis had.I didn't laugh quite as often reading this volume.I think the reason is, Lewis is famous now, and writes often here from duty, rather than pleasure.On the plus side, we're past WWII, and the numerous "thank you" letters for ham from the States that take up so much space in volume two.

What would bring this volume to life would be more letters to and from Joy, her boys, Tolkien, and maybe with Warren to and from Irish pubs.Oh, well, there's still quite a bit of good stuff in here -- I found it more interesting than volume 1, less than volume 2, overall.

Walter Hooper does a magnificent job of collecting, collating, and explaining, without getting in the way.He always seems to provide a note just when you want one, and answer the right questions.

author, The Truth Behind the New Atheism: Responding to the Emerging Challenges to God and Christianity

4-0 out of 5 stars The great author as a character.
It was absolutely fascinating to crawl around inside the head of this brilliant man as he entered the most tumultuous period of his life.I cannot help but think of Till We Have Faces, as Lewis stuggles through the same difficult lessons of learning to let someone you love go into the arms of God and away from your own.Utterly real, this book is worth the 1700 page read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Easily the deepest and most thought provoking of the collections
Given the fact that this letters collection deals mainly with the latter stages of Lewis's life, I really think this is the best of the three collections.

The main reason is that we get a clearer picture into the mind of the man who created Narnia, wrote the painfully honest and cathartic "A Grief Observed" after the loss of his wife, Joy and we start to see a man who takes faith to a new level in his life, from an intellectual and notionalistic approach to a real, raw encounter with God.

It is very easy to see how Lewis has influenced so many writers today, even the new gneration, who are just beginning to write. His legacy continues on in the minds and pens of Christian thinkers and writers who desperately want to help individuals grow closer to God and examine their faith to keep it vital.

And Lewis is relevant, as J.G. Marking, author of "A Voice Is Calling," so clearly stated, "I believe to some degree every Christian author is likened to C.S. Lewis because he is the intellectual and literary bar that we are all measured against.And thus, in some way, his voice will resonate in all of ours, maybe forever."

This collection reveals more of the soul of Lewis than the mind, which is an even more intriguing glance. ... Read more


6. Behind the Veil of Familiarity: C.S. Lewis (1898-1998)
 Paperback: 347 Pages (2000-12)
list price: US$65.95 -- used & new: US$65.95
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Asin: 0820450995
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7. The Letters of C.S. Lewis to Arthur Greeves, 1914-1963
by C. S. Lewis
 Paperback: 592 Pages (1986-09)
list price: US$12.95 -- used & new: US$88.67
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Asin: 0020223404
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Pure Gold
How many of us can write a decent letter, by hand, in this day and age?Lewis wrote a bookful of letters that are not only decent, but fascinating, revealing his genius from the age of 15 to shortly before his death at 62.How this prolific writer, full time student and then professor, while also caring for the cantankerous mother of a friend killed in the war, managed to find the time for this is beyond amazing.Particularly useful to the bibliophile are his running commentaries on the books he is reading. There is an excellent index.Highly recommended, needs reprinting.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent letters of Lewis's readings, thinkings and doings
C.S. Lewis believed that letters should be about a person's readings, thinkings, and doings, and this nearly half century of correspondence between Lewis and his friend Arthur Greeves richly fulfils all three of these areas.Only a few letters are by Greeves, the rest being Lewis's correspondence to him.Walter Hooper has done a fine job in ordering these letters and writing a fine introduction to fill in the background for these two.The letters are often funny, sometimes pensive, and usually insightful, but they are never dull.I enjoyed them greatly. ... Read more


8. They Stand Together: The Letters of C.S. Lewis to Arthur Greeves (1914-1963)
by C. S. Lewis
 Hardcover: 592 Pages (1979-12)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$282.55
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Asin: 0025536605
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Very Interesting Insight Into Lewis's Maturing
I received a copy of the 1976 edition in the mail a few weeks ago, and have spent most of my free time reading this book.For those unfamiliar with what this is, "They Stand Together" is a compilation of letters written by C.S. Lewis to his greatest lifelong friend, Arthur Greeves.(Albeit, however, there are five letters of Arthur's strewn in as well.)

I'll have to admit that I have a certain bias, as I'm very much a fan of C.S. Lewis and his writings.His philosophical and theological views have always kept me intrigued and pushed me into continuous vigil on anything that may give insight to the man behind the works.So, after finding this, I thought it would provide a wonderful revelation.For the most part, I wasn't let down.I will warn you, though, that if you're not one devoted to C.S. Lewis the man, you may not find this book very interesting.

Concerning the content, this is, to date, the most extensive compilation between Lewis and his friend, ranging from 1914, the year that they met, to 1963, the year Lewis died.As you read, you can see the development of Lewis as both a friend and as a man progressing through his own beliefs.From atheism to spiritualism, deism and finally Christianity, these letters cover the transition through them all.There are also other things to be found, such as rough drafts of writings Lewis wanted Arthur to read, including much poetry.Plenty of book criticisms can be found as well.

(I thought it interesting to note that there are even letters written from the battlefront when Lewis became part of the British infantry in World War One.Even in the midst of war, he remained devoted to his friend!)

It must be noted that there is some controversy concerning the editing of this compilation.Certain things that Arthur Greeves crossed out in some letters, which some have argued to be too personal to be put in print, has been restored by editor Walter Hooper.Arthur's confusion regarding his own sexuality, instances concerning Lewis and his questioned relation with his caretaker and self-adopted mother, Mrs. Moore, and conversations concerning Warnie, Lewis's brother, and his drinking binges; all of these are found restored here and, while certainly insightful to the life of Lewis, may be questioned by some as indecent of Mr. Hooper.

