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Biography of C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis was one of the most creative Christian writers of his time whose The Screwtape Letters and The Chronicles of Narnia have been popular ever since. Lewis' success was achieved in spite of a difficult childhood marked by the tragedy of his mother's death when he was only nine years old. One of Lewis' biographers terms her death "the catastrophe of his [Lewis'] life" and relates that "The loss was something which he bottled up within himself, unable to appease it through the emotionally stultifying years of boarding-school education in England" (Wilson, 2002, p. xi). Moreover, Lewis subsequently had a companion for 30 years that was "a woman old enough to be his mother," a relationship that was undoubtedly a substitute for the lost relationship with his mother (Wilson, 2002, p. xi). When he finally married, it was to American writer Joy Gresham, a woman whose circumstances exactly paralleled those of his mother; she had two small sons and was dying of cancer (Wilson, 2002, p. xii).

Most likely at least in part because of his own grief, Lewis-dubbed "Jack" at an early age-was fascinated with psychoanalysis; during the post-war years when he was an undergraduate in classical philosophy at Oxford from 1918 to 1922, psychoanalysis became increasingly popular, and he wrote in the preface to his narrative poem "Dymer," "In those days, the new psychology was just beginning to make itself felt in the circles I most frequented at Oxford" (Lewis, 1969a, p. 4, as cited in Bishop, 1992, p. 105). Lewis' friend, Coleridge scholar Owen Barfield, suggests that the psychoanalytic movement did not influence Lewis profoundly, however, and Lewis himself said, "We did not swallow it whole (few people did)" (Lewis, 1955, p. 202, as cited in Bishop, 1992, p. 105). Nevertheless, there was a hint of the psychoanalytical in many of Lewis' works, and like others that have been orphaned or deprived of a parent at an early age, there ...

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Biography of C.S. Lewis. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 10:15, August 14, 2020, from