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Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life
     

Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life

3.9 26
by C. S. Lewis
 

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"A young man who wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading. There are traps everywhere . . . God is, if I may say it, very unscrupulous."

This book is not an autobiography. It is not a confession. It is, however, certainly one of the most beautiful and insightful accounts of a person coming to faith. Here, C.S.

Overview

"A young man who wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading. There are traps everywhere . . . God is, if I may say it, very unscrupulous."

This book is not an autobiography. It is not a confession. It is, however, certainly one of the most beautiful and insightful accounts of a person coming to faith. Here, C.S. Lewis takes us from his childhood in Belfast through the loss of his mother, to boarding school and a youthful atheism in England, to the trenches of World War I, and then to Oxford, where he studied, read, and, ultimately, reasoned his way back to God. It is perhaps this aspect of Surprised by Joy that we—believers and nonbelievers—find most compelling and meaningful; Lewis was searching for joy, for an elusive and momentary sensation of glorious yearning, but he found it, and spiritual life, through the use of reason.

In this highly personal, thoughtful, intelligent memoir, Lewis guides us toward joy and toward the surprise that awaits anyone who seeks a life beyond the expected.

"Lewis tempered his logic with a love for beauty, wonder, and magic . . . He speaks to us with all the power and life-changing force of a Plato, a Dante, and a Bunyan."—Christianity Today

"The tension of these final chapters holds the interest like the close of a thriller."—Times Literary Supplement

C. S. (Clive Staples) Lewis (1898–1963), one of the great writers of the twentieth century, also continues to be one of our most influential Christian thinkers. He wrote more than thirty books, both popular and scholarly, including The Chronicles of Narnia series, The Screwtape Letters, The Four Loves, Mere Christianity, and Till We Have Faces.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780547545486
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
03/23/1966
Sold by:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
77,048
File size:
495 KB

Meet the Author

C. S. (Clive Staples) Lewis (1898-1963), one of the great writers of the twentieth century, also continues to be one of our most influential Christian thinkers. A Fellow and tutor at Oxford until 1954, he spent the rest of his career as Chair of Medieval and Renaissance English at Cambridge. He wrote more than thirty books, both popular and scholarly, inlcuding The Chronicles of Narnia series, The Screwtape Letters, The Four Loves, Mere Christianity and Surprised by Joy.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
November 29, 1898
Date of Death:
November 22, 1963
Place of Birth:
Belfast, Nothern Ireland
Place of Death:
Headington, England
Education:
Oxford University 1917-1923; Elected fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford in 1925
Website:
http://www.cslewisclassics.com

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Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was very interesting. It would be best classified as an autobiography, but as the author notes at the beginning, it isn't a normal autobiography. The reason for that is because the book is really written about the author's search for 'joy,' and how that eventually led to him to faith in Jesus Christ. It has always been interesting to me how the individual who was probably the most vocal defender of Christianity from a logical perspective in the 20th century was an athiest before being a Christian. This book lets you see how the transformation took place. It is easy to get wrapped up in minor details of this book. For example, I did not know that C. S. Lewis was actually Irish, and not English. But he is Irish (North Irish, if that matters to you), and where he grew up had (as it always will) an affect on his thinking and beliefs early in life. I also didn't know that private English schools in the early 20th centure were hotbeds of homosexuality. It doesn't really mean much, and the author just notes that it occurred, and doesn't even pass judgement on it, but it was something that had never once crossed my mind as being possible. Stuff like that could lead you off track, but the way that the author logically works through all others ideas and in the end finds that Christianity is the only one viable is really fascinating, and is the true meat of the book. Highly recommended for C. S. Lewis fans still recommended, but not so highly, for those of you who care about the logical side of Christian faith.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In C.S. Lewis' book, Surprised by Joy, he describes his own childhood and young adulthood experiences and maps his meandering path to conversion. C.S. Lewis is both candid and reticent at the same time. He describes many of his most personal struggles and insights, while witholding some important details from the reader, and exagerrating others. Lewis does not pretend to be an objective observer of his own life. He tells the story as he means to tell it, nothing more and nothing less. C.S. Lewis enthusiasts will proably not find this book to be joyful and uplifting, but they may find it inspiring to follow C.S. Lewis' steps from atheism to Christianity. For those who 'read to know we are not alone,' they will indeed get their wish. In Surprised by Joy, they will find a truly genuine person.
Guest More than 1 year ago
While I grew up in the United States and never attended boarding school, I found amazing similarities between Lewis' quest for understanding the existence, power and authority of our Divine Creator - and my own. Lewis was not a theologian, but in terms of relating human experience to Christian faith, there was none better in the 20th Century. The Four Loves, Mere Christianity and his works on grieving (written after the death of his wife) are all excellent for a reader desiring to better understand his or her own experiences.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a most remarkable account of one's conversion to belief. It is the eloquent yet highly readable language that Lewis uses which enables the reader to relate to his way of thinking. Lewis ultimately realizes that 'before God closed in on me, I was offered...a moment of wholly free choice...I could open the door or keep it shut...' This autobiography will fascinate the person who is perhaps searching for God or is unsure of God's existence. It will present a rather different perspective of conversion as it is taken from an intellectual standpoint. Finally, this book will reaffirm the authority of the one who simply declared 'I am that I am.'
Anonymous 5 months ago
I am surprised that the editors let this pass for autobiography and not rambling sentiment. There are certain places within that are reminiscent of his life but are not necessarily pertinent to "Joy!" Just like all of us, Lewis was a bit of a rascal on a grand scale and as he comes to the edge of disclosure of his hidden lives he veers off and talks of everything but the completion of his intention to tell his life story. I am not talking about the nitty gritty details of his personal life for I have enough of my own to mourn over. But this book comes up short in not so much honesty but in the fullness of the word itself. There are places where he comes out from behind his intellectual facade and really puts forth some great moments. But like the English weather that changes so fast and frequently, Lewis rarely gives us a chance to see the Son who set him free.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
B&N usually has great Ebooks. This is a dramatic exception to that rule - this copy is really poorly done. About two or three times a page there is a misread of the original text. For example, "He" is often switched to "Fie, " and the like. You can figure out the meaning, but it's terribly distracting and annoying. I've never paid for an Ebook with quality this low. If this bothers you, too, get the book in another format or from somewhere else. That being said, this book is totally worth the read. It would be both thought provoking for the curious non-believer and encouraging to the doubting believer. However, readers looking for a scientific argument for Christianity will be disappointed - the content of the book is chiefly literary and philosophical. And unless you're a literary buff yourself, you may be bored or turned off by most of Lewis' description of his own life, which revolves mainly around literature.
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Lewis is a very intriguing character, as are the characters that he wrote about. This was a very compelling and enlightening look into Lewis' account of what made him who he was. I have enjoyed reading it.
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