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C. S. Lewis - A Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet [Audiobook] [Audio CD]

Alister E. McGrath , Robin Sachs
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Mar 2013

The recent Narnia films have inspired a resurgence of interest in C. S. Lewis, the Oxford academic, popular theologian and, most famously, creator of the magical world of Narnia - and this authoritative new biography, published to mark the 50th anniversary of Lewis's death, sets out to introduce him to a new generation. Completely up to date with scholarly studies of Lewis, it also focuses on how Lewis came to write the Narnia books, and why they have proved so consistently engaging.

Accessible and engaging, this new biography will appeal to fans of the films, readers of Lewis and of theologian and apologist Alister McGrath himself.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product details

  • Audio CD: 12 pages
  • Publisher: Oasis Audio; Unabridged edition (Mar 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1613753799
  • ISBN-13: 978-1613753798
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 16.5 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 180,722 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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To the question of whether the world really needs another biography of C. S. Lewis, McGrath's lucid and unsentimental portrait of the Christian champion responds with a resounding "yes." The year 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of Lewis's death, and times have changed and evangelical sentiments have matured. McGrath offers a new and at times shocking look into the complicated life of this complex figure, in a deeply researched biography. The author takes us headlong into the heart of a Lewis we've known little about: his unconventional affair with Mrs. Jane Moore; his hostile and deceptive relationship with his father; his curiosity about the sensuality of cruelty. McGrath navigates the reader through these messy themes, ultimately landing us onto the solid ground of Lewis's postconversion legacy. He shows with skill, sympathy, dispassion, and engaging prose that Lewis, like the rest of us, did the best he could with the hand he was dealt. But he got over it, as must all those who would prefer a Lewis without shadows. (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

Many of us thought we knew most of what there was to know about C. S. Lewis. Alister McGrath's new biography makes use of archives and other material that clarify, deepen and further explain the many sides of one of Christianity's most remarkable apologists. This is a penetrating and illuminating study. (N. T. Wright)

Alister McGrath's new biography of C. S. Lewis is excellent. It's filled with information based on extensive scholarship but is nonetheless extremely readable. It not only devotes great attention to the formation and character of Lewis the man, it offers incisive and balanced analyses of all his main literary works. Lewis's impact on me was profound and lasting, and Dr McGrath clearly explains why so many believers and Christians leaders today would say the same thing. (Timothy Keller)

A welcome addition to the biographical literature on C. S. Lewis, which includes several valuable new perspectives. McGrath's book will gain a permanent position in Lewis scholarship for his brilliant and, to my mind, undeniable re-dating of Lewis's conversion to Theism. How we all missed this for so long is astonishing! (Michael Ward, author of Planet Narnia)

Alister McGrath sheds new light on the incomparable C. S. Lewis. This is an important book. (Eric Metaxas, author of Bonhoeffer)

This biography is the one Lewis's admirers - especially those who, like him, believe that books are to be read and enjoyed - should prefer to all others. (Booklist, starred review) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

Definitive new biography of C. S. Lewis, author of the ever-popular Narnia books --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best companion guide to Lewis 8 April 2013
A human life is unable to be tidied into convenient little categories. Here we meet CS Lewis at his messy, brilliant and complicated best.
McGrath's account of Lewis offers much that is fresh and new. It captures him in his eccentricities, abilities, strengths and perplexities! Fifty years after his death there is meaning and helpfulness in this great new biography.

A communicant in the Church of England, Lewis was playfully orthodox but not specifically evangelical in theological or spiritual emphasis. His closest lifelong friends were a homosexual Unitarian, Greeves and a traditionalist Roman Catholic, Tolkien. His formation, thought-life and legacy were accompanied by many a tankard of beer and prolific smoking. So for some legalists, Lewis is regrettably considered a heretic.

His undeniable Christological apologetic and literary imagination rooted in humanity's struggles and brilliance, are wonderfully described here. The detail, drama, depth and discretion of Lewis' marriage to Joy Davidman are some of my many unexpectedly favourite parts of this work. Edgy perspectives about Irish nuns, alcohol consumption and unresolved thinking previously undeclared, all get airtime here. There is meaning, wisdom, beauty and much understanding made possible throughout. There is a wholeness, complexity and delight to the Lewis that we meet in this majestic work. Maverick, gutsy talent ooze from this title.

Whatever you may think of CS Lewis as a children's author or a scholar, his importance to contemporary Christianity is undeniable. The wisdom of Lewis is clear, his apologetics are searing and his fiction a powerful glimpse of another world.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Professor McGrath's Professor Lewis 14 Jun 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
There are already three canonical full length biographies of C. S. Lewis, as well as many shorter accounts of the famous writer's life. This absorbing new book by the academic theologian the Reverend Alister McGrath wisely seeks to do something more ambitious than merely echoing the work of his predecessors.

