The centennial of C.S. Lewis's birth is upon us, and it is not surprising that a slew of publications mark this milestone, as his popularity continues unabated. In fact, more than 1.5 million copies of his works are sold annually. Lewis (1898-1963) was a professor of English at Oxford and Cambridge, and he made significant contributions in that subject. A Christian apologist who used popular essays and literature to justify belief in Christianity and clarify the elements of belief, he is best known for his children's books (especially the Chronicles of Narnia, begun in 1950 with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe) and his space trilogy, as well as from the recent movie Shadowlands, which portrays his relationship with Joy Davidman, whom he married and soon lost to cancer. The C.S. Lewis Readers' Encyclopedia contains more information about Lewis--than most of us would want to know--good news in the case of all cult figures, for there are those who want to know everything. Major entries on Lewis's chief works, relatives, and acquaintances and lesser entries on almost everything else associated with Lewis--every letter to the editor, every poem, receives its own entry--are arranged alphabetically. All but the briefest articles include a bibliography. Also included are a brief biography; an appendix listing Lewis resources, including web pages, bookstores, centers, and the like; and a chronology of his life. With a perspective influenced by their experience in political science, editors Schultz (coeditor of The Encyclopedia of the Republican Party/The Encyclopedia of the Democratic Party, LJ 11/1/96) and West (The Politics of Revelation and Reason, Univ. Pr. of Kansas, 1996) present articles on those who influenced Lewis (e.g., Aristotle and Aquinas) and on his ideas (e.g., "Friendship," "Prayer," and "Natural Law"). This welcome approach helps to elucidate his thought. This is sure to become an essential reference for students of Lewis's works. The Pilgrim's Guide, concerned specifically with Lewis's Christian beliefs, collects 17 articles by authors who are all committed Christians of a conservative bent. They make no bones about their faith and for the most part agree with Lewis on certain moral issues such as abortion and homosexuality. Some of the essays examine the origins of his thought, others look at his method of apologetics, and still others consider his critique of contemporary Christianity. While this book discusses his children's literature and his space trilogy, it does so in terms of the theology behind them. A fine bibliographical essay by Diana Pavlac Glyer on books and other resources, as well as a Lewis time line, complement the essays. Those who agree with Lewis, and serious students, will find much to like in this collection. In C.S. Lewis: Memories and Reflections, Lawlor (English, emeritus, Univ. of Keele, Great Britain) offers insights into Lewis's personality and little-known details about already-known incidents through this memoir of his friendship with Lewis. (He was Lewis's student, friend, and professional colleague.) Enhanced by the inclusion of previously unpublished correspondence and a previously unpublished photo of Lewis just returned from World War II, this work provides a weighty assessment of Lewis's scholarship and, like the others, defends Lewis from his critics--in this case the literary critics. This makes a welcome addition to Lewis biography. Also for the serious reader, Branches to Heaven looks at Lewis's work for the purpose of examining the inner man and finds an unsettled convert. Como (editor of C.S. Lewis at the Breakfast Table and Other Reminiscences, Harvest: Harcourt, 1992) quotes extensively from the few sermons extant. Like Lawlor, he adds interesting tidbits to the Lewis biography and defends him from his critics. Como generally reexamines Lewis's writing and his life from the perspective of rhetoric and in doing so adds some good insights into Lewis the man.--Augustine J. Curley, O.S.B., Newark Abbey, NJ
Gr 10 Up-This reader's companion offers critique of and explanations for Lewis's books, essays, poems, and even the book reviews he penned. Also included are entries for themes and ideas that appear in his works, as well as biographical entries for his family, friends, and colleagues. The content is wide-ranging, but the topic coverage is often uneven, with pages devoted to some, while others receive a few sentences. Thus, readers looking for a critique of a particular poem might be disappointed. A short biography at the front of the book draws from Lewis's own diaries and letters but is cursory in its comments on his personal feelings. Students may find some of the articles on different themes in Lewis's work useful. However, when so many other critical texts are available, such as Evan Gibson's C. S. Lewis, Spinner of Tales (Christian University Press, 1980) and Walter Hooper's C. S. Lewis-Companion & Guide (Harper, 1996), this book is an additional purchase rather than a substitution for them.-Carol Fazioli, The Brearley School, New York City, NY
More than 800 alphabetically arranged, cross-referenced entries from 43 contributors address all of Lewis's writings and characters as well as the major themes of his work and life. Also included are summaries of letters, prefaces, and book reviews, and a brief biography. No index. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.