All in all, this five-hundred page volume is certainly a read, and I found it to be a very interesting insight into the maturing of C.S. Lewis.I personally have no qualms concerning the editing, which may have marked down the rating for some reviewers, so I will give my honest opinion and rate it a five out of five.

Overall:A hearty and good-proportioned volume for those interested in the life and history behind C.S. Lewis, but those who aren't entirely devoted or find exposing into personal matters 'iffy', you might want to refrain from purchasing this.

5-0 out of 5 stars Have book publishers gone mad?
Why this collection of letters is not in print is a mystery.The writer whose letters this contains (C.S. Lewis)has sold books by now in excess of (estimated) two hundred million copies.And this is a collection of his writings,in this case to a boyhood friend, Arthur Greeves, from the time he was 17 until a couple of months before his death.Like reading C.S. Lewis?Like to know more about his life?This is the ultimate first hand account.Granted, most of the letters are before 1945 and most recount his own own academic and literary interests, and so will be of special interest to those of similar mind; still it is his letters to his lifelong friend that contain autobiographical details one can find in print nowhere else.Read lots of Lewis and want to read more?His letters -- the total number exceeding by one estimate "War and Peace" -- are the place to turn.If you love reading the man, this volume is indispensible.He never shared so much with anyone else in print.

3-0 out of 5 stars interesting letters but poorly edited
I looked for this book for quite a while before I finally got a library copy. I read it all, but was glad I hadn't actually bought it. (Note that I own more than 20 books by Lewis, including Letters and Letters to Children, and have read about 30 of his books; so one could safely say I am a fan.)

The book's idea is very interesting--letters from a man who wrote good letters, written to his lifelong best friend. Since Lewis greatly valued friendship (as I do), I wanted to see what he said. But the introduction was disappointing: Hooper spends pages telling Lewis's brother's faults in detail to the world, and only God knows whether he has done so honestly. It was also disappointing that Hooper chose to "scientifically restore" passages in the letters that talk about the correspondents' youthful indiscretions, passages that Greeves had carefully crossed out. In other words, the book fails to appropriately respect either Lewis's friendship or his loyalty to his brother--tabloid editing even if the restorations are accurate.

But the letters themselves are interesting and tell Lewis's story from a different angle than his other books. I'd say it's worth 3 1/2 stars.

5-0 out of 5 stars Highly entertaining and valuable correspondence
This book is a finely edited collection of letters from C.S. Lewis to one of his closest friends, Arthur Greeves.Besides the usual day to day chat, Lewis lets Arthur in on the three things he thinks should go into a letter:a person's readings, thinkings, and doings.Not only was this correspondence fun to read, but several specimens are as good as anything I've read in the way of sage advice to aspiring writers.Lewis's letters are candid, often whimsical and full of good humor, and entertaining in giving insightful commentary on the books he read.Walter Hooper has done a fine job of editing the correspondence and I strongly recommend obtaining a copy of the book if you can get hold of one. ... Read more


9. The Last Battle [Chronicles Of Narnia]
by C[live]. S[taples]. (1898-1963) LEWIS
 Hardcover: Pages (1968)

Asin: B002YK2GGK
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10. Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The [Chronicles Of Narnia]
by C[live]. S[taples]. (1898-1963) LEWIS
 Hardcover: Pages (1960)

Asin: B0019VNTAC
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11. Prince Caspian, The Return to Narnia [Chronicles Of Narnia]
by C[live]. S[taples]. (1898-1963) LEWIS
 Hardcover: Pages (1960)

Asin: B0042R6CCC
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12. The great divorce, a dream
by C. S. (Clive Staples) (1898-1963) Lewis
 Unknown Binding: Pages (1945)

Asin: B0046JUFQU
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13. C. S. Lewis on Joy
by C. S. Lewis
Hardcover: 72 Pages (1998-09)
list price: US$9.99 -- used & new: US$1.79
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Asin: 0785270973
Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars
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C.S. Lewis was probably the most popular Christian writer of the twentieth century, and his books are treasured by Christians and non-Christians alike. This beautifully illustrated selection draws together some of his reflections on joy and shows the qualities of intelligence, honesty, and humility which made him such a respected teacher. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Filled with little gems
Yes, of course these little exerpts do not do Lewis justice; this is a gift book of sorts. It isn't intended to replace reading his actual books. But each little essay is a gem...you can read one a day in 2 minutes and it will give you food for thought for the rest of the day. It will also inspire and motivate you to go read the full text from which the essay was taken.All four books are absolutely wonderful and they are an excellent way to introduce a friend to CS Lewis. They are also excellent gifts to give when a friend is dealing with one of the four topics the books cover; grief, faith, joy, or love.I have sent this books to many friends when they are dealing with one of those issues, and each time the friend is very moved by C.S. Lewis' insights.

1-0 out of 5 stars Lewis needs more pages
I admire C.S. Lewis, the fact that he came to know Christ, after being an atheist. However, I agree with the previous review that this book does not do Lewis justice in that it only represents small outtakes of his thoughts/writings. There are some sections in the book that you can take to heart, like enjoying the simpler things in life, like nature, that God created for us to enjoy. If you like quick reads, pick this up, but do not expect much.

1-0 out of 5 stars For Lewis collectors only!
This book specifically:

C. S. Lewis is a very rich and rewarding author, and joy rests as one of the central elements in his thought, and one of the major components of his conversion.A scholarly volume should be written exploring this whole avenue of Lewis.This thoughts on joy and its implications to humanity touchs almost everything he has ever written.Little books like these cannot capture the magnitude of this central theme in the works of C. S. Lewis.The importance to this theme cannot be overstated when regarding Lewis, and it also explains much of what makes literature in general and myth (in the Tolkien and Lewis sense) in specific so important, because it creates a longing that can only be satisfied in Christ.Go elsewhere to gain understanding of this spiritual yearning that shows up not only in Lewis but in so much of art, even in naturalistic works such as SISTER CARRIE.

