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The life and mind of C. S. Lewis have fascinated those who have read his works. This collection of his personal letters reveals a unique intellectual journey. The first of a three-volume collection, this volume contains letters from Lewis's boyhood, his army days in World War I, and his early academic life at Oxford. Here we encounter the creative, imaginative seeds that gThe life and mind of C. S. Lewis have fascinated those who have read his works. This collection of his personal letters reveals a unique intellectual journey. The first of a three-volume collection, this volume contains letters from Lewis's boyhood, his army days in World War I, and his early academic life at Oxford. Here we encounter the creative, imaginative seeds that gave birth to some of his most famous works.At age sixteen, Lewis begins writing to Arthur Greeves, a boy his age in Belfast who later becomes one of his most treasured friends. Their correspondence would continue over the next fifty years. In his letters to Arthur, Lewis admits that he has abandoned the Christian faith. "I believe in no religion," he says. "There is absolutely no proof for any of them."Shortly after arriving at Oxford, Lewis is called away to war. Quickly wounded, he returns to Oxford, writing home to describe his thoughts and feelings about the horrors of war as well as the early joys of publication and academic success.In 1929 Lewis writes to Arthur of a friend ship that was to greatly influence his life and writing. "I was up till 2:30 on Monday talking to the Anglo-Saxon professor Tolkien who came back with me to College ... and sat discoursing of the gods and giants & Asgard for three hours ..." Gradually, as Lewis spends time with Tolkien and other friends, he admits in his letters to a change of view on religion. In 1930 he writes, "Whereas once I would have said, 'Shall I adopt Christianity', I now wait to see whether it will adopt me ..."The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis, Volume I offers an inside perspective to Lewis's thinking during his formative years. Walter Hooper's insightful notes and biographical appendix of all the correspondents make this an irreplaceable reference for those curious about the life and work of one of the most creative minds of the modern era.C. S. Lewis was a prolific letter writer, and his personal correspondence reveals much of his private life, reflections, friendships, and the progress of his thought. This second of a three-volume collection contains the letters Lewis wrote after his conversion to Christianity, as he began a lifetime of serious writing. Lewis corresponded with many of the twentieth century's major literary figures, including J. R. R. Tolkien and Dorothy Sayers. Here we encounter a surge of letters in response to a new audience of laypeople who wrote to him after the great success of his BBC radio broadcasts during World War II -- talks that would ultimately become his masterwork, Mere Christianity.Volume II begins with C. S. Lewis writing his first major work of literary history, The Allegory of Love, which established him as a scholar with imaginative power. These letters trace his creative journey and recount his new circle of friends, "The Inklings," who meet regularly to share their writing. Tolkien reads aloud chapters of his unfinished The Lord of the Rings, while Lewis shares portions of his first novel, Out of the Silent Planet. Lewis's weekly letters to his brother, Warnie, away serving in the army during World War II, lead him to begin writing his first spiritual work, The Problem of Pain.After the serialization of The Screwtape Letters, the director of religious broadcasting at the BBC approached Lewis and the "Mere Christianity" talks were born. With his new broadcasting career, Lewis was inundated with letters from all over the world. His faithful, thoughtful responses to numerous questions reveal the clarity and wisdom of his theological and intellectual beliefs.Volume II includes Lewis's correspondence with great writers such as Owen Barfield, Arthur C. Clarke, Sheldon Vanauken, and Dom Bede Griffiths. The letters address many of Lewis's interests -- theology, literary criticism, poetry, fantasy, and children's stories -- as well as reveal his relation ships with close friends and family. But what is apparent throughout this volume is how this quiet bachelor professor in England touched the lives of many through an amazing discipline of personal correspondence. Walter Hooper's insightful notes and compre hensive biographical appendix of the correspon dents make this an irreplaceable reference for those curious about the life and work of one of the most creative minds of the modern era....

Title : Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis - Box Set
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ISBN : 9780060882280
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 2224 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis - Box Set Reviews

  • Kara
    2019-05-12 21:52

    I suspect that this wouldn't be enjoyable to anyone who isn't a "hardcore" C.S. Lewis fan. It would likely seem quite dry and uninteresting. However, I enjoyed it IMMENSELY. I find Lewis's style of writing so wonderful. I like that these selections covered basically his whole life - the first half were from before his conversion to Christianity, the latter from after. (He became a Christian around age 30, I think.) The content of the letters does change topically with this transition, but I enjoyed ALL of them.

  • Christopher Hansen
    2019-04-26 04:49

    I've had this book on my bookshelf for ages. Someday I'll get to it. Maybe. So many good books.

