C. S. Lewis Other literary forms

Other literary forms

(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

Although his novels for adults and children continue to be widely read and admired, C. S. Lewis is also well known as a religious essayist and literary scholar-critic. His religious writings of three decades include autobiography (The Pilgrim’s Regress, 1933; Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life, 1955; A Grief Observed, 1961) and essays in varying lengths and forms. Some of his essays include The Personal Heresy (1939; with E. M. W. Tillyard), Rehabilitations (1939), The Problem of Pain (1940), The Abolition of Man (1943), Miracles: A Preliminary Study (1947), Mere Christianity (1952), Reflections on the Psalms (1958), and The Four Loves (1960). His works of a religious nature that were published after Lewis’s death include Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer (1964), Letters to an American Lady (1967), God in the Dock (1970), and The Joyful Christian: 127 Readings from C. S. Lewis (1977).

Lewis’s criticism, focused primarily on medieval and Renaissance studies, includes The Allegory of Love (1936), A Preface to “Paradise Lost” (1942), English Literature in the Sixteenth Century, Excluding Drama (1954), Studies in Words (1960), An Experiment in Criticism (1961), and The Discarded Image (1964). Several volumes of criticism appeared posthumously, including Spenser’s Images of Life (1967), Selected Literary Essays (1969), and Present Concerns (1986).

Less widely known are Lewis’s early volumes of poetry, Spirits in Bondage (1919), a collection of lyrics; and Dymer (1926), a narrative. The posthumous The Dark Tower, and Other Stories (1977) includes an unpublished fragment of a novel. This collection and one other, Of Other Worlds: Essays and Stories (1966), contain the only extant fictional pieces not printed during Lewis’s lifetime. The Wade Collection at Wheaton College (Illinois) and the Bodleian Library, Oxford, hold many volumes of Lewis papers, including eleven volumes of Lewis family letters written from 1850 to 1930.