These four books in general:

The central problem I have with these four little volumes, although I must confess to having only seen (and bought) one, rests in the fact they are very short, they do injustice to Lewis's thoughts on the subjects simply because the selection is not wide enough, and, especially on Grief, A GRIEF OBESERVED works so much better as a healing and theraputic book than this little tome ever could.If you're going to get into C. S. Lewis's thought, even if only a sampler, get something like THE BUSINESS OF HEAVEN or THE ESSENTIAL C. S. LEWIS or THE QUOTABLE LEWIS?Items like these characterize the industy that has grown up around C. S. Lewis: all sorts of merchandise is being published cashing in on Lewis and his life -- with Hooper largely at the back of it.If you want a novelty item (which is all this will ever be) or just a little gift I guess you could buy these, but why not spend a little more and buy a real C. S. Lewis book?They're so much richer!

Mike London ... Read more


14. The Latin Letters of C.S. Lewis
by C.S. Lewis, Giovanni Calabria
Paperback: 126 Pages (2009-11-16)
list price: US$12.00 -- used & new: US$7.92
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Asin: 158731455X
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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In September 1947, after reading C.S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters in Italian, Fr. Giovanni Calabria was moved to write the author, but he knew no English and assumed (rightly) that Lewis knew no Italian. So he wrote his letter in Latin, hoping that, as a classicist, Lewis would know Latin. Therein began a correspondence that was to outlive Fr. Calabria himself (he died in December 1954, and was succeeded in correspondence by Fr. Luigi Pedrollo).

Translator/editor Martin Moynihan calls these letters "limpid, fluent and deeply refreshing. There was a charm about them, too, and not least in the way they were 'topped and tailed' – that is, in their ever-slightly-varied formalities of address and of farewell."

More than any other of his published works The Latin Letters shows the strong devotional side of Lewis, and contains letters ranging from Christian unity and modern European history to liturgical worship and general ethical behavior.

Moreover, these letters are often intimate and personal:

I know that you will pour out your prayers both for my most dearly longed-for wife and also for me who – now bereaved and as it were halved – journey on, through this Vale of Tears, alone.
LETTER 34

"If someone had told me that there existed a long correspondence between C.S. Lewis and a saint . . . and that it was about ecumenism and reunion between Protestants and Catholics. I would think they were pulling my leg. It sounds too good to be true. Yet here it is: a graceful, intimate, hopeful, wise, saintly, committed, uncompromising, mutually respectful, and utterly practical ongoing dialog between a Catholic saint and the greatest Protestant writer of all time. . . . It contains many new gems of Lewis wisdom for the reader to underline, quote, and share. This is a very precious little book, and a strikingly relevant one for both Protestants and Catholics, for it is a model of ecumenical dialog. If your hopes for reunion are flagging, please read this book."– Peter Kreeft ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

3-0 out of 5 stars Nice letters, no revelations
These are somewhat interesting to C.S. Lewis fans, but don't reveal much about his real thinking on the matters of faith that he was writing about.They read more like dutiful little notes to a respected fan, not deeply felt commentary. ... Read more


15. The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume 1 : Family Letters, 1905-1931
by C. S. Lewis
Hardcover: 1072 Pages (2004-07-01)
list price: US$34.95 -- used & new: US$30.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0009K76EY
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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The first of a three volume collection of the letters of C.S. Lewis, this volume contains letters from Lewis’s boyhood, his army days in World War I and his early academic life at Oxford. From his declared atheism at age 16 to his budding friendship with Tolkein during his days at Oxford, these letters set the stage for the Lewis’s influential life and writings. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent for the serious reader
The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume 1 : Family Letters, 1905-1931 Realizing that in many people's minds C.S. Lewis only wrote "The Chronicles of Narnia," (they came to that realization after the movies began to be released) and maybe "Mere Christianity," this collection of letters is not for the faint of heart. Mere size will scare your average reader away. Understanding that collections of letters are one of the best forms of biography this volume is a wonderful foray into the life of Lewis for the serious student. C.S. Lewis was an inveterate writer so these writings are rife with detail regarding familial and extra-familial relationships and his amazing love of books. As is the case with letters, these are probably going to be read carefully and therefore it is a fairly significant investment of time, but an investment that returns worthy dividends.

5-0 out of 5 stars Provides incomparable insights into the man
I ordered this from the UK 9 years ago because I couldn't stand waiting for it to be released in the US, and then I let it sit and gather dust on my shelf until a friend shamed me into reading it by mentioning that he'd finished all 3 volumes.I'm very glad he did, because this was a great read!

Various people have complained about some of the unsavory aspects of Lewis's life that are exposed in these early letters:He's fascinated by weird things, snobbish, unkind to his father, and generally not living up to standards he would later propound.But all this had the effect of increasing rather than decreasing my admiration for Lewis, as I was given a front-row seat to the beginnings of a miraculous transformation in his life.As he becomes an adult, suffers the pains of war, copes with his father's death, and is gradually worked upon by faithful friends, the Lewis that we have come to know and love begins to emerge.

Sometimes you encounter an author whose every sentence seems to be remarkable, or nearly so.For me, those authors are Austen, Dickens, and Lewis.By the end of this volume, Lewis the Gifted Writer has made his appearance.This is evident not only in his carefully organized logical arguments but in his humorous asides.How anyone could read the paragraph spanning pages 843 and 844 without laughing out loud is beyond me.And that is in the midst of a careful report about sifting through his late father's belongings!

There's no accounting for taste, but, rather than exhausting me, this 1000-page volume has whetted my appetite, and I began reading my copy of _All My Road Before Me_, immediately after finishing this one.For those who enjoy Lewis's writing and want to understand him better, I give this book my strongest recommendation.

