Becoming C. S. Lewis, Volume 1
"This excellent work will have readers eagerly anticipating the next volume." --Publishers WeeklyThe writings of C. S. Lewis cannot be fully understood apart from a grasp of his formative adolescent years. Unfortunately, many biographies speed over this important season of Lewis's life.Slowing down to focus on his younger years, this detailed portrait of "Jack" Lewis helps us discover seeds of what would inform his later writings--such as his delight in literature, his key relationships, his suffering and struggles, and his intense pursuit of joy.The chapters unfold the habits and tastes he developed while at boarding school, in college, and in the army, revealing where we see these themes appear in his works--bringing to life the man readers have come to know as C. S. Lewis. Volume 1 in a trilogy offering a comprehensive view of the life of C. S. Lewis.

Becoming C. S. Lewis, Volume 1 Details

TitleBecoming C. S. Lewis, Volume 1
Author
ReleaseNov 12th, 2019
PublisherCrossway Books
ISBN-139781433562730
Rating
GenreBiography

Becoming C. S. Lewis, Volume 1 Review

  • Becky
    January 1, 1970
    Who is the primary audience of this new biography? I would say that it would most appeal to scholars. A strong interest in history, literature, philosophy, the first world war would certainly help. A love of Lewis' writing--his literary essays, his philosophy, his nonfiction, his fiction--would be an absolute must. It isn't enough to merely love and adore the Chronicles of Narnia. One must equally love and adore his other books and articles as well. The premise of this one is simple, "During his Who is the primary audience of this new biography? I would say that it would most appeal to scholars. A strong interest in history, literature, philosophy, the first world war would certainly help. A love of Lewis' writing--his literary essays, his philosophy, his nonfiction, his fiction--would be an absolute must. It isn't enough to merely love and adore the Chronicles of Narnia. One must equally love and adore his other books and articles as well. The premise of this one is simple, "During his school days, the boy who would grow to become C. S. Lewis formed his most important tastes in music, art, literature, companionship, religion, sports, and almost every other aspect of life. While his ideas and critical thought about what he liked and disliked would change, his basic preferences came together during this period and formed the foundation out of which his later life grew." And..."The questions of C. S. Lewis that began to form in his mind during childhood and adolescence would compel him toward answers that resulted in his conversion to faith in Jesus Christ many years later."But above all else, this one requires an enormous amount of patience--the patience of a saint, perhaps?! It is tedious, cumbersome work. Unless you are incredibly curious to know about smallest details of his daily life, year after year after year after year...one could probably sum up everything you really needed to know about this time period in his life in about a hundred pages--maybe 112 pages.This one is idea-driven. What ideas did C.S. Lewis hold during his childhood and adolescence? When did those ideas form? Did those ideas change throughout these years? Did these ideas change as he became an adult? Did they ever change? To what extent did he stay the same and to what extent did he change? What books did he read? When did he read them? Did he reread them? Did he talk about them with anyone? Did his opinions on those books, on those authors change over time? Are there any parallels between his own books that he would later write and those that he read? Are there any similar themes? What relationships were significant to him when he was eight? when he was nine? when he was ten? when he was eleven? when he was twelve? when he was thirteen? ETC. So many WORDS. It's not that I didn't care at all. It's that I didn't care all that much. For example, do we really need to know how often a young Jack Lewis thought about sex? which friends he discussed sex with? what his sexual fantasies were? who he fantasized about? how Lewis viewed women at this time in his life? where he got his views of women from? I pick on this one issue--which I consider almost non-relevant to C.S. Lewis the author and theologian revered by Christian masses. Almost. I mean, I suppose it shows his fallenness. But still. And this is just one example. All that being said...I can't deny the book was well-researched. He obviously spent A LOT of time finding out EVERY LITTLE THING he possibly could about C.S. Lewis. And I do believe there are a handful of readers in the world who will care because they share a similar obsession with anything and everything Lewis related. The details go to the extreme. But it's a solid read.