Firstly, Alister uses the new resources now available to Lewis scholars - not least Father Walter Hooper's mammoth compendium of CSL's letters - to correct some misapprehensions in previous books, and also to bring some particular aspects of CSL into unprecedentedly sharp focus. Thus we learn that CSL came to his faith a year later than he himself reported in his memoir - CSL was never very good with numbers! - and we get an appreciably clearer picture of his military service, of the hostility that he elicited from some of his peers at Oxford University and of just how determinedly he was courted by the redoubtable Joy Davidman. (Joy emerges from these pages as a character very different from that played by Debra Winger in the biopic movie Shadowlands.)

Secondly, Alister avoids needlessly plodding along well-trodden biographical high roads in order to leave room for a meticulously detailed analysis of CSL's thought and influence. Narnia, for example, is discussed in considerable depth, and Alister tells us much about the ups and downs and ups of CSL's reputation in Christian circles in the United States. I can perhaps illustrate Alister's distinctive approach by observing that he devotes a mere nine lines to CSL's nursing of his dying father, but a page and three quarters to Michael Ward's thesis that the structure of the Narnian series was partly shaped by mediaeval astrology.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
When I first saw this book, C. S. Lewis: a Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet I wondered why anyone would want to write another biography of C S Lewis. After all, George Sayer, A N Wilson, Roger Lancelyn Green, Walter Hooper have all published biographies of Lewis. Most Lewis fans will also be familiar with William Nicholson's excellent biographical screenplay Shadowlands which has been produced on both stage and screen.

However, the highly-qualified Alister McGrath (Professor of Theology and Ministry Kings College London and Senior Research Fellow at Oxford University) explains in the preface to his book, the huge significance of the publication of the collected letters of C S Lewis during 2000-2006 which has added 3,500 pages of source material to our knowledge of Lewis and provides a "continuous narrative backbone for an account of Lewis's life" which was not available to earlier biographers.

I am very pleased that I have read McGrath's book for three reasons. Firstly, it reminded me of how important Lewis has become as a writer and thinker. Secondly, it definitely draws out some elements of Lewis's life which I hadn't fully understood before. Thirdly, it is a very readable biography, not over-long, not too scholarly and full of interest throughout.

Earlier biographers were reluctant to cover some of the darker sides to Lewis's character. McGrath's new biography does not flinch from some of the more controversial sides to Lewis, such as his relationship (probably an "affair") with a Mrs Moore and also the darker sides of his relationsip with his father.

McGrath describes Lewis's relationship with J R R Tolkien became a stepping stone to Lewis's conversion to Christianity during 1930/32.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Very well researched book, really enjoyable for CS Lewis fans.
Published 5 days ago by Anne Frith
5.0 out of 5 stars C S Lewis - a complex character.
I have been a reader of Lewis's works for forty years and thus am also interested in his own life as this obviously has a bearing on understanding his writings. Read more
Published 25 days ago by R T
5.0 out of 5 stars A major achievement
A compelling academic's examination of an already well explored life that never fails to fascinate. A must read for devotees of this extraordinary man.
Published 2 months ago by Brian J Nolan
5.0 out of 5 stars A plaster saint?
Of various autobiographies of C.S.Lewis i have read, this is perhaps the best, and also perhaps the most difficult, especially if you haven't studied English Literature in any... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Paul Bell
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and revealing
I came to this biography knowing little about CS Lewis other than an enchanted childhood reading of the Narnia books and a more recent viewing of the screen versions. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Hamish McLean
4.0 out of 5 stars Bought on my husband's behalf.
My husband, who asked me to order it, has yet to read it, so no comment is possible! Looks interesting though.
Published 3 months ago by Mrs. C. M
5.0 out of 5 stars Love Narnia
Like anything Narnia and interested in reading about CS Lewis, the book arrived in good condition and on time, looking forward to reading it.
Published 4 months ago by Christopher Paul
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but not the best
I belong to a rare breed: I was in Cambridge in the late 1950s and early ’60s, and privileged to correspond with Lewis, hear him lecture, meet him in person and indeed spend a... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Diana Maryon
5.0 out of 5 stars CS Lewis - warts and all
The book is an excellent life of C,S, Lewis as well as an analysis of his thought. He does not present Lewis as a plaster saint, but pulls no punches as to what he thinks of Lewis'... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Ivan
5.0 out of 5 stars Get your own. I'm keeping this
I wanted to write a detached, cool-headed evaluation of this book and even had thought of some suitably ambiguous ways of describing it: ostrich prose, for example, (covering a lot... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Glenn Myers
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