5-0 out of 5 stars We Don't Write Letters Anymore...
I should begin this review with an important stipulation: I haven't finished the book yet. I am slightly over halfway done -- about 600 pages into it.

That said, I think I have a pretty good grasp of the course this first volume is taking. And it's a good one. I am thoroughly enjoying this detailed romp through C.S. Lewis's early life, though I must join with a previous reviewer in saying that I do feel a bit guilty reading through his personal papers.

You have to attack this book with the right mindset. It's not a novel, an action adventure story or even a biography. It's simply the unedited, honest ramblings of a man growing up in the early 20th century.

This first volume does contain a lot of excruciating details that one might call mundane. In many of the letters, Lewis is doing nothing more than asking his father for money, describing the binding of a new book he has recently purchased or apologizing for taking so long to write.

But at the same time, the anthology is chock full of minute details that shed infinite light on what life was like at the dawn of the 20th century. The very idea that people would write so many (and so lengthy) letters at all seems foreign to us now in the age of e-mails and instant messages. Imagine growing up in a time when you were expected, not only to learn Greek and Latin, but also to speak and read it fluently. I used to think I was an intellectual for having read The Iliad and The Odyssey in their English translations. Lewis (and likely his contemporaries) seemed to scoff at anyone who would read anything other than the Greek versions. It was a different time.

The other reason this book is appealing is that it enables you to trace a seismic shift in Lewis's worldview. Smattered among the grocery lists, the book reviews and the complaints about his father are honest observations about the universe itself. These doses of philosophy come from Lewis unedited and unexpected -- a sentence or paragraph in between the requests for new socks and a comment on the weather.

By the time he entered his teenage years, Lewis was a staunch athiest. In fact, he sometimes chides his childhood compatriot Arthur Greeves for his belief in Christianity. On several occasions he mockingly calls down the anger of God upon himself and blasts Christianity in favor of the older religions, such as Greek mythology.

But slowly, we see Lewis's atheism whittled down until, by the end of Volume One, he has converted to Christianity. Being a believer myself, I am always amazed to see the contrast between a person before and after they accept Christ. This collection of Lewis's letters provide a window into the "before". Volumes Two and Three will no doubt give us the "after".

4-0 out of 5 stars Extremely interesting in parts, rather boring in others
My opinion of this book is rather similar to the previous reviewer's.This book provides an extraordinary glimpse into the pre-Christian life of the giant of the faith, C. S. Lewis.There are many, many letters which are extremely interesting, and you can see Lewis' thought developing as the years pass in the book.On the other hand, there are also many letters which have no relevance to Lewis' thought at all and are, as far as I can tell, completely useless to anyone who is not some kind of Lewis fanatic or something (who really wants to read a letter about what groceries Lewis needs that week?).Hooper could really have done a better job at choosing what to weed out, and some of the letters he chose to retain are doing nothing but taking up space in the book and frustrating readers who are looking for gems in this book.

One of the best parts of the book is that in a good portion of his letters Lewis writes about books that he is reading at the time.I loved reading about what Lewis thought of the books he was reading, and seeing the vast number of books that Lewis was reading was what inspired me to start reading the classics myself, so I owe a great debt to this book (as well as the 2nd volume, which I read at the same time).

As to the previous reviewers question about how to read through this book, I just read sraight through.It was tough, but I wanted to see Lewis' thoughts develop, which is hard to do if you take the "island hopping" approach.It may be a tough read, but it is definitely worth it.

Overall grade: A-

4-0 out of 5 stars Intermittently interesting.
I feel a bit guilty reading this book. Since I "discovered" Lewis thirty years ago in a friend's basement in Alaska, his ideas, stories, logic, and humor have more than influenced me, they have become part of the furniture of my mind. Anyone who knows Lewis well, knows how little he would have liked having his mail read by snoopy Americans. Oh, well, where he is now, they can afford to be forgiving.

This volume is put together well. Walter Hooper is both thorough and judicious in his editing; the notes he adds at the bottom of the page are often helpful. I find myself wondering how in the world he tracked down some of these sources. The book is also physically attractive, as Lewis would have appreciated.

Most of the letters in this first volume are to one of three people: Arthur Greeves, Lewis' "first friend," his father, and his brother Warren. Especially with Arthur, who seems to get the most, the topic is usually books and the ideas contained in them, romance (in the literary sense, not sex, which is treated with a detached voyerism), philosophy, art and music, natural beauty. The "real world" also intrudes (school, war, college, a job) from time to time. Not all of this is interesting to me; often he's talking about subjects I know nothing about, in a way that sheds little light on them.

But from an early age, Lewis has already become a precise and perceptive writer, with wide-ranging curiosity. So while the material is not equally interesting, and some could have been excluded -- are the sexual fantasies of two post-adolescents really our business? -- I am finding it intermittently interesting to look behind the screen, and grapple with this new motherload of unsifted Lewisiana. But I wouldn't recommend volume one to anyone who doesn't (a) have a strong interest in Lewis AND (b) love Western literature. Volume two is broader in scope and correspondents.

While volume two is easier to read right through, I'm not sure I have found the right way to do the first volume yet. Straight reading would be like hacking a road through the Peruvian jungle. I have tried the "island hopping" method of General McCarthur, and the "pick up and read" method of Augustine . . . Compared to volume 2, this one may get more shelf time. But I am glad to have it, and will leaf through it from time to time. The paperbacks and garage sale hand-me-downs on my shelf seem flattered by such gentile company; though perhaps they worry that property taxes will now go up.
... Read more


16. Simply C. S. Lewis: A Beginner's Guide to the Life and Works of C. S. Lewis
by Thomas C. Peters
Paperback: 270 Pages (1997-06-23)
list price: US$14.99 -- used & new: US$7.93
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Asin: 0891079483
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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This engaging book--the ideal prelude for anyone preparing to read one of C.S. Lewis's many volumes for the first time--offers an excellent introduction to this novelist, professor, and Christian apologist's life and works. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars This Book Is a Keeper
I have bought copies of this book for friends...for sure I'm not about to give up my early copy. Reading it is like listening in on rich conversations. To me, dipping into these familiar pages is like visiting beloved friends who are much smarter than I am. Peters draws me up to C.S.Lewis's level of thinking and reasoning for a while. A happy exercise because in the past Lewis has sometimes left me in the dust.

