In honor of the birthday of one of many “patron saints” of latest evangelical Christianity, we thought we’d supply up ten stunning information about Lewis to raised perceive the beloved British author (and so you’ll be able to impress your pals at events … at any time when we will have these once more).
In case you solely know C. S. Lewis due to his books about Narnia, then you definately don’t know Jack very effectively! “Jack,” is, in fact, the identify Lewis glided by to his associates. That is simply one of many many fascinating particulars about him that aren’t generally recognized. One other is the very fact he died on November 22, 1963—the identical day that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Listed below are ten extra tidbits about Lewis that some would possibly discover uncommon, and even misunderstand.
1. Well-known earlier than Narnia
Whereas Lewis is most recognized for writing The Chronicles of Narnia, he was well-known sufficient to be on the duvet of Time journal three years earlier than the primary story associated to Aslan was printed. In 1947, Lewis was the featured story for the September 8 situation of Time. The article on Lewis got here out a couple of months after his newest ebook, Miracles: A Preliminary Study, was launched. The explanation for this honor was on account of his recognition from his fictionalized correspondence between two demons in The Screwtape Letters. An off-the-cuff have a look at the duvet reveals this, as you see a pitchforked satan on his left shoulder and the wing of an angel over his head.
2. Married the identical girl twice
Most are conscious Lewis married Pleasure Davidman Gresham, however do you know he tied the knot along with her twice? The primary time was on April 23, 1956, in a civil ceremony. He did it as a pleasant gesture to stop Pleasure from deportation from England (she was an American). Lower than a 12 months later, when it was thought she would quickly die from most cancers, he married her once more at Churchill Hospital on March 21, 1957. So, why do it once more? Few really knew in regards to the first wedding ceremony, so it was partially as a result of he wished to declare his love for her earlier than others. This a part of Lewis’s life was the topic of the film Shadowlands that was first produced by BBC in 1985 and later a Hollywood film in 1993.
3. Cared for a lady married to a different man
Admittedly this headline is a bit sensationalized, nevertheless it’s true! As a younger man, Lewis made a vow to his pal, Paddy Moore, to look after Moore’s mom if he died. When Paddy was killed in World Warfare I, Lewis made good on his promise and lived with Janie King Moore till simply earlier than she died. Moore, although separated from her husband, by no means divorced; nevertheless, it isn’t as scandalous as you would possibly suppose. Moore’s daughter, Maureen (the longer term Girl Dunbar of Hempriggs), lived with them for a number of of these years. Additionally, Jack’s brother Warren lived in the identical family with them for about two-thirds of the time they lived collectively. Whereas some would have you ever consider there needed to be a sexual relationship, as Lewis scholar Jerry Root has said, it’s actually as much as the those that make this declare to show it.
4. Soldier in WWI and wounded in motion
Talking of WWI, Lewis voluntarily enlisted within the British military in 1917. The above-mentioned Paddy Moore was Lewis’s roommate at Keble Faculty, Oxford, the place they each acquired cadet coaching. They’d met shortly after Lewis joined the Oxford College Officers’ Coaching Corps on April 30, 1917. On November 17 that 12 months, he went to France as a part of his service. He not often mentioned a lot about his life as a soldier, and so few of his experiences are recognized. We do know that he was hospitalized with pyrexia in February 1918, and two months later he was wounded on Mont-Bernanchon (close to Lillers, France) in the course of the Battle of Arras.
5. Wished to be a poet
It’s no secret Lewis loved writing, however his authentic ardour was poetry. In 1919, earlier than his twenty first birthday, his first ebook, Spirits in Bondage: A Cycle of Lyrics, was printed. Almost the entire ebook was written when he was 16 or 17 years outdated. Throughout that point, Lewis didn’t consider in God, and the fabric displays that perspective. The ebook didn’t promote many copies. His subsequent poetry ebook, Dymer, got here out in 1926 and likewise didn’t promote effectively. Whereas he by no means printed a brand new ebook of poems throughout his lifetime, he did proceed to write down them and fairly a couple of had been launched in quite a lot of publications throughout his lifetime. There have been so lots of them that lower than a 12 months after his loss of life, Walter Hooper edited a set merely known as Poems.
