The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume 1

The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume 1

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by C. S. Lewis

The life and mind of C. S. Lewis have fascinated those who have read his works. This collection of his personal letters reveals a unique intellectual journey. The first of a three-volume collection, this volume contains letters from Lewis's boyhood, his army days in World War I, and his early academic life at Oxford. Here we encounter the creative, imaginative


The life and mind of C. S. Lewis have fascinated those who have read his works. This collection of his personal letters reveals a unique intellectual journey. The first of a three-volume collection, this volume contains letters from Lewis's boyhood, his army days in World War I, and his early academic life at Oxford. Here we encounter the creative, imaginative seeds that gave birth to some of his most famous works.

At age sixteen, Lewis begins writing to Arthur Greeves, a boy his age in Belfast who later becomes one of his most treasured friends. Their correspondence would continue over the next fifty years. In his letters to Arthur, Lewis admits that he has abandoned the Christian faith. "I believe in no religion," he says. "There is absolutely no proof for any of them."

Shortly after arriving at Oxford, Lewis is called away to war. Quickly wounded, he returns to Oxford, writing home to describe his thoughts and feelings about the horrors of war as well as the early joys of publication and academic success.

In 1929 Lewis writes to Arthur of a friend ship that was to greatly influence his life and writing. "I was up till 2:30 on Monday talking to the Anglo-Saxon professor Tolkien who came back with me to College ... and sat discoursing of the gods and giants & Asgard for three hours ..." Gradually, as Lewis spends time with Tolkien and other friends, he admits in his letters to a change of view on religion. In 1930 he writes, "Whereas once I would have said, 'Shall I adopt Christianity', I now wait to see whether it will adopt me ..."

The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis, Volume I offers an inside perspective to Lewis's thinking during his formative years. Walter Hooper's insightful notes and biographical appendix of all the correspondents make this an irreplaceable reference for those curious about the life and work of one of the most creative minds of the modern era.

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The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume 1
Family Letters, 1905-1931

To his brother (LP iii: 63):

Little Lea.
[c. November 1905]

My dear Warnie

Peter has had two un-fortunate aventures since I last wrote, however they came out all right in the end. No. 1, Maude was in her room (up there remember) heard Peter howling. When she came down, what do you think? sitting on the floor ready to spring on Peter was a big black cat. Maude chased it for a long way. I was not able to help matters because I was out on my bych.

The next adventure was not so starling, never the-less it is worth while relating that a mouse got into his cage.

Tim got the head staggers the other day while running on the lawn, he suddenly lay down and began to kick and foam at the mouth and shudder.

On Halow-een we had great [fun?] and had fireworks; rockets, and catterine wheels, squbes, and a kind of thing that you lit and twirled and then they made stars. We hung up an apple and bit at it we got Grandfather down to watch and he tried to bite. Maud got the ring out of the barn-brach and we had apple dumpling with in it a button a ring and a 3 penny bit. Martha got the button, Maude got nothing, and I got the ring and the 3 pence all in one bite. We got some leaves off the road the other day, that is to say the roadmen gave us some that they had got off the road, in fact they wanted them because they make good manure. I am doing french as well as latin now, and I think I like the latin better. Tomorrow I decline that old 'Bonus,' 'Bona,' 'Bonum' thing, but I think it is very hard (not now of course but it was).

Diabolos are all the go here, evrrey body has one except us, I don't think the Lewis temper would hold out do you? Jackie Calwell has one and can do it beautifully (wish I could)

your loving
brother Jacks

To his brother (LP III: 75–6):

Little Lea.
[c. 1906]

My dear Warnie

I am sorrey that I did not write to you before. At present Boxen is slightly convulsed. The news has just reached her that King Bunny is a prisoner. The colonists (who are of course the war party) are in a bad way: they dare scarcely leave their houses because of the mobs. In Tararo the Prussians and Boxonians are at fearful odds against each other and the natives.

Such were the states of affairs recently: but the able general Quicksteppe is taking steps for the rescue of King Bunny. (the news somewhat pacified the rioters.)

your loving
brother Jacks.

To his brother (LP III: 79):

Little Lea.
18 May 1907

My dear Warnie,

Tommy is very well thank you. We have got the telephone in to our house. Is Bennett beter again, as he has been ill you see that you are not the onley boy who stayes at home.

We have nearly seteld that we are going to france this summer, all though I do not like that country I think I shall like the trip, wont you. I liked the card you sent me, I have put it in the album. I was talking to the Greaves through the telephone I wanted Arthur but he was out and I onley got Thom.

I am sorry I can't give you any news about Nearo, but I have not got anny to give. The grass in the front is coming up nicely. It is fearfully hot here. I have got an adia, you know the play I was writing. I think we will try and act it with new stage don't say annything about it not being dark we will have it up stairs and draw the thick curtains and the wight ones, the scenery is rather hard, but still I think we shall do it.

your loving
brother Jacks

The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume 1
Family Letters, 1905-1931
. Copyright © by C. Lewis. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Clive Staples Lewis (1898-1963) was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably one of the most influential writers of his day. He was a Fellow and Tutor in English Literature at Oxford University until 1954, when he was unanimously elected to the Chair of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge University, a position he held until his retirement. He wrote more than thirty books, allowing him to reach a vast audience, and his works continue to attract thousands of new readers every year. His most distinguished and popular accomplishments include Out of the Silent Planet, The Great Divorce, The Screwtape Letters, and the universally acknowledged classics The Chronicles of Narnia. To date, the Narnia books have sold over 100 million copies and have been transformed into three major motion pictures.

Clive Staples Lewis (1898-1963) fue uno de los intelectuales más importantes del siglo veinte y podría decirse que fue el escritor cristiano más influyente de su tiempo. Fue profesor particular de literatura inglesa y miembro de la junta de gobierno en la Universidad Oxford hasta 1954, cuando fue nombrado profesor de literatura medieval y renacentista en la Universidad Cambridge, cargo que desempeñó hasta que se jubiló. Sus contribuciones a la crítica literaria, literatura infantil, literatura fantástica y teología popular le trajeron fama y aclamación a nivel internacional. C. S. Lewis escribió más de treinta libros, lo cual le permitió alcanzar una enorme audiencia, y sus obras aún atraen a miles de nuevos lectores cada año. Sus más distinguidas y populares obras incluyen Las Crónicas de Narnia, Los Cuatro Amores, Cartas del Diablo a Su Sobrino y Mero Cristianismo.

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
Oxford University 1917-1923; Elected fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford in 1925

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The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume 1 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The evolution of "Jack" from a child, to a shallow prig with a brilliant intellect, to the beginnings of a warm, thought-filled adult...As his spiritual life develops, so does he as a man.This is a collection of Lewis's letters up to 1930, mostly to his friend Arthur Greeves, but also to his brother and father. At times the book is dull ....especially when Jack is pontificating as a teen... but post WWI it picks up. His descriptions of his country walks, living a double life toward his father, and his more considered opinions of literature and life are fascinating. I actually reviewed some MacDonald, the GBS novel "Love Among the Artists", and Tristam Shandy after reading Lewis's critiques. Really interesting man.