My only problem with the previous review: If the reviewer liked the book so much, why only four stars???

4-0 out of 5 stars I wish THIS intro to Lewis had been available 20 years ago!
"Not for Beginners Only" would be a better subtitle.My happy aquaintance with Lewis goes back many years, but I'd not thought to dig to see what other kinds of gems there were in his writings than those I'd first stumbled upon.Mine tends to be a Some-stuff-interests-me-and- other-stuff-doesn't kind of mentality.

This book impells me to a much wider appreciation for Lewis by way of the author's logic and insightful discussions.It's a pleasurable read! In the past I've been put off by the phrase "in other words..."followed, as they tend to be, by the obvious.I'm thinking, "Yeah, yeah, let's get on with it."Not so with Peters.He says, "In other words" and offers me a truly fresh, deeper insight than was at first obvious.And I'm thinking, "Oh, yeah! Of course! Why didn't I think of that?" I so appreciated Peters' well-expressed views that I found myself thoroughly savoring his marvelous intro tothe pr! evailing thoughts/ideas of the 19th century in his second chapter. ("Setting the Stage") Let's face it.Learning ought to be a joy, and Peters serves up a most palatable sociology. I came away with far more than I'd bargained for.

If you're looking for light summer reading,mindless and forgettable, a paperback you can toss without a second thought--you've got the wrong book.

If you're looking for something that catches and sticks with you, draws you into some real thought, and lifts you in the process,this is your book.

After reading Peters'"Simply C.S.Lewis: A Beginner's Guide to His Life and Works,"I see the familiar in a gratifying new light, and want to reread.And it goes without saying that now I'm eager to get to treasures of Lewis's which I've overlooked in the past. ... Read more


17. Latin Letters of C.S. Lewis
by C.S. Lewis
Hardcover: 126 Pages (1999-11-15)
list price: US$18.00 -- used & new: US$12.52
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1890318345
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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In September 1947, after reading The Screwtape Letters inItalian, Fr. Giovanni Calabria was moved to write the author, but heknew no English, so he addressed his letter in Latin. Therein began acorrespondence that was to outlive Fr. Calabria himself (he died inDecember 1954 and was succeeded in the correspondence by Fr. LuigiPedrollo).

Translator/editor Martin Moynihan calls these letters "limpid, fluentand deeply refreshing. There was a charm about them, too, and notleast in the way they were 'topped and tailed' - that is, in theirever-slightly-varied formalities of address and of farewell."

More than any other of his published works, The Latin Letters showsthe strong devotional side of Lewis, and contains letters on topicsranging from Christian unity and modern European history to liturgicalworship and general ethical behavior. Moreover, these letters areoften intimate and personal. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars A footnote
As a footnote to these reviews, I thought I should mention that a quite extraordinary fact bearing upon the historical as well as personal interest of this book is that Don Giovanni Calabria, having been beatified on 17 April 1988, was canonized by Pope John Paul II on 18 April 1999 as St. John Calabria. One can't help thinking it a pity that Lewis, on the principle that all his correspondents needed to be protected from the hounds of publicity, destroyed St. John's letters.

4-0 out of 5 stars A curiosity with plenty of good features
It is a pity that more of Lewis' correspondents did not address him in Latin, for his is really delightful, and he proves certainly as able to convey his thoughts easily and eloquently in the older language as in English.The letters of this collection really do not add up to a full book, and there is a certain amount of dead wood on both sides - but there is enough of the real Lewis in numerous comments (such as one about Ireland sectarianism for which his correspondent, Don Giovanni Calabria, felt compelled to tell him that "the Holy Spirit has dictated that sentence to you!") that we would not want to be without them.Remarkable also, and interesting, is the way in which Lewis, the holder of an Oxford triple First and one of the best-read men of his generation, addresses the only moderately well educated Father Calabria as a superior, purely because he is a priest - and not an Anglican priest either, mind you, but a Catholic.It is symptomatic of the seriousness with which he accepted the claims, not only of his religion, but of the Church.

4-0 out of 5 stars Mainly for completionists
I'm glad I bought this book.The layout and binding are attractive, and it is interesting how well the Lewis style comes across in Moynihan's translation.Nevertheless, I would rank _Latin Letters_ relatively low in importance among Lewis's books, somewhere below _Letters to an American Lady_.The letters are not terribly "meaty", and most of the substantial comments in the letters were also made by Lewis elsewhere.The book is only a little over a hundred pages, and taking into account the fact that roughly half those pages are taken up by the original Latin and that the remaining half has a generous amount of white space, there's really not a whole lot there.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Ecumenism
In this book you can find a real cuantity of ecumenism, an a exceptional exaple to our world about it. This letters between an Anglican (Lewis) and a Catholic (Fr. Calabria), are full of the real God and love.

I, extremly recomend this Book! ... Read more


18. Is Your Lord Large Enough?: How C. S. Lewis Expands Our View of God
by Peter J. Schakel
Paperback: 208 Pages (2008-01-29)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$9.74
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Asin: 0830834923
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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"Every year you grow, you will find me bigger." --Aslan to Lucy in Prince Caspian

C. S. Lewis was, of course, a brilliant apologist, and his books contain much to feed your intellect. But Lewis was also very concerned about Christian formation and strongly desired to help believers deepen their faith and broaden their vision of God.