6. Wrote three books below completely different names
Are you able to think about Lewis not taking credit score for books he wrote? Whereas it might be tough to contemplate, it’s true. Early in his profession, his first two books of poetry, Spirits in Bondage and Dymer, had been each credited to Clive Hamilton (Clive is his precise first identify and Hamilton is his mom’s maiden identify). Then, earlier than he died, A Grief Observed was printed (in 1961) below the pseudonym N. W. Clerk. That ebook recounts a few of the sorrow Lewis skilled after the loss of life of his spouse. It was republished the 12 months after his personal loss of life with him recognized because the creator.
7. Taught philosophy earlier than English
Whereas some are conscious Lewis’s first full-time job was educating English literature at Oxford College, far fewer know he had a short lived place (1924–25) as instructor of philosophy at Oxford. Certainly one of his levels from Oxford was Literae Humaniores, which entails the examine of classics, philosophy, and historical historical past, which certified him for the short-term submit. In reality, he even utilized for a philosophy place at Trinity Faculty, Oxford (however did not get it). The short-term place he did safe at College Faculty, Oxford, was to show in the course of the absence of Edgar Frederick Carritt (who was Lewis’s tutor in philosophy). Carritt was on go away to show on the College of Ann Arbor, Michigan.
8. By no means was a professor at Oxford
As famous already, Lewis did train at Oxford. Whereas he taught there for 30 years, he was by no means given the title of Professor. As an alternative, he was merely a “don.” What’s the distinction? A don within the UK is one who’s a “tutor” or “lecturer” of a selected topic. A professor is commonly the top of a division and has a extra versatile schedule. Lower than ten years earlier than his loss of life, Lewis accepted a professorship of medieval and Renaissance English at Cambridge College.
9. Tolkien was instrumental in Lewis getting Cambridge place
Lewis was appointed to his professorship at Cambridge on October 1, 1954 (he formally started it on January 1, 1955). Mockingly, though the place was created for him, Lewis initially confirmed little or no curiosity in it. His associates J. R. R. Tolkien, E. M. W. Tillyard, F. P. Wilson, and Basil Willey all performed a task in Lewis getting the place, however Tolkien deserves particular point out. As Alister McGrath recounts in C. S. Lewis: A Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet, after Lewis had twice declined the supply to show at Cambridge, Tolkien wouldn’t let the matter go. He sought clarification from Lewis about why he refused the supply. Lewis thought he must transfer from his residence of over twenty years and reside in Cambridge. This was not so, and due to not one however two letters written by Tolkien, the problem was settled. Or, not less than everybody thought it was; sadly, Cambridge provided the place to their second selection earlier than Lewis contacted the college. Thankfully, that particular person declined, and Lewis took the place when it was provided to him a 3rd time.
10. Lewis’s encouragement helped get the Lord of the Rings printed
Why was Tolkien so prepared to assist Lewis get hold of the place at Cambridge? As you will have heard, they had been associates from Lewis’s early days at Oxford. However do you know they had been so shut that Lewis really learn a model of The Hobbit about 5 years earlier than it was printed? He advised his pal Arthur Greeves about it in a letter from 1933: “Since time period started I’ve had a pleasant time studying a youngsters’s story which Tolkien has simply written.” Not lengthy after the ebook got here out in 1937, Tolkien’s writer wished a sequel. As Diana Glyer recounts in Bandersnatch, Tolkien initially declined however ultimately reconsidered. Early chapters of the sequel had been proven to Lewis on March 4, 1938. Lewis gave suggestions to Tolkien that he took to coronary heart, which led to the rewriting of the primary three chapters. As you would possibly recall, The Lord of the Ringswas not printed till the Nineteen Fifties, however few know that, had it not been for Lewis, it would by no means have seen the sunshine of day. Tolkien wrote in his letters about Lewis, “I owe to his encouragement the truth that … I persevered and ultimately completed The Lord of the Rings.”
William O’Flaherty is an in-home household therapist, creator, and creator of the web site essentialcslewis.com and the YouTube channel 90 Seconds to Knowing C.S. Lewis. His newest ebook is The Misquotable C. S. Lewis: What He Didn’t Say, What He Actually Said, and Why It Matters (Wipf and Inventory, 2018).