From Publishers Weekly
Celebrated essayist, critic and fantasy novelist C.S. Lewis enjoys a posthumous popularity among evangelicals thanks to his defense, mounted in The Screwtape Letters and elsewhere, of traditional Christianity in a modern, secular world. In this collection of short excerpts from authors that Lewis cited favorably either in his own writings or in his library marginalia, Bell, author of The Complete Idiots Guide to the Bible, concentrates on religious influences. The selection, grouped according to such themes as "Gods Love," "Sin and Temptation," and "Heaven, Death, and Immortality," includes pieces by Church Fathers, from Athanasius to Aquinas; medieval mystics like Julian of Norwich and Francis of Assisi; Reformation-era luminaries like Luther, Calvin and Pascal; and modern clergymen and religious academics like George MacDonald and C.H. Dodd, along with some surprises, like Carl Jung on Jesus and prayers from Samuel Johnson. A few sections devoted to secular writings include critical appreciations of Shakespeare and Jane Austen and poetry by Chaucer, Coleridge and Wordsworth. The pieces are not always well chosen; the snippets of Aquinas convey mostly a sense of arid pedantry, and a eulogistic letter by Lewiss friend J.R.R. Tolkien goes on about obscure academic rivalries. And the emphasis on religious writings lends the book a strongly devotional, pious and sermonizing tone. The collections most congenial feature for contemporary readers is the heavy dose it provides of G. K. Chesterton, a modern Catholic writer whose punchy, demotic style was a strong influence on Lewiss own popular Christian apologetics.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“This is the perfect entrance to the world C. S. Lewis inhabited, and it arrives just when that world of books is under threat of extinction. Thanks to those who have given us such a gold mine.”
–Walter Hooper, Literary Advisor to the C. S. Lewis Estate, one of the world’s leading authorities on the life and works of C. S. Lewis, and the editor of dozens of Lewis’s works
“This is a knowledgeable and inspired selection from what C. S. Lewis called the ‘old books’ that nurtured his mind, spirit, and imagination. All who love the writings of the master will enjoy these engaging passages from the vast range of Lewis’s reading and relish the light that they cast upon his concerns.”
–Colin Duriez, author of A Field Guide to Narnia, Tolkien and C. S. Lewis,
and The C. S. Lewis Encyclopedia
“C. S. Lewis, one of the great men of letters of the twentieth century, loved books. To truly know Lewis, one must become familiar with the body of literature that marked his life. Jim Bell and Tony Dawson give curious students of Lewis a glimpse of the books and authors that informed his life’s work and kindled his imagination.”
–Jerry Root, assistant professor of Christian Formation and Ministry at Wheaton College, co-editor of The Quotable C. S. Lewis
and C. S. Lewis scholar
“One of the great benefits of reading C. S. Lewis is his singular ability to introduce his own readers to the works of other authors. In this volume, Bell and Dawson have made it easier for us to uncover the literary influences and preferences that characterized Lewis’s own reading. The editors have arranged these excerpts around a variety of appealing subjects such as fantasy and imagination, suffering, prayer and contemplation, and God’s love. This arrangement invites the reader to enter into the selections devotionally–to enjoy and benefit from these literary treasures much as Lewis himself did. This book is an excellent resource for those interested in meeting new authors, as well as a wonderful way to remind ourselves of favorite texts too long neglected.”
–Marjorie Lamp Mead, associate director of The Marion E. Wade Center, Wheaton College, co-editor of Brothers and Friends: The Diaries of Major Warren Hamilton Lewis
and C. S. Lewis: Letters to Children