Monday, September 28, 2009

Blessed Clives Staples Lewis (1898-1963)

Clive Staples Lewis, commonly referred to as C. S. Lewis and known to his friends and family as "Jack", was an Irish-born British novelist, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian and Christian apologist. His writings are well-known, especially The Screwtape Letters, The Chronicles of Narnia and The Space Trilogy.
Lewis was a close friend of J. R. R. Tolkien, the author of
The Lord of the Rings. Lewis was a leading figure in the English faculty at Oxford University and was part of the informal Oxford literary group known as the "Inklings". Lewis was baptised in the Church of Ireland at birth, but fell away from his faith during his adolescence. The influence of Tolkien and other friends led Lewis, at about the age of 30, to return to Christianity, becoming "a very ordinary layman of the Church of England". His conversion had a profound effect on his work, and his wartime radio broadcasts on the subject of Christianity brought him wide acclaim.

In 1956, he married the American writer Joy Gresham, who was 17 years younger. Literally the "joy" and love of Lewis' life, she died four years later of cancer at the age of 45. Lewis himself died three years after that, following a heart attack, one week before what would have been his 65th birthday. Reports of his death were overshadowed by the assassination that same day, November 22, of U.S. President John F. Kennedy. It was also the same day on which Aldous Huxley died.

Lewis's works have been translated into more than 30 languages and have sold millions of copies over the years. The books that make up The Chronicles of Narnia have sold the most and have been popularised on stage, in TV, in radio, and in movies.

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