In this book Peter Schakel opens to you the more practical parts of Lewis's wonderful writings. Covering areas of potential struggle such as prayer, suffering, doubt and love, Schakel draws principles from Lewis's nonfiction as well as illustrations from the Chronicles of Narnia to stir your imagination and soul so that you might see God in new ways. In addition, the author quotes from contemporaries of Lewis, showing how their thinking fit with Lewis's.

With reflection questions included, this deeper look at Lewis's formational writings is valuable for your personal devotions or for group discussions. Either way, as you read you will find God bigger and bigger. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars This Book Is Not Large Enough!
This work is a fine summary of the thought and theology of Lewis. The author has done a good job of encapsulating the depth and scope of the world of C. S. Lewis. Anyone who is interested in learning about Jack, or in revisiting his points of mere christianity, should read this book. It is a good reference and a good read. The author writes well and performs a first rate job of summary without losing any of the nuances of Lewis theological system.
This is a must for any Lewis collection.
Enjoy!

5-0 out of 5 stars Relevant, revealing book enlarges view of God for all
Sometimes C.S. Lewis is over my head and trying to connect all he said about subjects like grace, the church, love, prayer, suffering, doubt, and heaven requires searching through numerous works. Now Dr. Peter J. Schakel of Hope University, one of the most pre-eminent Lewis scholars, has compiled such pertinent information and explanation in Is Your Lord Large Enough? Dr. Schakel's clear and concise writing makes these subjects easy for the layman and serves as a nucleus for personal devotions and group discussions. Thought-provoking questions are at the end of chapters as well. He brings most everything back to Narnia and other works such as Till We Have Faces and the Ransom trilogy, as well as CSL's nonfiction. Helpful features include a brief biography and bibliographies of CSL books and books about him. Dr. Schakel is one of the most foremost and highly respected experts and wise scholars and he proves this once again in this welcome addition to Lewis scholarship. This book helps deepen one's faith and broaden one's vision of God drawing us ever closer to our Maker and Lord. -- Sandra Coffey, College English Instructor ... Read more


19. Yours, Jack: Spiritual Direction from C.S. Lewis
by C. S. Lewis
Hardcover: 400 Pages (2008-04-01)
list price: US$23.95 -- used & new: US$13.61
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Asin: B001OW5ONQ
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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C. S. Lewis spent a good portion of each day corresponding with people via handwritten letters. Over his lifetime he wrote thousands of letters in which he offered his friends and acquaintances advice on the Christian life, giving away a bit of himself to each of these correspondents as he signed his notes with a heartfelt and familiar, "yours, Jack." Most of these letters are currently only available in their entirety—a collection consisting of three hefty tomes. Yours, Jack features the best inspirational readings and sage counsel culled from C. S. Lewis's letters, offering an accessible look at this great author's personal vision for the spiritual life.

This thematic selection from his letters offers the freshest presentation of Lewis's writings since his death in 1963. Yours, Jack will showcase Lewis's remarkable teachings and vision for a new generation.

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Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars classic spiritual advice
This collection of replies to those in need of advice comes from a source that many will recognize as a well rounded individual. You wish you could be his friend as he deftly and kindlygives his reader a chance to stand back from their problem and view the larger, eternal picture. As many classics do, it speaks to contemporary times.

5-0 out of 5 stars spiritual direction by example
If you're a fan of C.S. Lewis you already know you want this book! :-) But when you read it, you may be surprised to find yourself learning the most simply from his example. His humility (as mentioned by a previous review), generosity, daily prayers for others, knowledge of Scripture, and growth in his own understanding come out more clearly in this book than in anything else I've read about him. His example will spur you on in your own journey.

5-0 out of 5 stars Nice introduction to the man and his mind
I feel a little silly writing a review after reading the others already given as they present the heart and value of the book so well, but even so I thought that I could just add my little voice. This is the best new book of collected Lewis anything to come out in a long while. In addition to what others have noted, I have found these letters to be useful notonly because they are headed by short synopses, but because the majority of them are actually less than two pages long. I am not sure if it was meant to function as a devotional per se, but that is how it has worked for myself. Tons of wisdom, wit, humility and logic at the service of our Lord through his instrument Mr. Jack Lewis. It is rather stunning to read him in letter format; he doesn't shake at all. Those who knew him often remarked that he spoke like he wrote- clear, logical, complex but to the point, and always at the service of the Faith once delivered.

If you have any interest in the logic of Christianity, spiritual nourishment or Lewisian studies, this is a' must buy' for sure.

See also Jack: A Life of C. S. Lewis for a sympathetic and moving account of his life.

Enjoy!

5-0 out of 5 stars Precious Nuggets
I first saw Yours, Jack at the library and soon knew I wanted my own copy so I could mark some of the precious nuggets.I especially enjoyed the single entry for 1938, which closed with, "So few of us will really rest all on Him if He leaves us any other support."The context of this quote is amazingly relevant to the worries we have these days--terrorism and other scary stuff! It was also interesting to see Lewis' fear of poverty.And, altho he often ends letters with "You are in my prayers," one time he closed with "You are in my prayers, such as they are." and I loved that touch of humility!

5-0 out of 5 stars Spiritual Direction from C.S. Lewis
There are three major volumes of C.S. Lewis' letters now available. Virtually every surviving letter from Lewis is now contained in these three massive books.

If you are like me, you wonder how to sort through so many letters in order to find the advice from Lewis that has spiritual value. There's no reason to wonder anymore. Yours, Jack: Spiritual Direction from C.S. Lewis
is a collection of the best of Lewis' letters from all three collections. In this volume, one finds the letters containing "spiritual direction" from Lewis.

