Clive Staples Lewis (1898-1963), usually known as C.S. Lewis ("Jack" to his friends), was an Irish-born British writer and scholar of English medieval and renaissance literature. He was a fellow of University of Oxford from 1925 to 1954, and the first Professor of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at University of Cambridge from 1954 until his death.
Despite his long academic career, Lewis is probably better known as a fiction writer (much like his friend and colleague, J.R.R. Tolkien). Among other works, Lewis wrote the "Chronicles of Narnia" children's books, a series of fantasies in which English schoolchildren are transported to a magical land, where they are involved in various heroic (and otherwise) roles. The Narnia books are filled with Christian allegory and assumptions, although many readers don't immediately perceive this.
Lewis believed in Purgatory; he was a member of the Church of England, which is closer to Roman Catholicism than most Protestant sects. The C of E considers itself both "Reformed" and "Catholic," although it has some theological differences both with other Protestants and with the Vatican.
Lewis has been criticized for racism because of his portrayal of Calormen, a country suspiciously similar to the Ottoman Empire, which is almost entirely evil. The people of Calormen, while not particularly like the real Ottomans, were very much like the European stereotypes of Muslims at the time.
Lewis was also a Christian apologist, and some of his arguments are still used today, even though they are complete crap and simply exercises in fallacy after fallacy. And in his book Mere Christianity, he even goes as far as to claim that witch hunts were not morally wrong. Originally an agnostic, he converted to the Church of England in his late twenties under Tolkien's influence (though Tolkien was a devout Roman Catholic). He was arguably a better fiction writer than a logician; his works of fiction are fully enjoyable even if their theological content is entirely ignored.
His other works include:
In literary criticism:
- The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature
- An Allegory of Love: A Study in Medieval Tradition
- A Preface to Paradise Lost
- Surprised by Joy - an autobiography.
- The Screwtape Letters, a series of letters between an apprentice demon, Wormwood (yes, that was a reference in Calvin & Hobbes), and his mentor.
- Mere Christianity - a general apologetic for what Lewis considered basic Christianity.
- Till We Have Faces, A celebrated retelling of the Cupid and Psyche myth from Apuleius intertwined with many existential and even Universalist themes. Lewis called it the best of his novels.
- The Space Trilogy, Somewhat obscure at the moment, but began a magnificent spat of letters with none other than Arthur C. "2001" Clarke. Born from a dare with J.R.R. Tolkien; the two disliked what they perceived as the current dehumanizing trends in science-fiction and dared each other to write a sci-fi book their own way, though Tolkien's book went unfinished.
- The Great Divorce, A Dream-vision novel that 're-interprets' Dante's Divine Comedy.
 Bad habits
He also enjoyed ale and a good pipe. Worse, he was an Anglican, which spells "apostate" as far as American evangelicals are concerned. Then again, American evangelicals have tried to claim Martin Luther King as one of their own after his death when during his lifetime they were denouncing him as a communist and radical agitator, so it is no big surprise they are trying to claim C.S. Lewis as one of their own too. According to Jack Chick he was a Satanist, but then, to Jack Chick everyone is.
He and Tolkien were also good friends and colleagues of W.H. Auden, a poet and open homosexual.
 Critics of apologetics
A thorough analysis of Lewis' Christian apologetics is found in John Beverslius' book C.S. Lewis and the Search for Rational Religion. In the forward, Beverslius states that Lewis is either often treated as an almost-divine oracle or with complete contempt, and neither treatment is deserved. He regards Lewis as having a sensitive and intelligent mind that is simply wrong about Christianity, and as such his arguments should be respectfully dismantled.
A chapter analyzing Lewis' apologetic arguments appears in S.T. Joshi's book God's Defenders: What They Believe and Why they are Wrong.
 Secular critics of Lewis' fiction
Author Philip Pullman is an outspoken critic of Lewis and the underlying values in his Chronicles of Narnia. Pullman has several times noted that his own fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials is written in part to serve as a humanist alternative to the Narnia series.
Salon.com editor Laura Miller wrote a book defending the literary value of the Narnia books for non-believing readers entitled The Magician's Book: A Skeptic's Guide to Narnia. Portions of the book are autobiographical in which Miller discusses her childhood love of Narnia, her subsequent disenchantment when she discovered the Christian subtext of the books, and her later discovery of how to appreciate the books outside of the framework of Lewis' Christianity.
 See also
- ↑ Religious Affiliation of Author/Theologian/Philosopher C. S. Lewis, Adherents
- ↑ 
- ↑ A rift did form between the two men, but it had more to do with writing style than religion - Tolkien strongly disliked Lewis's use of allegory - and the fact that Lewis's marriage caused them to drift apart.