Lewis and Theology: A New Beginning.

 This week I am going to focus a bit on Lewis’ writing trajectory from epic prose to theology. The Second World War was a critical point in time in his life, and in many ways kick started his career as the author we now know him as.

Part 2.

     Three years after Spirits in Bondage, Lewis tried his hand at publishing again, but this time sticking strictly within the confines of academic work. The Allegory of Love confirmed Lewis’ insight as an intellectual figure, as well as earned him plenty of critical acclaim. One critic, G.L Brooks, stated that The Allegory was “undoubtedly one of the best books on mediaeval literature ever published in this country, and every page revealed in the author an unusual degree of scholarship and critical insight.”It seemed assured that Lewis’ destiny lay strictly in academic publishing. However, it was also around this time that Lewis began to distinguish himself from his peers with his unique literary voice.  Unlike most of his colleagues, Lewis demonstrated a willingness to oppose the popular trends taking root in the academy during the interwar years. In his 1936 observations of the Oxford Don’s work, William Empson noted an adherence to traditionalism in Lewis’ critical evaluation and observed his general resistance to the trends of progressivism. While The Allegory of Love proved that Lewis possessed a prodigious literary skill set, it also suggested that he might be capable of producing a work that would set him aside from the other scholars and critics of the mid-twentieth century. Though Lewis had failed in the category of prose fiction, he was astoundingly successful with his academic publications. The Allegory of Love had at least proven one thing: given the right circumstances, Lewis was capable of producing a masterpiece.

        The 1940 publication of The Problem of Pain marked a turning point in Lewis’ career as it signalled a change in his approach to bridging the gap between his academic work and the common market. England’s 1939 declaration of war against Germany had plunged the continent back into another conflict, and people were struggling to find meaning in the face of even more senseless slaughter.  Lewis was commissioned to write a theological response to the war. He was given the mandate that his work address the spiritual and moral needs of the average layman. Accepting the challenge, Lewis abandoned the stuffy liturgical approach to theological writing and instead opted for a blend of casual vernacular mixed with highly imaginative illustrations to convey his points.  Lewis chose to engage his audience by embracing a more progressive and informal style of writing while also adapting it to preserve his conservative viewpoints. What Lewis could not have anticipated, however, was the impact that The Problem of Pain would have on his life.

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In Narnia time I would have left this blog for like a minute….tops…….

Well friends, welcome back! It has been a while since I last wiped the dust off the idea of this blog series. Between studies, life, studies, near death experiences and more studies – I found myself a little preoccupied these last couple months. However, copious amounts of time not being able to walk means that I have been a rather productive reader of late. A broken knee will do that to a man. Though having free time has had some other unintentional benefits, like getting to catch up with friends. It was through some of these conversations that I began getting requests from fellow students and faculty members at the University to read and present on some of my work with Lewis. I was reminded of what I had originally wanted to start with this blog page, and well? Here we are again. Over the course of the next few weeks, I will be revisiting some of my research and posting it on this page for you to enjoy. Feel free to tell me what you think, or if there are topics about Lewis you would like me to discuss.

Also! I am going live. By which I mean I will be working with friends at the University to carry these conversations through Twitter and some local events ( C.S Lewis pub night anyone? Coming soon….). Feel free to follow me on twitter at @ReepTheMouse and keep checking back here for new posts every Monday!

C.S Lewis Blog: An Introduction

“No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally – and often far more – worth reading at the age of fifty and beyond.”
― C.S Lewis

Welcome Friends.

The intent of this blog is to create a community of C.S Lewis scholars, and will function to incubate a central hub of Lewis based discourse. Whether you have studied Lewis seriously, perused his writings casually, or have simply found yourself captivated by his popular work, my hope is that you will each find something of interest and value. While the primary aim of this blog is to drive deeper into Lewis’s life as a scholar, it will by necessity encompass both his academic and non academic writings. My hope in embarking on such a journey is to bring together a network of academic and non academic  research to challenge and drive my own studies concerning his life. My goal is not to write or define Lewis’s place in history – he has done that well enough on his own merits – but simply to merge a synthetic comprehension of his spheres of influence; creating a narrative which combines an understanding of Lewis as the author, the scholar, the apologist, the radio broadcaster, the Christian, and ultimately as one of Britain’s most popular writers of the 20th century.

My own areas of interest and study in Lewis scholarship specifically rests in his reception in the academic spheres at the height of his popularity, while examining the evolution of both scholarly and public opinions of his work in the early 21st century. However, as this is only an introductory posting, I will delay in adding anything further to this particular strain of thought.

So for now, I bid you a very warm welcome. I am very excited by possibility this page represents, and hope that it produces new insights into the life and writings of C.S Lewis. Feel free to follow this page & we shall see where this adventure takes us.

Cheers!