I thoroughly enjoyed Yours, Jack. The editors did a good job of selecting which letters to include in this collection. And they helpfully include a summary of each and an index that makes the letters more accessible to readers looking up a certain topic.

There are some gems here. Let me give you a few worthwhile quotes:

"The trouble about God is that he is like a person who never acknowledge's one's letters and so, in time, one comes to the conclusion either that he does not exist or that you have got the address wrong." (1921)

"One needs the sweetness to start one on the spiritual life but, once started, one must learn to obey God for his own sake, not for the pleasure." (1931)

"(Sensual love) ceases to be a devil when it ceases to be a god. So many things - nay every real thing - is good if only it will be humble and ordinate." (1940)

"I know all about the despair of overcoming chronic temptations. It is not serious provided self-offended petulance, annoyance at breaking records, impatience et cetera doesn't get the upper hand. No amount of falls will really undo us if we keep on picking ourselves up each time. We shall of course be very muddy and tattered children by the time we reach home. But the bathrooms are all ready, the towels put out, and the clean clothes are in the airing cupboard. The only fatal thing is to lose one's temper and give it up. It is when we notice the dirt that God is most present to us: it is the very sign of his presence." (1942)

"The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one's `own', or `real' life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one's real life - the life God is sending one day by day: what one calls one's `real life' is a phantom of one's own imagination." (1943)

"The doctrine of Christ's divinity seems to me not something stuck on which you can unstick but something that peeps out at every point so that you'd have to unravel the whole web to get rid of it." (1944)

"When first things are put first, second things are not suppressed but increased." (1952)

"You ask `for what' God wants you. Isn't the primary answer that he wants you?" (1954)

"The wrath of God: 'something in God of which the best image in the created world is righteous indignation.'I think it quite a mistake to try to soften the idea of anger by substituting something like disapproval or regret. Even with men real anger is far more likely than cold disapproval to lead to full reconciliation. Hot love, hot wrath...." (1963)

These are just a few of my favorite quotes from C.S. Lewis' letters. Yours, Jack offers an inside look into Lewis' correspondence. Readers will benefit from the counsel found in these pages.

... Read more


20. The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume 2
by C. S. Lewis
Hardcover: 1152 Pages (2004-07-01)
list price: US$34.95 -- used & new: US$18.66
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060727640
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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The second of a three volume collection of the letters of C. S. Lewis, this volume contains many letters to prominent thinkers and writers, including J.R.R. Tolkien and Dorothy L. Sayers. The theology and ideas revealed in these letters provide insight into one of the greatest imaginations of our day. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars The New Lewis
My impressions upon completing Volume 2 of Lewis's Collected Letters:

(1)Regardless of your opinion of Christianity, it would be hard to deny that the contrast between the pre-conversion Lewis of Volume 1 and the post-conversion Lewis of Volume 2 is pretty remarkable.

(2)One thing remarkable about the Lewis of Volume 2 is his ability to speak the truth in love.I hope that when I need to criticize I do it as kindly as Lewis does.

(3)Whatever type of love Lewis felt for Mrs. Moore in earlier days, it seems pretty clear that in Volume 2 it is charity (and living up to a commitment).

(4)Fans of Lewis naturally gravitate to the writings of the other Inklings, thinking perhaps that they're in for more of the same, but Volume 2 shows how different the Inklings really were from one another, and that they were often bound together more by friendship than a common worldview.

(5)The sense of impending doom at the start of WWII when Warnie is still in the army is overwhelming.

(6)The part of Volume 2 after WWII is dominated by Lewis's thank-you notes to Americans who sent him packages of food, paper, etc.The insight into "Austerity Britain" is useful, but these notes get a bit tiresome after a while.

(7)Hooper-haters really need to cut him some slack.This book (at least, my British edition) is physically beautiful, and Hooper has (in my opinion) done a great job with the contents.His annotations are exactly what's needed to put the letters in context--no more, no less.(Compare his restraint to the out-of-control annotators of the new Norton editions.)

(8)It takes a very good book *about* Lewis to come close to matching the quality of Lewis's own writings, even those not intended for publication.I look forward to starting Volume 3 this evening!

5-0 out of 5 stars deep, fun, wise
This is the most fascinating collection of letters I've ever read: Lewis was not only a genius, but a wise and compassionate man as well.The other reviewers here go into more detail, but I did want to mention this: what struck me most was how creatively and wisely Lewis dealt with his own difficulties in life,his own sadness, his suffering.His deep and active faith helped him to see beyond himself; his kindness kept him caring for others; his lack of self-pity is a wonderful example.He enjoys life both in the many good times, and in the midst of hard times.These letters are not only fun and informative: they are inspiring as well.

5-0 out of 5 stars Essential for devoted Lewis fans
This is a review of The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume II: Books, Broadcasts, and the War, 1931 - 1939.ISBN 0060727640; HarperCollins, 2004.

Walter Hooper, in the preface to this volume, mentions that Owen Barfield divided Lewis into three different men: the popular theologian, the literary critic, and the writer of popular fiction.Being a fan of Lewis the literary critic doesn't mean you know Lewis the popular theologian exists, and being a fan of Lewis the writer of popular fiction doesn't necessarily mean you like Lewis the literary critic.But fans of all three Lewises owe Walter Hooper a great debt of thanks for editing three thousand-page volumes of the man's letters.