  • Nathan
    2019-05-19 23:40

    This book certainly has a particular audience. For the casual Lewis reader, it's better to read works Lewis published during his lifetime. This collection of letters, at over 500 pages, will only feel like walking through high weeds. But for the avid Lewis reader, this work provides rich insight into the man himself in a way that even the best biographies cannot touch.These are collected letters Lewis wrote to family, friends, teachers, and students spanning from 1916 (at just 17 years old) to 1963, just weeks before his death. The letters are edited and arranged chronologically, which gives a sense of Lewis' development in thought, perspective, and character over his life. Unlike a biography, we see from the inside what Lewis liked (and disliked), pondered, and loved. The answers are unsurprising to one who knows Lewis well: books (so many books), a select circle of people, and eventually God.Most will recognize Lewis clearest in the second half of the book, after he'd become a Christian. During the tipping span in February 1930, he writes: "Terrible things are happening to me. The 'Spirit' or 'Real I' is showing an alarming tendency to become much more personal and is taking the offensive, and behaving just like God. You'd better come on Monday at the latest or I may have entered a monastery." As he deepens in faith, Lewis becomes a treasury of humble wisdom, and his shift in character is subtle but tangible. "The great thing," he writes in March, 1951, "is to stop thinking about happiness. Indeed the best thing about happiness itself is that it liberates you from thinking about happiness." Sounds like the Lewis I know and love.The first half of the book, while less engaging, still contains insight into Lewis' background. Some letters are almost comical, given the path Lewis eventually walked. In February 1919, he writes to his father about being elected Secretary of his college literary club. He talks about recording the club minutes, adding, "so if I am forgotten as all else, at least a specimen of my handwriting will be preserved to posterity." Just a specimen. Oh the irony.Jewels of his daily life are tucked everywhere. My particular favorite is Lewis' letter to his brother in April 1940 in which he talks extensively about how he accidentally went out with mismatched shoes and what he tried to do about it. In January 1950, he discusses a collaborative book he planned to write with Professor Tolkien, though it never materialized. What might have been.His literary preferences, his religious conversion, his time with the Inklings, the birth of Narnia, the death of his wife Joy to cancer -- his life is all here. And while you can pull individual letters to read as a picture of his thoughts, the whole collection gives the picture of the man.My only complaint is that the Index at the back of authors, topics, and people referenced within the letters is largely unhelpful. It's too bare to be of much use. An expanded and more specific index of subjects like Lewis' references to Christ's resurrection or his thoughts on political engagement would help connect the dots on Lewis' particular views.As it is, the book is great for its audience. Lewis is poignant to the end, writing to fellow writer Jane Douglass in late September, just 22 days before his death: "Autumn really is the best of the seasons: and I'm not sure that old age isn't the best part of life. But of course, like Autumn, it doesn't last." His personal letters, however, have lasted. And I'm so glad.

  • Matt
    2019-05-16 20:57

    Just a bunch of random letters, with no thread tying them together. Lewis is a genius, so his writing is always valuable to read.

  • John
    2019-04-21 03:36

    Outside of letters from family and friends, I can't think of anyone whose letters I'd rather read.It's remarkable how well C.S. Lewis wrote, even when he thought he was writing to an audience of one, even when painstakingly corresponding with people he'd never met, who only knew him through his books.This book is a selection of letters beginning when Lewis was a very young man until just weeks before his death. (He died on the same day as President John F. Kennedy and Aldous Huxley.)The letters written after his conversion to Christianity are more interesting, but it's all good stuff. In particular, the letters the young Lewis wrote to his brother chronicling his walking tours comprise some of the best travel writing I've read.From somewhat later in his life, one of my favorite letters, although it's atypical, shows Lewis in a curmudgeonly, pessimistic mood, almost as if channeling his own character, Puddleglum. The letter, written to his friend Owen Barfield, includes these phrases:"No doubt I shall be defeated in the controversy.""Bring it along by all means, but don't pitch your hopes too high. We are both getting so rusty that we shall make very little of it ...""Those maps are so unreliable by now that it is rather a farce.""Of course hardly any districts in England are unspoiled enough to make walking worthwhile.""I have very little doubt it will be a ghastly failure.""I haven't seen C.W.'s play; it is not like to be at all good.""... whichever you choose something will doubtless prevent it. I hear the income-tax is going up again. The weather is bad and looks like getting worse."And toward the end of all that, he slips this in:"Nearly everyone has been ill here: I try to prevent them all croaking and grumbling but it is hard being the only optimist."I suspect all of that was written with tongue in cheek.Here's one more excerpt, in a 1954 letter to a Mrs. Vera Gebbert:"Would you believe it: an American school girl has been expelled from her school for having in her possession a copy of my Screwtape. I asked my informant whether it was a Communist school, or a Fundamentalist school, or an RC school, and got the shattering answer, 'No, it was a select school.' That puts a chap in his place, doesn't it?""

