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Jack: A Life of C. S. Lewis Paperback – June 20, 2005
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About the Author
GEORGE SAYER (1914–2005) was head of the English department at Malvern College in Worcestershire until his retirement in 1974. While there, he and Lewis held long literary discussions on their frequent walks in the countryside. Sayer and Lewis maintained a long friendship.
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Top Customer Reviews
Sayer includes/lets you into a part of Lewis' private world, as does Douglas Gresham in his wonderful book, and to me these are valuable things. Sure it is good to learn about the negative elements, and to bring your idols back down to earth, but it's equally as important to hear what is good about them, for this is why they are to be admired in the first place. To that extent, this is a great book, and perhaps the first you should read, if you intend to read books about Lewis. It's not perfect, but it doesn't have an agenda either, and when it comes to Lewis scholarship, that is a rare thing.
The most interesting part for me: the anecdote about Joy Davidman having a penchant for using the "F" word. I could do nothing but smile.. . . just like Lewis to marry such a salty woman.
This biography can be read with novel-like enthusiasm by even peripheral Lewisites... and those of us already up to our necks will not mind holding our breath as this book rolls over us. Rather than use this forum to berate another popular Lewis biography whose author has the initials A.N.W., I'll just say that this one is a clear note that rings true.
The great problem in C. S. Lewis scholarship at the moment is that the bulk of the books dealing with his life tend to be overwhelmingly pious and respectful (the St. Jack bios) or intent on tearing holes in that portrait (A. N. Wilson). What we really need is a first rate biography that manages to capture the magic and appeal of Lewis's personality, explains his ongoing intellectual and imaginative appeal, and yet does not willfully overlook the man's flaws. Sayer captures the personality marvelously, gives some hints as to his intellectual appeal, but presents a fairly sanitized version of Lewis's life. No doubt this is out of respect and affection, but Lewis doesn't emerge as a warm flesh and blood human being. For instance, while alluding to his relationship with Mrs. Moore, Sayer assumes a position of agnosticism as to its nature. It is an important if disturbing chapter in Lewis's life, because it potentially reveals a great deal about his personality.
One thing that does emerge in Sayer's biography is the closed reserve that Lewis seems to have carried with him all his life. On the one hand, Lewis seems to have been a very accomodating, kind, and helpful soul, and yet, he is hard to get to know. One gets to know his thoughts, and yet never gets to know the man who thinks them.Read more ›
George Sayer knew CS Lewis from 1934 until Lewis' death in 1963, first as a tutor, later as a friend, and finally as an extremely close friend.
While other biographies have been written by persons with axes to grind or by persons whose own connection to Lewis was minimal, Sayer writes from the perspective of a true insider.
While he minces no words -- the "difficult" aspects of Lewis' life are certainly explored in-depth, he treats the subject with respect and true affection.
Mr. Sayer is, himself, a career academic in the field of English, and thus is able to enlighten the casual reader about aspects about the "literary Lewis" which would otherwise not be recognized. I've been a Lewis fan for 25 years and yet was unaware of his significant contributions in the field of literary criticism. Also enjoyable was the discussion of Lewis' own tastes in reading as well as his major influences.
While the influence Charles Williams had on Lewis (especially in "That Hideous Strength") was addressed, I was disappointed that Tolkien's influence on Lewis was minimized. This was, I believe, an oversight.
All in all, though, I highly recommend this extremely readable volume.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fantastic book if you're wanting the full insight in to C.S. Lewis' life! It's a must read if you're a fan of his.Published 3 months ago by km2012
I've read a lot of Lewis' writings down through the years. This book introduced me to the real human being who penned the words.Published 4 months ago by vinceinfranklin
I'm biased. I'm a fan of C.S. Lewis, I think that read everything that he's written, including his "OHEL", and his 4 volumes of letters.Published 6 months ago by R. G. Kline
An outstanding first-person view of the life of one of the 20th century's best and brightest. Sayer's work is the very best biography I have read regarding the details of Lewis's... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
This book was written by a friend a pupil of C.S. Lewis and so it is not just research and guessing. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Hayli
This was a well written tribute, written by a man who knew Lewis first as tutor, then as friend. I especially liked the synopsis he writes of the major literary works of Lewis. Read morePublished 17 months ago by crowwoman
Great read and exactly as described and delivered right on time.Published 18 months ago by Thomas W. Harris