Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life / Edition 1
First published in 1956, Surprised by Joy concentrates on Lewis's childhood and adolescence up to his final year at Oxford. Born in Belfast into a bookish family, Lewis was captivated at an early age by the power of the imagination, writing and illustrating his own stories and creating elaborate mythical lands with his brother. It is one of the special pleasures of this autobiography that Lewis writes with the immediacy of an eyewitness, rather than with the distance of a literary elder recalling memories of the past. The passions of his youth - the ancient Greeks and Romans, Norse mythology, Wagnerian music - come alive, as do the painful rituals of the English boarding schools he attended. Equally absorbing is Lewis's slow spiritual transition from conventional Christianity to confirmed pessimism to reluctant but rational conversion.