Cover image for C.S. Lewis : memories and reflections
C.S. Lewis : memories and reflections
Lawlor, John.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Dallas, Tex. : Spence Pub. Co., 1998.
Physical Description:
xiv, 132 pages ; 23 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PR6023.E926 Z768 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PR6023.E926 Z768 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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This uniquely personal book, the fruit of a thirty-year friendship, offers an intimate portrait of Lewis the tutor, scholar, and friend, along with new insights into his towering literary and scholarly achievement.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

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 (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Part of the flood of materials appearing at the centenary of Lewis's birth (1998), both these volumes are published without notes or in-text citations. This format suggests a popular or general undergraduate audience in the case of Lawlor's book. A one-time pupil of Lewis and a retired academic (Univ. of Keele, UK), Lawlor has written two essays on Lewis (both included here) and edited Patterns of Love and Courtesy: Essays in Memory of C.S. Lewis (1966). His first three chapters are the "memories" of his title: reminiscences of Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Oxford University in their time. The other four chapters "reflect" on Lewis's science fiction, The Chronicles of Narnia, his religious beliefs (compared to Dr. Johnson's), and his scholarly writings. Lawlor offers little that is new but much that is pleasantly written, which makes this a book for casual undergraduate reading or a large public library, more than a scholarly study. Como's book is different: the author (rhetoric and public communication, CUNY, and editor of C.S. Lewis at the Breakfast Table and Other Reminiscences, CH, Nov'79), identifies his audience as "the generally literate reader" interested in learning about Lewis and says he offers "few new facts." Some new facts there are--such as Lewis's nickname, "Jack," coming from a deceased pet dog--but Como also offers an important new interpretation. The first chapter provides a more complex understanding of Lewis's personality than do other books, showing a number of splits in it--not just the traditionally observed one between reason and Romanticism; Como makes a good case for the effect on Lewis of his mother's early death (Como does not do much with this biographical material until he returns to it in his last chapter). Though the book's content is not neatly organized, in general the chapter titled "Grammar" is about the literary influences on Lewis; "Spirit," about the religious influences; "Word," something of an aesthetic for the Narnia books; and "Rhetoric," about Lewis's rhetorical method (including a good discussion of the disposition of the arguments in two nonfiction religious books). The last chapter, "Rhetorica Religii," covers three or four topics and returns to the biographical reading. Como's book will be both frustrating, for its lack of citations and its casual organization, and stimulating for advanced students; this reviewer cannot recommend it for a general or undergraduate readership. The place for libraries to begin in the recent flood of books is with The C. S. Lewis Readers' Encyclopedia, ed. by Jeffrey Schultz and John West with Mike Perry (CH, Feb'99), and with C. S. Lewis: A Companion and Guide, by Walter Hooper (1996). The best of the recent single-author studies is Lionel Adey's C. S. Lewis: Writer, Dreamer, and Mentor (CH, Nov'98). Como and Lawlor's books fall short of these, but they are, in their different ways, useful: Lawlor for public libraries and lower-division undergraduates, Como for large research collections. J. R. Christopher Tarleton State University