Alister McGrath Publications

CS Lewis - A Life. Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet

This new biography of Lewis was published in March 2013, to mark the fiftieth anniversary of Lewis’s death in November 1963. The work is based on four years of research, including reading all of Lewis’s published writings in chronological order to understand how his ideas and writing style developed. The work is organized around the three main worlds - real and imagined - that Lewis occupied: Oxford, Narnia, and Cambridge. The main finding of the work is that Lewis’s conversion to belief in God is to be dated to May or (more likely) June 1930, rather than the corresponding period in 1929. This conclusion is the inevitable result of a close reading of Lewis’s writings in chronological order, and it is so obvious I am surprised that nobody noticed it before. I also raise questions about the chronology of Lewis’s move from theism to Christianity. If you would like to see a short video about these matters, click here.

The biography has been very well received by both critics and the general reading public. AN Wilson, who published a major biography of Lewis in 1991, remarked that mine was much better than his. If this is true, it is mainly because so much more has been published, both by Lewis and about Lewis, making a biographer’s task much more interesting today. If you are interested in seeing a few images that were not included in the published version of the biography, you can see them here (with comments): Lewis’s arrival at the Oxford University Officers’ Training Unit (May 1917); the clue about why Lewis joined the Somerset Light Infantry; and the list of candidates for the 1922 Magdalen College classics fellowship.