Theologian, intellectual historian, and apologist
Alister McGrath

The Intellectual World of C.S. Lewis

Eight essays exploring aspects of Lewis’s thought in detail, published by leading academic publisher Wiley-Blackwell in May 2013. None of these essays have been published before. They provide a rigorous scholarly foundation for my biography of Lewis, which will be published three months before this collection of essays.

These eight substantial pieces of research aim to set Lewis in the greater context of the western literary and theological tradition, exploring how he appropriated and modified its narratives, ideas and images. Lewis himself was nourished by this great tradition, which he described as “the clean sea breeze of the centuries,” refreshing and reanimating our ideas and blowing away what is stale and ephemeral. Lewis’s work is not embedded within a Christian sub-culture (though he has clearly found a substantial base of support here), but within the western intellectual tradition as a whole, which enriched and deepened his personal scholarly vision, as he in turn enriched and extended it.

These essays both position Lewis against an informing context, while at the same time encouraging Lewis scholarship to see itself in a deeper and broader intellectual perspective, from which it has much to learn, and to which it has much to contribute. Thus Lewis’s discussion of the nature and significance of “myth” and his extensive and creative use of metaphors based on sight and light locate him within both classic and contemporary discussions of these themes, most notably recent debates about the role of myth in contemporary culture, and the “hegemony of vision” in the western philosophical and literary tradition.


1. The Enigma of Autobiography: Critical Reflections on Surprised by Joy

2. The “New Look”: Lewis’s Philosophical Context at Oxford in the 1920s

3. A Gleam of Divine Truth: The Concept of Myth in Lewis’s Thought

4. The Privileging of Vision: Lewis’s Metaphors of Light, Sun, and Sight

5. Arrows of Joy: Lewis’s Argument from Desire

6. Reason, Experience, and Imagination: Lewis’s Apologetic Method

7. A “Mere Christian”: Anglicanism and Lewis’s Religious Identity

8. Outside the “Inner Ring”: Lewis as a Theologian