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  • Bob H
    January 1, 1970
    This is a well-researched and intriguing biography of C.S. Lewis, the author and lay theologian, and is the first of a three-volume work. Here, the book covers the first 20 years of Lewis' life, his formative years of his origins in Northern Ireland, his school years in England and his time on the Western Front in the latter part of WWI. It would be an eventful, often troubled boyhood, with harsh "public" (i.e., private upper-class) schools and his eventual tribulations in the war; it was a This is a well-researched and intriguing biography of C.S. Lewis, the author and lay theologian, and is the first of a three-volume work. Here, the book covers the first 20 years of Lewis' life, his formative years of his origins in Northern Ireland, his school years in England and his time on the Western Front in the latter part of WWI. It would be an eventful, often troubled boyhood, with harsh "public" (i.e., private upper-class) schools and his eventual tribulations in the war; it was a period that young Lewis would pick up an uneven education, encounter the rigors of puberty and fall out of religious belief.The author, a C.S. Lewis scholar, has had the benefit of newly published memoirs, letters and material, and has also explored archives in Oxford and elsewhere. This book does draw out more detail about Lewis' life, even more than Lewis would describe in his own autobiography Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life. The author could have kept to this outline but has filled out Lewis' account with much more context and detail.In a way, this book could be titled "The Education of C.S. Lewis" because it traces young Lewis' literary tastes, philosophy studies, intellectual habits and formative interests. We also learn of his socializing, usually negative, in school and his formative time later with a private tutor, W. T. Kirkpatrick, who seems to have been a gifted teacher and a good mentor. We even learn about Lewis' early erotic interests, along with those of his closest boyhood friend, Arthur Greeves, who unlike Lewis seems to have developed same-sex interests as well as shared intellectual interests. Lewis did spend a brief time at Oxford, much of it in officer training, and come to realize that the poshy disdain of the "bloods" -- upper-class boys he had encountered at school -- would not be there when he came back from the war, for many of the "bloods" would not come back from the trenches. All of this, the author tells us, is what would form C.S. Lewis.The author does leap forward in his narrative a bit, foreshadowing Lewis' later Oxford friendship with his literary "Inklings" circle, notably influential friends like J.R.R. Tolkien and Hugo Dyson, and their re-conversion of Lewis back to Christianity. This comes later, for Lewis at 20, in 1918, was yet to find fame and intellectual maturity, and just beginning to settle in at Oxford. Still, we see him on the cusp of a greater life, and the author shows considerable empathy in telling Lewis' story so far. His description of the educational milieu of Britain, its religious and social life, is perceptive and clear, and we learn much of Lewis' times, not just his early life. Highly recommend -- and I look forward to the next volume.Read in advance-reading copy from Amazon Vine. Publication due out Nov. 2019.
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  • Kimberly
    January 1, 1970
    Becoming C. S. Lewis (1898–1918): A Biography of Young Jack Lewis by [Poe, Harry Lee]I found this book, Becoming C.S. Lewis, to be a well-researched volume. This is to be the first of three-volumes on the gentleman. It talks about the first 20 years of Lewis' life. His time in Northern Ireland, England and in WWI. He had his troubles during this time - his education was hit and miss, and difficulties with religion.The author, Harry Lee Poe was able to use his research, including recent published Becoming C. S. Lewis (1898–1918): A Biography of Young Jack Lewis by [Poe, Harry Lee]I found this book, Becoming C.S. Lewis, to be a well-researched volume. This is to be the first of three-volumes on the gentleman. It talks about the first 20 years of Lewis' life. His time in Northern Ireland, England and in WWI. He had his troubles during this time - his education was hit and miss, and difficulties with religion.The author, Harry Lee Poe was able to use his research, including recent published letters, memoirs and more to show the details of Lewis' life,I found this book to be very thorough and knowledgeable. I highly recommend it.I was given this book by NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Brian
    January 1, 1970
    Becoming C. S. Lewis follows the life of Jack Lewis from birth to his transition to adulthood at age 20 following World War I. The book focuses quite a bit on his school years and the literally influences and atheist world view he developed during that time. Harry Lee Poe, a Christian scholar, sets this as part 1 of a trilogy he is writing about Lewis life and conversion to Christianity. He shows how the groundwork for his faith is being set up during his formative years and after world war I he Becoming C. S. Lewis follows the life of Jack Lewis from birth to his transition to adulthood at age 20 following World War I. The book focuses quite a bit on his school years and the literally influences and atheist world view he developed during that time. Harry Lee Poe, a Christian scholar, sets this as part 1 of a trilogy he is writing about Lewis life and conversion to Christianity. He shows how the groundwork for his faith is being set up during his formative years and after world war I he has shifted from materialism towards an agnostic view after being in the trenches. In addition to the complicated life with his family the book also explores his outlook on being Irish in an English society and his views on Home Rule shaping throughout the book. From his intellectual development to his love of literature this is probably the most in depth study written to date on C. S. Lewis formative years. If you are interested in biographies of authors, then this is a must read but if you are looking for a more casual biography of Lewis than this will likely be overkill.
