There are many biographies of C.S. Lewis out there and more have been released recently. I can’t speak for all of them, but this one is certainly one worth reading. A Life Observed: A Spiritual Biography of C.S. Lewis is not your ordinary biography. Devin Brown has set out to paint a picture of C.S. Lewis’s spiritual life. He admits that he is not setting out to write a lengthy and definitive biography of C.S. Lewis. Instead Brown writes that his goal is, “to focus closely on the story of Lewis’s spiritual journey and his search for the object of the mysterious longing he called Joy.” Continue reading
Originally published on Englewood Review of Books.
Review of The Lion’s World: A Journey Into the Heart of Narnia by Rowan Williams
Recently, while discussing the role of fictional stories in spiritual formation with my students, I found myself returning to the works of C.S. Lewis as an example. While I did not discuss The Chronicles of Narnia, I can undeniably say that the fictional works of Lewis have shaped me spiritually. From a young age, I have read and reread the Narnian stories. They have become a part of my spiritual formation and of many others as well. Lewis has had this effect on Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury, as well. He also confesses to repeatedly reading and studying the Lewis’ works and writes of Lewis, “He is someone that you do not quickly come to the end of – as a complex personality and as a writer and thinker” (xi). In The Lion’s World, Williams explores this complexity of Lewis in conjunction with the depth of the Land of Narnia that Lewis created. He doesn’t set out to “decode images or to uncover a system;” instead he aims “to show how certain central themes hang together – a concern to do justice to the difference of God, the disturbing and exhilarating otherness of what we encounter in the life of faith” (6). Continue reading
Both J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis were godly men and their writing was informed by their faith. Although not always evident to everyone or plain in all of their stories, they crafted their characters and worlds to reveal the virtues of the Christian life. It is more obvious in the work of Lewis, whose fiction works clearly represent Biblical stories and virtues. Tolkien’s work is more often praised for the depth of the fantasy world that he created. Unfortunately, many have chosen to obsess over the characters and the world itself and not examine the virtue, or lack thereof, built into his characters. In his book On the Shoulders of Hobbits, Louis Markos examines the virtues behind the stories and characters. He shows how the faith of Tolkien and Lewis undergird the stories of Middle-Earth and Narnia. Continue reading