From the Library of C. S. Lewis
Selections from Writers Who Influenced His Spiritual Journey
Discover great truths from C. S. Lewis’s mentors
C. S. Lewis was perhaps the greatest Christian thinker of the twentieth century. He delighted us in The Chronicles of Narnia, intrigued us in The Screwtape Letters, mystified us in The Space Trilogy, and convinced us in Mere Christianity. His influence on generations of Christians has been immeasurable.
But who influenced C. S. Lewis? What were the sources of his inspiration? Who were his spiritual mentors? Who were his teachers?
Drawn from Lewis’s personal library, annotations, and references from his writings, the selections in this book bring us into contact with giants such as Dante, Augustine, and Chaucer, as well as introduce us to more contemporary writers such as G. K. Chesterton, Charles Williams, George MacDonald, and J. R. R. Tolkien. Over 250 selections provide a vast array of inspiration from those who have shone forth as messengers of light in Lewis’s own thinking, writing, and spiritual growth.
A rare glimpse into the intellectual, spiritual, and creative life of one of literature’s great writers, From the Library of C. S. Lewis is a treasury of insight and wisdom.
Celebrated essayist, critic and fantasy novelist C.S. Lewis enjoys a posthumous popularity among evangelicals thanks to his defense, mounted in The Screwtape Letters and elsewhere, of traditional Christianity in a modern, secular world. In this collection of short excerpts from authors that Lewis cited favorably either in his own writings or in his library marginalia, Bell, author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Bible, concentrates on religious influences. The selection, grouped according to such themes as "God's Love," "Sin and Temptation," and "Heaven, Death, and Immortality," includes pieces by Church Fathers, from Athanasius to Aquinas; medieval mystics like Julian of Norwich and Francis of Assisi; Reformation-era luminaries like Luther, Calvin and Pascal; and modern clergymen and religious academics like George MacDonald and C.H. Dodd, along with some surprises, like Carl Jung on Jesus and prayers from Samuel Johnson. A few sections devoted to secular writings include critical appreciations of Shakespeare and Jane Austen and poetry by Chaucer, Coleridge and Wordsworth. The pieces are not always well chosen; the snippets of Aquinas convey mostly a sense of arid pedantry, and a eulogistic letter by Lewis's friend J.R.R. Tolkien goes on about obscure academic rivalries. And the emphasis on religious writings lends the book a strongly devotional, pious and sermonizing tone. The collection's most congenial feature for contemporary readers is the heavy dose it provides of G. K. Chesterton, a modern Catholic writer whose punchy, demotic style was a strong influence on Lewis's own popular Christian apologetics.