Friday, December 3, 2010

Do You Know Jack?

The way one gets to know a writer is obviously, to read what he or she writes.  Perhaps one reason so many people have a great affection for Lewis is because he wrote so much!  From fantasy, literary fiction, apologetics, theology, autobiography, and more, there is a great deal to glean.  Lewis, being a prolific author and one that wrote on spiritual and theological matters, viewed this role as a great responsibility.  In doing so, he took on the obligation of corresponding with his readers, scheduling two to three hours every morning for replying to the many letters he received.  Because of this we also have a great many letters of his, both from his personal relationships, but also from his readership, which was vast.  We who have come after his life on Earth are blessed that so much of his correspondence has been saved and published.  Oftentimes a great quote of his will come from his letters, rather than his published works.

The first compilation of some of Jack's (as he was referred to by friends and family) correspondence, was, Letters of C.S. Lewis.  This was followed by Letters to an American Lady, C.S. Lewis' Letters to Children, The Latin Letters of C.S. Lewis, and eventually, three large volumes of The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis.  I have not read all of these, but I have read Letters of C.S. Lewis, his Letters to Children, and some of the Collected Letters.  These add a whole different dimension to understanding his thoughts and development as a person and of his faith.

Many other writers, fascinated by this man have written biographies or analysis of his works.  Some that I can recommend, beginning with the biographies, are:  Tolkien and C.S. Lewis:  The Gift of Friendship, Remembering C.S. Lewis, C.S. Lewis at the Breakfast Table, and Jack:  A Life of C.S. Lewis.  For analysis:  C.S. Lewis as Philosopher, Planet Narnia, C.S. Lewis Companion and Guide, and C.S. Lewis for the Third Millennium. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but one from which I can personally endorse.  They all have their points of view, some of the writers are Roman Catholic and some are Protestant which at times comes through, but all are beneficial.

There have also been documentaries which include:  The Magic Never Ends, The Life of C.S. Lewis, and The Life of C.S. Lewis:  Through Joy and Beyond.

The film Shadowlands, written by William Nicholson has been produced twice, once for the BBC which stars Joss Ackland and the other for the big screen starring Anthony Hopkins. There really is a great deal of difference between the two, and I would by far recommend the BBC version.  The story begins at Lewis' meeting of his future wife, Joy Davidman.

For a complete bibliography of his writings, see here.

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