C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), tutor and professor of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Oxford and Cambridge Universities, was a writer of prose and poetry in the areas of his academic field, literary criticism, fantasy, and Christian apologetics. While his literary efforts have enjoyed critical acceptance, it is as an apologist for the Christian faith and a writer of fantasy for children that his fame continues more than fifty years after his death. For countless persons, he has been responsible for explaining Christianity in a manner that has not been achieved by any other writer.
Raised in Northern Ireland, he attended schools both there and in England, finally graduating from University College, Oxford. In his early teens, Jack, as he was called from the age of four, renounced his early nominal Christian faith and declared himself an atheist. In 1925 he began an almost thirty year career as tutor in Magdalen College, Oxford before going to Cambridge University in 1954, where he attained the rank of full professor, something denied him at Oxford.
After much reading, searching, and the influence of his friends at Oxford, Lewis came to a belief in God and shortly thereafter became a Christian in 1931. For the rest of his life, in addition to maintaining his full academic duties, Lewis's books on Christian theology and the Christian life were instrumental in aiding many people to embrace the faith or to come to a more vibrant understanding of it. In Mere Christianity, Lewis sought "to explain and defend the belief that has been common to nearly all Christians at all times." Hence, Christians of almost all denominations were able to embrace his clear exposition of the faith.
In the 1950's, Lewis turned to writing fantasies for children. This series of seven books, The Chronicles of Narnia, told the story of modern children being transported to a fictional world where the great lion, Aslan, guides them through their many adventures. Christian concepts are latent throughout the stories. Also, in the '50s, Lewis married Joy Davidman Gresham, an American who had corresponded with him. Their marriage was one of the happiest periods of his life. Her death four years later severely tested, but did not overcome, his faith. Lewis continued to expound the Christian faith until his own death three years later.
Summary by Bill McClain
The New York C.S. Lewis Society
Lewis was elected a fellow of Magdalen College Oxford in 1925 and had rooms in the New Building until the end of 1954 when he was elected to the Chair of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge University.
“Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses.” C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory