The Four Loves

( 28 )

Overview

A candid, wise, and warmly personal book in which Lewis explores the possibilities and problems of the four basic kinds of human love- affection, friendship, erotic love, and the love of God. “Immensely worthwhile for its simplicity...a rare and memorable book” (Sydney J. Harris).

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The Four Loves

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Overview

A candid, wise, and warmly personal book in which Lewis explores the possibilities and problems of the four basic kinds of human love- affection, friendship, erotic love, and the love of God. “Immensely worthwhile for its simplicity...a rare and memorable book” (Sydney J. Harris).

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A rare and memorable book." —Saturday Review

"The Four Loves deserves to become a minor classic as a modern mirror of our souls, a mirror of the virtues and failings of human loving." —New York Times Book Review

"[Lewis] has never written better. Nearly every page scintillates with observations which are illuminating, provocative and original." —Church Times

"What is interesting about these chapters is the extent to which a non-believer can follow the argument and receive enlightenment … Lewis has a keen eye, a large measure of human sympathy, wit, and a command of simple words … By writing so well and so perceptively about ‘natural’ human conduct, Lewis makes the strongest case for examining his conclusions with respect. He is writing, presumably, for the unconverted as well as for Christians, and whatever the former may believe or disbelieve about God they are persuaded that he could only exist as a culmination in absolute terms of their deepest moral convictions."—Times Literary Supplement

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780151329168
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 11/28/1991
  • Series: HBJ Book Series
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 156
  • Sales rank: 369,712
  • Product dimensions: 5.61 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Meet the Author

Clive Staples Lewis was born in Belfast, Ireland, in 1898. He was a professor of medieval and Renaissance literature at Oxford and Cambridge universities who wrote more than thirty books in his lifetime, including The Screwtape Letters, The Chronicles of Narnia, and Mere Christianity. Lewis is arguably the most influential Christian writer of the twentieth century.

Biography

C. S. Lewis was famous both as a fiction writer and as a Christian thinker, and his biographers and critics sometimes divide his personality in two: the storyteller and the moral educator, the "dreamer" and the "mentor." Yet a large part of Lewis's appeal, for both his audiences, lay in his ability to fuse imagination with instruction. "Let the pictures tell you their own moral," he once advised writers of children's stories. "But if they don't show you any moral, don't put one in. ... The only moral that is of any value is that which arises inevitably from the whole cast of the author's mind."

Storytelling came naturally to Lewis, who spent the rainy days of his childhood in Ireland writing about an imaginary world he called Boxen. His first published novel, Out of the Silent Planet, tells the story of a journey to Mars; its hero was loosely modeled on his friend and fellow Cambridge scholar J.R.R. Tolkien. Lewis enjoyed some popularity for his Space Trilogy (which continues in Perelandra and That Hideous Strength), but nothing compared to that which greeted his next imaginative journey, to an invented world of fauns, dwarfs, and talking animals -- a world now familiar to millions of readers as Narnia.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the first book of the seven-volume Chronicles of Narnia, began as "a picture of a Faun carrying an umbrella and parcels in a snowy wood," according to Lewis. Years after that image first formed in his mind, others bubbled up to join it, producing what Kate Jackson, writing in Salon, called "a fascinating attempt to compress an almost druidic reverence for wild nature, Arthurian romance, Germanic folklore, the courtly poetry of Renaissance England and the fantastic beasts of Greek and Norse mythology into an entirely reimagined version of what's tritely called 'the greatest story ever told.'"

The Chronicles of Narnia was for decades the world's bestselling fantasy series for children. Although it was eventually superseded by Harry Potter, the series still holds a firm place in children's literature and the culture at large. (Narnia even crops up as a motif in Jonathan Franzen's 2001 novel The Corrections). Its last volume appeared in 1955; in that same year, Lewis published a personal account of his religious conversion in Surprised by Joy. The autobiography joined his other nonfiction books, including Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, and The Great Divorce, as an exploration of faith, joy and the meaning of human existence.

Lewis's final work of fiction, Till We Have Faces, came out in 1956. Its chilly critical reception and poor early sales disappointed Lewis, but the book's reputation has slowly grown; Lionel Adey called it the "wisest and best" of Lewis's stories for adults. Lewis continued to write about Christianity, as well as literature and literary criticism, for several more years. After his death in 1963, The New Yorker opined, "If wit and wisdom, style and scholarship are requisites to passage through the pearly gates, Mr. Lewis will be among the angels."

Good To Know

The imposing wardrobe Lewis and his brother played in as children is now in Wheaton, Illinois, at the Wade Center of Wheaton College, which also houses the world's largest collection of Lewis-related documents, according to The Christian Science Monitor.

The 1994 movie, Shadowlands, based on the play of the same name, cast Anthony Hopkins as Lewis. It tells the story of his friendship with, and then marriage to, an American divorcee named Joy Davidman (played by Debra Winger), who died of cancer four years after their marriage. Lewis's own book about coping with that loss, A Grief Observed, was initially published under the pseudonym N. W. Clerk.

Several poems, stories, and a novel fragment published after Lewis's death have come under scrutiny as possible forgeries. On one side of the controversy is Walter Hooper, a trustee of Lewis's estate and editor of most of his posthumous works; on the other is Kathryn Lindskoog, a Lewis scholar who began publicizing her suspicions in 1988. Scandal or kooky conspiracy theory? The verdict's still out among readers.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Clive Staples Lewis (real name); Clive Hamilton, N.W. Clerk, Nat Whilk; called "Jack" by his friends
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 29, 1898
    2. Place of Birth:
      Belfast, Nothern Ireland
    1. Date of Death:
      November 22, 1963
    2. Place of Death:
      Headington, England

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 28 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(18)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 28 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2003

    A C.S. Lewis Masterpiece

    'The Four Loves' teaches you so much about the nature of the different types of love (Affection, Friendship, Eros, Charity). Some of the loves are intertwined with each other, however, you will soon be able to distinguish one from another. You'll learn a lot about yourself as well as others. This book will help you to live your life selflessly. I'll leave you with 2 quotes: '...in a good friendship, each member often feels humility towards the rest. He sees that they are splendid and counts himself lucky to be among them.' 'When we see the face of God, we shall know that we have always known it.'

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2000

    a MUST read!

    Alongside Fromm's 'The Art of Loving,' Peck's 'The Road Less Traveled,' and Krishnamurti's writing, Lewis' 'The Four Loves' is one of the best books of the twentieth century on the subject of love and relationships.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 26, 2012

    Difficult read must be patient

    Must be patient with love, too. It was difficult to read and took me a couple of times to truly understand the message, but well worth it and very interesting.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2012

    2nd evil girls castle room

    Just like the first room it made of ice with thick bed quilts. It is a roseish shade of ice & has two king beds & two queen beds.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2012

    GREAT read!

    One of the best authors I have ever read. This book goes really deep, and makes you think, so don't pick it up for a stroll in the park! I've gotten so much out of it, and I know every time I re-read it (which I plan on doing!), I will find more and more things that I can apply to my walk with God and my everyday life. I highly Recommend this book for a book study with a group of friends so you can share the things that you learned with everyone, and puzzle out the more confusing passages together!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2012

    Wanted to love it

    I wanted to love this book so much. Unfortunately, I just got lost reading it.

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  • Posted February 17, 2009

    Great Book

    One of the classics!!!

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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