Author Profile: C.S. Lewis

Clive Staples Lewis (commonly known as “Jack” by family and close friends) was born in 1898 in Belfast, Ireland. At a very young age, he was raised in a Christian home and was baptized at a young age (in 1899) by the Church of Ireland. His faith would go on to influence his later works in a drastic fashion.

From a very young age, Lewis loved reading. I do him injustice to say that he loved reading: he loved reading like you might love the ability to walk, talk, or breathe. He could be nominated the patron saint of bookworms. He devoured books like he was always hungry for them. Indeed, one might say that he was.

Among the books that Lewis loved (there were a lot of them), he loved the works of English writer Beatrix Potter. He delighted in the tales of animals who were more like humans (anthropomorphisms…mouthful, I know). This would also influence his work a great deal, especially his Narnia.

In 1908, Lewis’ mother died from cancer, and Lewis’ life was then put in the hands of his stern father, who was a former lawyer. Lewis’ father eventually sent him to England to get schooling, but Lewis was transferred to another school because of mounting respiratory problems.

Lewis would not be kept away from schooling, however, and in 1913 his father sent him to Malvern College. There Lewis discovered another great love of his life: mythologies. Particularly Norse mythology. He moved away from fantasizing about talking animals (for the present; he would return eventually) and started to experiment with things like epic poems and the opera.

When Lewis came to England, he was shaken. For the small-town Irish lad, the big cities of England were quite a shock to the system. Lewis enjoyed peace and quiet of a room for reading far more than he liked the bustle and rush of the big city. It took him a while to get used to all of it.

By 1925, Lewis had degrees in many areas. He was a First in Latin and Greek literature, Philosophy and Ancient History, and English. He became a tutor in English literature for Magdalen College in that year.

Lewis had his struggles with Christianity ever since his mother died; at 15, he had become an atheist and left the faith. However, after his tour in the army and his friendship of a bright young scholar named J.R.R. Tolkien, he was convinced to return to Christianity after a brief flirt with theism.

When WWII broke out, Lewis promptly offered to re-join the English army, given his past experience in the military. Although he was 40 years old at the time, the army rejected his offer. He then took to evacuating citizens in an effort to help in the war where he had been denied.

It was at this time when Lewis began what would be later known as Mere Christianity. To encourage soldiers and civilians alike, he would discuss the existence of God and the meaning of life over the radio as part of a BBC broadcast. Later he would take these chats and make them into a book. Many people were comforted by Lewis’ musings. This was part of his rise to popularity.

Lewis married (and this is a story of itself, one that I encourage you to research further. Some of it is detailed in Lewis’ book A Grief Observed) Joy Gresham in 1956. Joy was diagnosed with cancer in 1957, but went into remission for a few years. It didn’t last long, and Joy died in 1960. Lewis’ book lamenting her death, A Grief Observed was, in fact, published under a pseudonym so that no one would think it was him.

Lewis wrote many books during his time. Many people view Lewis as being primarily a writer of fiction or a writer of philosophical theology, when he was a pleasing mix of the two. His fiction was well-thought out and deep, exploring philosophical ideas. His nonfiction had all the reading entertainment of an action novel (okay, not quite…but pretty close!).

Among his works were, of course, the cult classic Narnia series, the lesser well-know but still popular Space Trilogy, The Pilgrim’s Regress and Till We Have Faces, the latter of which C.S. Lewis regarded as his masterpiece. In addition, he wrote many works of nonfiction that mused about theology and the higher meaning of life.

Lewis remains a great favorite of mine. If you haven’t read his stuff, you haven’t lived. I’m not talking just Narnia, either: read all the Lewis you can get your hands on, fiction or nonfiction. Seriously, you won’t regret it.

Good luck, and happy writing!

Be sure to check out my latest novel, Book 1 in the Praetors of Lost Magic Series, and our Publications page. Until then, writers!


Published by Van Ghalta

A cold, dark, mysterious character who purposefully wrote a story so that he could fit into it...A story where he himself WRITES stories, practices martial arts, blogs, plays airsoft, collects MTG trading cards, plays outdated video games, and writes weird, third-person bios for himself...

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