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All My Road Before Me: The Diary of C. S. Lewis, 1922-1927 1st Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0156027960
ISBN-10: 0156027968
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

As an Oxford undergraduate, Lewis set up house with Janie King Moore, a woman 26 years his senior who was separated from her husband, and her daughter Maureen. Lewis's liaison with "Mrs. Moore," which he kept secret from his father, was probably sexual, according to Hooper, Lewis's biographer and personal secretary. This diary, a disarming self-portrait of Lewis as sensual, self-assured atheist and clandestine family man will chiefly interest scholars and hardcore Lewis devotees. Mostly a humdrum, skeletal recital of household chores, conversations and the academic grind, the journal's tedium is relieved by soaring passages on nature's beauty, thumbnail sketches of Lewis's friends and quick comments on his wide-ranging reading, from Beowulf to Hardy, Nietzsche, Jung and Havelock Ellis.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

This is a detailed account of Lewis's twenties, during which, while living with Mrs. Janie Moore and her daughter Maureen, he struggled to win a fellowship at Oxford. Though cut by one-third, it may still prove tedious to all but Lewis's most devoted followers. Written at least partly for the entertainment of Moore (identified as "D"), the diary dwells on Lewis's friends, books, and reactions to the surrounding landscape, rarely on the inner circumstances that would soon prompt his conversion to Christianity. Lewis's diary does, however, furnish a vivid picture of post-World War I Oxford and helps explain the easy erudition he brought to such works as The Allegory of Love . Owen Barfield's foreword is helpful, but Hooper's notes are virtually useless.
- Charles C. Nash, Cottey Coll., Nevada, Mo.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 536 pages
  • Publisher: Harvest Books; 1 edition (December 16, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156027968
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156027960
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,222,988 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The UK paperback edition has a shiny, lurid and embarrassing cover. Harper/Collins was clearly trying to flog this book to the religious crowd, presumably on the grounds that the author of this diary wrote, years later and among other things, religious works: a tenuous connection, one would think. Ignore the cover.
I'm not really a connoisseur of private diaries, so my words should not be taken too seriously: but I did enjoy this. It's for admirers of C.S. Lewis and graduate students. It filled me with a desire to go through the diary page by page, and read, or at least nibble on, every book Lewis mentions as having read. (If you seriously plan to do this, good luck: I recommend that you start by living next to a rich library at least a hundred years old.)
But let the buyer beware of two things ... Firstly: this is not really a private diary, since it was written to be read to a Mrs Moore, who is one of the most prominent characters in it. If you want some sort of insight into the relationship between Lewis and Moore, give up on the idea, for there is none to be had, here or anywhere else. Secondly: the diary has been edited by Walter Hooper. He claims that he only removed the dull and repetitive bits. Yes, well.
I suppose you should also be warned that the diary gives the impression that 1920s England was populated almost entirely by intelligent nitwits who blathered unintelligbly about metaphysics. Maybe this is true. It also gives the impression that everyone in 1920s England was languishing under the tyranny of idealism, which is false: G.E. Moore and Bertrand Russell, and soon almost everyone, would have none of it. But one cannot understand why Lewis came to believe what he did until one realises how strong this tyranny once was.
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Format: Paperback
As someone who has read nearly every Lewis title in print, my conclusion about the diary is that it is entertaining in places, is good for giving a feel for what day to day life was like for the author as he was made the transition from student to teacher, and gives fuller information about some of the characters anonymously or only briefly described in SURPRISED BY JOY and LETTERS OF C.S. LEWIS. I doubt, though, that anyone other than a Lewis enthusiast would enjoy the book. It is rather banal, certainly not on par with his later writing, and indeed rather provincial. I recommend it for Lewis scholars as reference material, but not for general reading. His brother Warren Lewis kept a far more interesting diary, posthumously published as BROTHERS AND FRIENDS.
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Format: Paperback
I have always been a big fan of C.S. Lewis and this book is just one more glorious example of his skill and his intuitive writing. In fact, his diary gives us a clear picture of the man he was, and the man God was to make of him in later years. God's gifts are irrevocable and this book is a testament to that reality. C.S. Lewis was given an amazing talent to write and in his diary I can see the shaping of his mind and his heart, long before he professed to be a Christian. There is something so humble and unassuming about Mr. Lewis' writings. He was, in essence, a very simple man who led a complex mental life. I finished this book with a sense of amazement at the grace of God, who used an atheist to give the world a clearer picture of Christianity and all that it stands for. C.S. Lewis' words are always encouraging, even in his days as an unbeliever, he still managed to write reflectively and with an imcomparable sincerity. This book/diary is worth its weight in gold!
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Format: Paperback
I think that few people who aren't serious students of C. S. Lewis will find this item very interesting. Although Lewis was urged to write it by "his adopted mother" Mrs. Moore, it really appears to be a typical diary, filled with a lot of mundane details of life. For example, a substantial amount of space is devoted to recounting the routes Lewis took in walking the family dog, Pat. Of course, Lewis was a professional writer, and his descriptions of the weather and landscapes he encountered on his walks are not completely without interest, but they'd probably be of a lot more interest to people familiar with the Oxford area than the rest of us.

Nevertheless, I think that people with a deep interest in Lewis's life will be glad they read this diary. It certainly helped correct my faulty impression that all those affiliated with Oxford a century ago were members of the leisure class. Lewis, the intellectual, spent a lot of his life being Lewis, the household laborer--scrubbing floors, painting rooms, preparing food, mowing the lawn, cleaning the kitchen, etc. And walking wasn't just a form of recreation for Lewis's household, it was a major form of transportation (as was bike riding). Furthermore, there's a lot of data in this diary that ought to be taken into account when analyzing the nature of Lewis's relationship with Mrs. Moore. I think I understand that relationship even less after reading this diary than I did before, but at least my previous impressions have been proven to be rather simplistic.

Finally, interspersed among the day-to-day details are accounts of some remarkable events, most notably that of Dr. John Hawkins Askins' descent into madness. Quite harrowing.
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