C. S. Lewis: The Independent Institute

The Power of Independent Thinking

C. S. Lewis
C. S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis (1898–1963) was an Irish-born novelist, scholar, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, theologian, novelist, man of letters, and poet. The author of fifty-nine books and the editor of two others, Lewis graduated from Oxford University where he won a triple first, the highest honors in three areas of study, and he taught as a fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford, for nearly thirty years, from 1925 to 1954. Afterward, he became the first Professor of Medieval and Renaissance English at the University of Cambridge and a fellow of Magdalene College, Cambridge.

Lewis’s books sell at an astounding rate worldwide, and in his extensive and immensely popular work, he very effectively champions objective truth, goodness, natural law, literary excellence, reason, science, individual liberty, personal responsibility, and Christian apologetics. His work captures a grandeur, precision, wit, imagination and insight seldom matched by others, and in the process, he articulately critiques the materialism, reductionism, scientism, collectivism, nihilism, statism, and de-humanization of the modern era.

Of his many works, Lewis is probably best known for his book series, The Chronicles of Narnia, which have sold well over 100 million copies worldwide and are now the subject of a major new series of films. In addition, other novels by Lewis have been popularized on stage, TV, and radio, and now are being made into a series of epic films.

Overall, the scope of Lewis’s work is remarkable, including philosophy and theology—The Abolition of Man, Christian Reflections, Mere Christianity, The Four Loves, The Problem of Pain, Miracles; literary history and criticism—The Discarded Image, The Allegory of Love, English Literature in the Sixteenth Century, A Preface to Paradise Lost; fiction—The Screwtape Letters, Perelandra, That Hideous Strength, The Great Divorce, Till We Have Faces; autobiography—Surprised by Joy, A Grief Observed; current affairs—God in the Dock, Present Concerns; and poetry—Narrative Poems, Poems.

Lewis was a close friend of J.R.R. Tolkien, the author of The Lord of the Rings, and both authors were leading figures with Owen Barfield, Charles Williams and others in the influential Oxford literary society known as “The Inklings." Lewis also founded and was President of the Oxford Socratic Club that met weekly to hear papers on and debate issues in philosophy, literature, religion, and much more. Lewis married the American writer Joy Davidman and their romance and her subsequent death formed the basis for the film, Shadowlands, first produced as an International Academy Award-winning program by the BBC and starring Joss Ackland and Claire Bloom, and later as a theatrical film starring Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger.