November 29, 2004

Happy Birthday, Sir!


Today is the anniversary of the birth of Clive Staples Lewis in 1898. Whilst rooting around the web about this, I came across this site dedicated to all things C.S. There are, I am sure, a gazillion others.

I have practically nothing to say in honor of the man's birthday beyond the fact that reading his works makes me feel like an idiot, and a particularly sinful one at that. I mean this in a good way - such a light of intellectual integrity and spiritual purity emanates from his writings as to make the pages practically incandescent. In fact, they are almost painful to read because while they fill me with inspiration, they also remind me that I could never possibly achieve Lewis' level of enlightenment and, well, grace.

As I mentioned a week or two ago, I'm hoping this winter to start reading more biographical material. I've read a great deal of what Lewis himself wrote, but I haven't read that much about him. Correcting this imbalance will help me appreciate his own writing even more.

YIPS from Steve: The only thing I have to say about C.S. Lewis was that last Tuesday night, my 5 1/2 year old son were finishing the last chapter to "The Silver Chair," the penultimate story of the Narnia series. When we got to the part where King Caspian died, huge tears--and I mean huge, the size of small grapes---started streaming down my son's face. He had dressed as King Caspian for Halloween, as we were reading the Voyage of the Dawn Treader then. I tried to read on, when Lewis describes Caspian coming to Aslan's mountain, and how with a drop of Aslan's blood he rises as a young man. Resurrection is a tricky concept to explain to a 5 year old, and by the end I was crying too.

All I can say is thank you, C.S. Lewis.

Posted by Robert at November 29, 2004 12:35 PM | TrackBack

I am teaching a class where we're reading The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I just wanted to learn more about him myself, so picked up this book at the library. C.S. Lewis - A Life by Michael White.

Posted by: Rachel at November 29, 2004 12:47 PM

You should teach your kids (I'm guessing they are kids) Beyond Good and Evil, or The Gay Science and see how they turn out in 10ish years. The facial expression of a 10 year old after you finish reading the parable of the madman would be comical, even if it has a black slimy residue at the conclusion of your laughter.

Posted by: n00b at November 29, 2004 12:55 PM

"The Screwtape Letters" are of course, a classic, also.

I liked his religious writings. I also always enjoyed "Till We Have Faces" which no other person on Earth, except my brother, has ever read, to my knowledge.

Narnia never seemed quite as good as Middle-Earth to me. I liked Tolkien better. That being said, it's still good reading.

Posted by: DWC at November 29, 2004 02:30 PM

I actually read "Till We Have Faces" also, a long while back.

I had considered saying something about Lewis' sci-fi in the main post. I've read "Perelandra" a couple of times and have always been a bit puzzled at how Lewis' characters could launch into such Oxbridge-style debates on the Nature of Good and Evil while in the midst of physically fighting each other. The dialogue often seemed too brainy for the scenes. This always struck me as something of a flaw.

Posted by: Robert the LB at November 29, 2004 02:48 PM

I blogged on his Death last Monday. Thanks for reminding me of his birthday. And your description of what it's like to read Lewis resonated with me.

My favorite book has always been God in the Dock, which was actually compiled after his death and consists of his essays. Very good stuff.

Posted by: Brian B at November 29, 2004 03:18 PM

Alas, I prefer Narnia to Middle Earth, but that's just me, Mr. Vegas.

Posted by: Steve the LB at November 29, 2004 04:41 PM

Has anyone been more effective at spreading the Word than C.S. Lewis? I think not. Happy birthday, Jack.

(Signed, Yet Another "Til We Have Faces" Reader.)

Posted by: Chan S. at November 29, 2004 08:46 PM

I was a believer long before I read Lewis, but later in life, when I had allowed my emotions and physical desires lead me down dark paths I should not have followed, to places I did not want to be, it was Lewis' writings that brought me back, because in those times I realized Lewis and I had something in common: We believed not because of how it made us feel, or even how it made us. We believed for one simple reason:

It's the Truth.

Posted by: Brian B at November 29, 2004 09:03 PM
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