  • Diana Maryon
    2019-04-22 03:36

    I have had this original hardback edition since it was new. My copy is considerably battered with use. As I wrote to my parents in the early 1970s, "We got the Letters of C.S. Lewis some time back, and agree that it’s v. remarkable. Supplements Surprised by Joy, which really stops too long ago. Our only peeve is that Major Lewis, obviously knowing no Greek, did not resort to someone who did." (Quoted in my recently-published spiritual autobiography O Love How Deep.) Much new Lewis material, epistolary and not, has been unearthed and reproduced since, but the freshness of 'Warnie's' Introduction remains unsurpassed. It explained certain features of my three letters from Lewis which are still in my possession, two of them handwritten and from Magdalene College, Cambridge, one typewritten by Major Lewis and sent from The Kilns. I was an undergraduate reading the Classical Tripos at the time, and was charged with inviting him to give a paper in College and in due course entertained him to dinner.

  • John Stevens
    2019-04-29 01:34

    While perusing the $1 book sale table I came across the wonderful book.I find that reading biographies and autobiographies on one individual is the best way to try and understand their true views and behavior.Nothing can get you deeper into the mind than personal letters, sent and received. In this terrific collection of letters you will see his evolution as a man and an author.Read about his encounter with J.R.R. Tolkien. Lewis' impression and thoughts about that relationship. I understand that Lewis was agnostic until he met Tolkien. Through that relationship Lewis became one of the most read authors of Christian works. He even worked on books within the Bible.Every once in a while I'd pick up that book and read one set of letters between Lewis and his dearest friend.Enjoy

  • Mo
    2019-05-10 22:35

    I have read this classic telescopic view into the inner life of C.S. Lewis. In this compilation, put together by Lewis' brother and life-long friend Warnie, after 'Jack's' death, we have the opportunity to read letters that flew back and forth between Lewis and such literary giants as J.R.R. Tolkien. I thoroughly enjoyed this read, being a prolific letter writer myself back when snail mail was in vogue; and have kept it on my favorites book shelf to refer back to time and time again. This is a gem for anyone who enjoyed C.S.Lewis' books or great literature, period.

  • Heather
    2019-05-06 00:59

    I'm in the first volume which are letters C.S. Lewis wrote while growing up. I find myself envious of Lewis' classic education and wishing I would have had the opportunity to read and discuss the classics in a formal setting at a young age. Lewis' wit, charm, and reasoning are definitely in evidence even as a boy and it's been fun "to watch" him grow through reading his letters home to his father and friends while away at boarding school.

  • Mike E.
    2019-05-12 22:40

    "When I have learned to love God better than my earthly dearest, I still love my earthly dearest better than I do now. Insofar as I learn to love my earthly dearest at the expense of God and instead of God, I shall not love my earthly dearest at all. When first things are put first, second things are not suppressed but increased." (November 8, 1952)

  • Amanda
    2019-04-28 21:36

    I think it is amazing to be able to see the clear progression of his spirituality and intellectualism, and also to just ponder how amazingly dreadful our educational system has become! Anyway, it gives me a lot to think about.

  • Luke Langley
    2019-05-02 20:47

    A short collection of letters ranging in topics from the place of hymns in Church, to prayer, or criticisms of atheism, Anglican canonization, and prayers for the dead. While not amazingly inspiring they do give a view into the mind and faith life of a Christian literary master.

  • Juliene
    2019-04-24 01:51

    I feel like I know C.S. Lewis after reading this. VERY compelling. Kept me company in a dark time in my life. A dark cold winter time.

  • Michael
    2019-05-09 23:48

    As edifying and educational as it was beautiful.

  • Gwydion
    2019-05-17 04:47

    Essential for any Lewis fan; it gives some insight into his everyday life and a window onto his relationship with his many correspondents.

  • Cris
    2019-05-16 21:51

    A great read particularly if you enjoy Lewis' other works

  • Julia Goff
    2019-04-22 01:42

    I love C.S. Lewis, and I love letters, so I am most anxious to read this set.

  • Douglas Wilson
    2019-05-14 03:00


  • Josh
    2019-05-10 22:40

    And wonderful window into the personal world of CS Lewis.

  • Shauna
    2019-05-01 03:41

    This is a really interesting book. It was easy to read as it is only letters, but it gives you a kind of insight to who CS Lewis really was. I enjoyed it a lot.