In the first volume, Lewis's correspondence was divided between his father, his brother, and his "First Friend" Arthur Greeves; with a few letters to people such as Cecil Harwood, Owen Barfield, and Leo Baker thrown in for good measure.Here, he writes to many, many people, and is much more interesting: former pupils (Dom Bede Griffiths, Mary Neylan), Sister Penelope, Dorothy Sayers, Americans . . .The years covered by this volume (1931 - 1949) cover some of Lewis's best work: The Screwtape Letters, Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, That Hideous Strenght, The Problem of Pain, Miracles, and his talks for the BBC that eventually became Mere Christianity. (This period also included more scholarly work such as his Preface to Paradise Lost and The Abolition of Man; also his editing of the Essays Presented to Charles Williams.)He talks about the etymology of Old Solar, the proper pronunciation of double vowels in Old English (palely v. paley), and how to properly read Milton, among other things.

What I found interesting (and rather disappointing) is that Lewis doesn't talk very much about some of his books in his letters.For instance, there's more about the Screwtape Letters in his preface than in his letters.I have to occasionally remind myself that the Lewis writing letters in 1945 was the Lewis who was writing That Hideous Strength at the same time.But there's nothing better than reading a brilliant man talk about books you've both read; and so I enjoyed Lewis's offhand comments on Macdonald, Trollope, and others.Lewis on Cervantes: "I tried to read Don Quixote and failed: it seems to me a wretched affair.I suppose I must be wrong" (page 250).

Though it's true that Volume II is more interesting than Volume I, readers of the first volume already know what a Pigiebotie is, the significance of a P'daytism, and who the Witch of Endor was.I wasn't sorry I read the first volume before the second.

Those who want an introduction to Lewis should try Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, or even the Narnia books; the Letters would probably be too much.But those who already know and love Lewis should buy Volumes I and II of the Letters now, and Volume III when it comes out in October.

5-0 out of 5 stars A look into the life of a giant of the faith
This second volume of C.S. Lewis' letters was, I though, much better than the first.It is amazing to be able to read what c.S. Lewis was doing and what he was thinking.Reading these books of letters has gives me an entirely new perspective of C.S. Lewis.One thing that constantly amazed me was all of the books he read.It seemed that in every letter he was describing which books he had read since the last letter, and it inspired me to begin reading more regularly.

Also, and more importantly, in the latter part of this book C.S. Lewis begins answering fan mail, and in these he talks a lot about theology.These letters are especially interesting and worthwhile to read.In this volume one can also find a letter in which Lewis clearly states his inclusivistic beliefs (I don't remember which one off hand, but it was towards the beginning somwhere).

If you enjoy reading C.S. Lewis material, or if you want to see into the life of a giant of the Christian faith, this is an amazing opportunity for you.

5-0 out of 5 stars A rich mine of assorted treasures.
The second volume of letters from C.S. Lewis is more varied and consistently interesting than the first, I think.For one thing, Lewis is writing to a wider group of people.While in the first volume most letters are addressed to father, brother, or friend Arthur Reeves, now he is ensconced in Oxford, mildly famous and cursed with more correspondents than he wishes (though he is always polite, and usually thoughtful).His father has passed away, his brother does some ghost-lettering, and Arthur still gets a few epistles.But this volume also contains leaves to Dorothy Sayers (an excellent match), Owen Barfield, Charles Williams, John Betjeman, poet and painter Ruth Ritter, the Catholic student of Hinduism, Dom Bede Griffiths (whom he warns, "I now believe that refined, philosophical eastern Pantheism is far further from the true Faith than the semi barbarous pagan religions"), and a few short letters to T. S. Elliot, interesting for their terseness and studied politeness.(Besides not liking his poetry, Lewis was mad at Elliot for not contributing to a book for the widow of Charles Williams.)Possibly the most common topic of discussion is literature, much of it by one or the other correspondant.But lots more gets touched on.

Some letters are also written to help people with spiritual questions, "plot good" of some sort, or pray with people like his Italian priest friend, with whom he corresponded in Latin.(Given here in English and Latin.)You can also find many interesting observations on a variety of topics sprinkled about.("Poetry I take to be the continual effort to bring language back to the actual.")

But the adjective that may best describe Lewis in many of these letters is "fun-loving."To Barfield: "Did I ever mention that Weston, Divine, Frost, Wither, Curry and Miss Hardcastle" (the villains in That Hideous Strength) were all portraits of you?"To Sayers: "Mr. Bultitude (the lazy bear in the same book)is described by Tolkien as a portrait of the author, but I feel that is too high a compliment."I especially enjoyed the faux quarrel between Lewis, pretending to be the middleman for a medieval prince who seduced his king's wife (one letter goes out in Old English), and Barfield, representing himself as agent of the king, demanding reparation.Lewis understood that a person makes a bad bargain in growing up if he forgets along the way how to play.

Lewis' letters to Laurence Harwood, his godson, mark a change of style: now he writes with Narnian simplicity, not "talking down" to children but talking about things both still find interesting. (And I did, too.)"Yesterday the man who lives next door to us came into our garden when we weren't looking and cut down one of our trees . . . He is an old man with a white beard who eats nothing but raw vegetables.He keeps goats who also have white beards and eat nothing but raw vegetables.If I knew magic I should like to turn him into a goat himself; it wouldn't be so very wicked because he is so like a goat already!"

Much less interesting are the many "thank you" notes Lewis sends to Americans for "CARE" packages.Some of these are repetitious; Lewis seems uncomfortable, experimenting with new ways of saying "thank you."Later some of these correspondences develop into something more interesting.But since Hooper or Harper cut some, this would have been a good place to chop more more deeply.The best stuff needs to be quarried a bit.But like gemstones in a bedrock of fine granite, most of the other material is moderately interesting, though some is merely utilitarian.

Walter Hooper has done a phenomenal job with this series and this book in particular.His notes are useful and often enlightening -- especially when he explains what Lewis' correspondent said, as he often does.At the end of the book he gives graceful biographical sketches of about three dozen people who corresponded with Lewis.(Very interesting people.) He has done a first-rate job with these first two volumes, and I'm looking forward to seeing the third.

author, Jesus and the Religions of Man
... Read more


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