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|C.S. Lewis: Mere Christian|
by Kathryn Ann Lindskoog
Published by Regal Books, 1973
Recommended by: Greg Slade
This is not a biography, but a summary of Lewis' writing on twelve subjects: God, nature, man, death, heaven, hell, miracles, prayer, pain, love ethics, and truth. Each chapter provides a summary of Lewis' writings on that subject, and concludes with a short bibliography of books, essays, and sermons of particular relevance to that topic. In addition, the book opens with a short biography, and closes with several appendices, including a chronology of Lewis' life, a map of significant places in his life, a list of resources for C.S. Lewis studies, and an annotated bibliography of Lewis' writings.
Lindskoog, who died last year, was one of the pioneers of C.S. Lewis studies. She wrote a thesis on his works while he was still alive, and published several works about Lewis after his death. This present work went through four editions. She was so thoroughly immersed in Lewis' writings that, in reading this book, it is important to pay attention to the punctuation, because without it, it's sometimes hard to tell where she is summarising Lewis and where she is quoting him.
Lindskoog scatters assorted biographical tid-bits throughout the book, and even provides tantalising glimpses into the banter which flashed back and forth between the Inklings during their times together:
The weight of God's displeasure, Williams once told Lewis, was reserved for Job's comforters who tried to show that all was well. "The sort of people," he said, immeasurably dropping his jaw and fixing Lewis with his eyes, "the sort of people who wrote books on the problem of pain." (p. 157)
Of all the resources available as introductions to C.S. Lewis studies, this book has to be among the most useful. There is little, if anything, in this book which will come as a surprise to the dedicated Lewis fan, but it does serve as an admirably concise and complete summary of his written works. (March, 2004)
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