The Dancing Puritan

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

C.S. Lewis: A Life

Yesterday I opened the mail and beneath the brown cardboard I found a new biography of C.S. Lewis.  The book, including notes, is 431 pages. So far, I would say, I anticipate 431 pages of sheer pleasure.  I knew there was a danger when I opened the box that I would be tempted to put down other books and focus on this one--well, I gave in to the temptation.

This is a book written by someone who discovered Lewis through his writings, for others who have come to know Lewis in the same way.  The Lewis I have come to know is mediated through his words, not through any personal acquaintance.  Where other biographers refer to Lewis as 'Jack' in their works, I have felt it right to call him 'Lewis' throughout, mainly to emphasise my personal and critical distance from him.  I believe that this is the Lewis whom he himself would wish future generations to know. Alister McGrath.

I am early into the book but thus far have not found a boring page.  Often times when reading a biography I tend to want the writer to get to the point in the person's live that I am most interested in.  For example, I am most interested in the Oxford/Cambridge days of Lewis and am less interested in his early life. However, I have found that McGrath has drawn me into the early Lewis.  He has taken me to a home filled with books that consumed the time of the young Lewis and has connected events in the early life of Lewis to examples from his books.

Perhaps I will have more to say about this work later.  I have to put it down now because I have mounds of work to do before I sleep.