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C. S. Lewis: A Life

On sale

10th October 2013

Price: £12.99

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Selected: Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781444745542

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The recent Narnia films have inspired a resurgence of interest in C. S. Lewis, the Oxford academic, popular theologian and, most famously, creator of the magical world of Narnia – and this authoritative new biography, published to mark the 50th anniversary of Lewis’s death, sets out to introduce him to a new generation. Completely up to date with scholarly studies of Lewis, it also focuses on how Lewis came to write the Narnia books, and why they have proved so consistently engaging.

Accessible and engaging, this new biography will appeal to fans of the films, readers of Lewis and of theologian and apologist Alister McGrath himself.


The Lady
McGarth's illuminating book has benefited from access to recently released archive of material that throws new light of Lewis's unconventional affair with the Irish divorcee Jane Moore, his life at Oxford and his conversion to Christianity.
The Glass
McGrath has certainly done as good a job as anyone, and a lot better than many.
Publishers Weekly, starred review
To the question of whether the world really needs another biography of C. S. Lewis, McGrath's lucid and unsentimental portrait of the Christian champion responds with a resounding "yes." The year 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of Lewis's death, and times have changed and evangelical sentiments have matured. McGrath offers a new and at times shocking look into the complicated life of this complex figure, in a deeply researched biography. The author takes us headlong into the heart of a Lewis we've known little about: his unconventional affair with Mrs. Jane Moore; his hostile and deceptive relationship with his father; his curiosity about the sensuality of cruelty. McGrath navigates the reader through these messy themes, ultimately landing us onto the solid ground of Lewis's postconversion legacy. He shows with skill, sympathy, dispassion, and engaging prose that Lewis, like the rest of us, did the best he could with the hand he was dealt. But he got over it, as must all those who would prefer a Lewis without shadows.
N. T. Wright
Many of us thought we knew most of what there was to know about C. S. Lewis. Alister McGrath's new biography makes use of archives and other material that clarify, deepen and further explain the many sides of one of Christianity's most remarkable apologists. This is a penetrating and illuminating study.
Timothy Keller
Alister McGrath's new biography of C. S. Lewis is excellent. It's filled with information based on extensive scholarship but is nonetheless extremely readable. It not only devotes great attention to the formation and character of Lewis the man, it offers incisive and balanced analyses of all his main literary works. Lewis's impact on me was profound and lasting, and Dr McGrath clearly explains why so many believers and Christians leaders today would say the same thing.
Michael Ward, author of <I>Planet Narnia</I>
A welcome addition to the biographical literature on C. S. Lewis, which includes several valuable new perspectives. McGrath's book will gain a permanent position in Lewis scholarship for his brilliant and, to my mind, undeniable re-dating of Lewis's conversion to Theism. How we all missed this for so long is astonishing!
Eric Metaxas, author of <I>Bonhoeffer</I>
Alister McGrath sheds new light on the incomparable C. S. Lewis. This is an important book.
Booklist, starred review
This biography is the one Lewis's admirers - especially those who, like him, believe that books are to be read and enjoyed - should prefer to all others.
Johnny Douglas - Together
McGrath's account of Lewis offers much that is fresh and new. It captures his eccentricities, abilities, strengths and perplexities! There is meaning, wisdom, beauty and much understanding made possible throughout. There is a wholeness, complexity and delight to the Lewis that we meet in this majestic work. Language, detail and new territory are well covered in McGrath's work. Fresh insight and new imaginations emerge. The analysis is searing and reflects a close reading of Lewis's work and a maverick, gutsy talent oozes from this title. If you love Lewis and want to know what was really going on, read McGrath first. This is one of the most beautiful volumes ever held. Photos, research, insight and challenge are all powerfully combined. Hodder are to be congratulated on this.
BBC Website
Alister McGrath writes on The religious symbolism behind the Chronicles of Narnia for the BBC
Alister McGrath appearance on Songs of Praise to speak about C. S. Lewis:
The Church Times
Spent a number of weeks in the Church Times' Top Books feature
Paul Richardson, Church of England Newspaper
McGarth has written a key book on Lewis... an excellent job explaining some of Lewis ideas.
Peter Francis, The Newspaper Summer
This work ticks all the boxes by being beautifully written, meticulously researched as well as illuminating and thought-provoking.
Philip Womach, Telegraph
McGarth is a clear-eyed, learned companion. His analysis of the Narnia books is illuminating.
The Spectator
Alister gives us much food for thought in the dutiful, sound and worthy book.' - Paul Johnson