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  • George1st
    January 1, 1970
    As Harry Lee Poe demonstrates by counting the number of pages devoted to C. S. Lewis's influential and formative adolescent years found in their books, many previous Lewis biographies tend to devote insufficient space in examining this crucial period. This is rather surprising as Lewis himself in his autobiographical work Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life fully acknowledged this period's importance to his later development. This fully researched book drawing on material from the As Harry Lee Poe demonstrates by counting the number of pages devoted to C. S. Lewis's influential and formative adolescent years found in their books, many previous Lewis biographies tend to devote insufficient space in examining this crucial period. This is rather surprising as Lewis himself in his autobiographical work Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life fully acknowledged this period's importance to his later development. This fully researched book drawing on material from the eleven-volume Lewis papers and his lifelong correspondence with his boyhood friend Arthur Greeves demonstrates the importance of how Lewis's voracious early reading of Greek and Norse mythology together with folklore would shape not only his own later writing but would be an important factor in his later conversion (he lost his faith while at school) to Christianity. We learn of his rather miserable and unhappy time spent after his mother's death at various English private schools before being somewhat rescued and then intellectually flourishing (after leaving Malvern College) by studying privately with William T. Kirkpartrick his father's old tutor at his Surrey home. This book is actually my first introduction to C. S. Lewis and although despite some of the complex themes associated with the acceptance of faith I found in quite accessible. Although the writer and publisher's of this book are avowedly Christian this should not put off the more agnostically or aesthetically inclined reader who seeks a thought provoking and challenging read. I would certainly recommend this to those who seek an understanding of a rather complex and influential character.
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  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    C.S. Lewis concentrated heavily on his incredibly harrowing school days in his autobiography, yet many biographers think that their effect on him has been exaggerated! Professor Poe noticed this, and decided to restore Lewis's young life back into prominence. This was when his tastes and dislikes were formed - the older C.S. Lewis still liked and disliked the same things. This was also when he read the books which eventually led him to Christianity.Poe delves deeply into Lewis's dark school C.S. Lewis concentrated heavily on his incredibly harrowing school days in his autobiography, yet many biographers think that their effect on him has been exaggerated! Professor Poe noticed this, and decided to restore Lewis's young life back into prominence. This was when his tastes and dislikes were formed - the older C.S. Lewis still liked and disliked the same things. This was also when he read the books which eventually led him to Christianity.Poe delves deeply into Lewis's dark school days, his relationships with his father and brother, his friendship with Arthur Greeves and his atheism and conversion. He spends much of the book Lewis's reading and how it influenced him to become a Professor of Medieval and Renaissance Literature, and, more importantly, to become a Christian. The conflict between the materialist philosophy and atheism of his teacher and his spiritual leanings is especially interesting, although heavy.Any fan of C.S. Lewis will enjoy this deeply thought-out and insightful look at the great man. I am sure that Lewis himself would be pleased with this book!I received this free ebook from NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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  • Shar
    January 1, 1970
    I thoroughly enjoyed this charming walk through the early years of the life of C.S. Lewis. My knowledge of him prior to reading this biography was pretty much limited to The Chronicles of Narnia! So I can’t possibly give an opinion on the content being accurate but I very much got the impression that this is a well-researched and honest biography. It is focused on the education of Lewis and shows us how he began to develop from schoolboy to author, his influences and inspiration, it also covers I thoroughly enjoyed this charming walk through the early years of the life of C.S. Lewis. My knowledge of him prior to reading this biography was pretty much limited to The Chronicles of Narnia! So I can’t possibly give an opinion on the content being accurate but I very much got the impression that this is a well-researched and honest biography. It is focused on the education of Lewis and shows us how he began to develop from schoolboy to author, his influences and inspiration, it also covers C.S. Lewis’s religious life and endeavours. If like me you know almost nothing about this man whose works are legendry – this is a book for you – I am looking forward to the next volume – the author writes in such a way that the information is easy to read, understand, digest and remember. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher Crossway for allowing me to read the Kindle edition in return for my honest opinion and review
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  • Darlene
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book from Netgalley for review and all thoughts and opinions are my own. After reading this delightful biography on the early years of C. S. Lewis's , I have gained an entirely new perspective on the man, his reading life, his likes and dislikes, and his own works. There are several factors that affected the boy , his education and philosophy that surprised and enlightened me. His path to Christianity was ordained by Almighty God and a fascinating journey. Each of his lectures, I received this book from Netgalley for review and all thoughts and opinions are my own. After reading this delightful biography on the early years of C. S. Lewis's , I have gained an entirely new perspective on the man, his reading life, his likes and dislikes, and his own works. There are several factors that affected the boy , his education and philosophy that surprised and enlightened me. His path to Christianity was ordained by Almighty God and a fascinating journey. Each of his lectures, stories and tales are referenced quite deeply here and worthy of study.
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  • Cristie Underwood
    January 1, 1970
    This was an in depth look at the impact beloved author C.S. Lewis' younger years had on his later writing. I found out so many new facts about this author and enjoyed this immensely!
  • Maudaevee
    January 1, 1970
    This was an interesting biography, it focused on just the early (considered more formative) years of C.S. Lewis's life. It was well researched and I think a good view into those years.
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