Letters to an American Lady Paperback – 1 Sep 1971
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-- J. R. R. Tolkien"Deeply interesting and very moving."-- Robert Cromie in Chicago Tribune"A literary gem."-- Christianity Today"The reader will discover testimony for the patient faith and generous life of the private man who was this century's most famous Christian apologist. . . . Lewis readers will treasure these letters for the glimpse they offer into the personal witness of the man."
-- J. R. R. Tolkien
"Deeply interesting and very moving."
-- Robert Cromie in "Chicago Tribune"
"A literary gem."
"-- Christianity Today"
"The reader will discover testimony for the patient faith and generous life of the private man who was this century's most famous Christian apologist. . . . Lewis readers will treasure these letters for the glimpse they offer into the personal witness of the man." -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.
About the Author
C S Lewis(1898-1963) He held the chair of Medieval and Renaissance English Literature at Cambridge University in England. Among his many famous works are Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, the Chronicles of Narnia series, Miracles, The Abolition of Man, The Great Divorce, The Problem of Pain, and Surprised by Joy.
Top Customer Reviews
They are not. They span the 13 years before his death (November 1963 on the same afternoon as the death of JFK) and are to a widow four years older than Lewis, Mary, “a southern aristocratic lady who loves to talk and speaks well.” This, together with the JFK link, I learnt in Clyde S.Kilby’s useful and concise Preface. Mr Kilby, who edited the volume, puts the letters in context by summarising the key themes in Lewis’s theological thought that find their way into the letters, and highlighting the key events in Jack Lewis’s life that the letters cover.
In the course of these letters, Professor Lewis moved home and work from Oxford to Cambridge, met Joy, married her, and suffered her loss, and became ill himself. The letters become increasingly poignant as they chart Lewis’s decline, and end a few months before his death, with Lewis explaining he can only write letters that communicate “more of a wave of the hand.”
The correspondence is one-sided. Mary wished to remain anonymous. But we gather that she was beset by problems at work, with unfair and jealous colleagues, with money and housing problems, and her poor health is a recurring theme. Towards the end Jack jokes that between them it’s like a race to the grave. Often, Lewis’s letters open with an “I am sorry to hear…” and you feel that Mary used the correspondence to offload and to seek to understand her suffering of various kinds.Read more ›
Through his letters, he seems to me to be a very compassionate friend and a passionate person who continuously encouraged Mary to go on with positive words, sound advices, quirky remarks and funny comments that made me smile in a crowded tube to work.
I wish (quite impossibly) that there is still a glimmer of hope to have such a penpal like CS Lewis, at this age, although everything is conveyed electronically. There is this small desire in my heart to still receive letters that are handwritten, with sentences that are well thought out before being penned on a paper, instead of blasting those words hurriedly across the screen.
I am blessed to have read this book, although it was delivered to me as a yellowed, used library book, I cherish this all the same, because of the insights that have changed and influenced my perspectives on forgiveness and that our time here on earth is far too short to be wasted on being angry when things don't go our way.
Thank you, Jack, for your honesty and for being so human in these letters. I felt that these letters were written for me too.
the book offers so much to todays reader. and a lewis loving reader should not doubt the fact this this book belongs on the book shelf along with the rest of his books.
it is comical, loving and full of spirit, and the book itself becomes alive in the readers hands.
the language is true to the time, since there has been no alterations, and the language is beautiful.
it took me only a day to read it, it is impossible to put down untill you're finished.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Toward the end of the book the letters get more lengthy and and interesting. I was particularly struck by Lewis' attitude toward dying. He was able to look forward to his eventual death with a genuine hope and longing for the better world beyond these "shadowlands" and he was able to encourage this lady along those lines through the problems they both had with aging and poor health. I hope such a mature attitude of faith will be mine also when my time comes. It is the hallmark of a life lived for the glory and love of God.
This posthumous 1967 book contains Lewis's letters to a "widow four years older than Lewis... [Who} Once financially independent... had fallen upon privation and... [had] serious family problems... Lewis arranged through his American publishers a small stipend for her... About the time the correspondence began she turned from the Episcopal Church to the Roman Catholic... She is a writer of reviews, articles, poems and stories." [By her own request, she was originally kept anonymous when the letters were published; we now know she was Mrs. Mary Willis Shelburne.]
He states in the second letter, "I believe we are very near to one another, but not because I am at all on the Rome-ward frontier of my own communion. I believe that, in the present divided state of Christendom, those who are at the heart of each division are all closer to one another than those who are on the fringes. I would even carry this beyond the borders of Christianity: how much more one has in common with a REAL Jew or Muslim than with a wretched liberalising, occidentalized specimen of the same categories." (Pg. 11-12)
He advises, "I don't think we ought to try to keep up our normal prayers when we are ill and over-tired. I would not say this to a beginner who still has the habit to form. But you are past that stage. One mustn't make the Christian life into a punctilious system of LAW, like the Jewish..." (Pg. 38)
He observes, "Two curious discoveries I have made. The moments at which you call most desperately and clamorously to God for help are precisely those when you seem to get none. And the moments at which I feel nearest to Joy [his deceased wife] are precisely those when I mourn her LEAST. Very queer. In both cases a clamorous need seems to shut one off from the thing needed." (Pg. 92)
He counsels, "Pain is terrible, but surely you need not have fear as well? Can you not see death as the friend and deliverer? it means stripping off that body which is tormenting you: like taking off a hairshirt or getting out of a dungeon. What is there to be afraid of? ... Your sins are confessed and absolved. Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave it with regret? There are better things ahead than any we leave behind." (Pg. 117)
These letters are more "personal" than many of Lewis's other writings, and will be of great interest to all fans of his writings.