The final category in the C.S. Lewis-themed staff picks for November is Academic Works. Lewis was a professor of English Literature. He contributed a volume on sixteenth century literature (excluding drama) to the Oxford History of English Literature. He also wrote a work on medieval literature, The Allegory of Love. We didn’t pick those academic works, but look forward to reading them.
Alain’s Pick: Preface to Paradise Lost
This is an introduction to Milton’s epic poem that probably makes much more sense if you’ve read Milton. I’ve read Preface with out reading Paradise Lost. I should probably correct that soon.
Heather’s Pick: An Experiment in Criticism
This is my pick (just when you thought that the store had come to life and was writing blog posts in the first person). I love this book. I’ve read it multiple times. It is an easy read, but not a light read. Every time I read it I think “now I’ve got it.” Then I read it again and I get it better than before.
Crux staff picked only C.S. Lewis books to recommend in October. While no one picked any of the chronicles of Narnia, stories were still a theme.
This is a great dream-story with an “And Then I Woke Up” ending. I really liked it. It makes some people uncomfortable, but that is because it asks some thought-provoking questions. Check it out if you haven’t already.
True confessions? I haven’t read this. Sheila has and she loves it. So do lots of my other friends. I need to read it soon.
Carolyn’s pick: Letters to Children
This small collection of letters to children contains a lot of background on Narnia. How great is it that Lewis wrote back to children who wrote to him?
Crux staff picked all C.S. Lewis books to recommend in November. It was interesting that no one picked a Narnia book, or eve the series as a whole — all of us picked essays or other fiction to recommend. In part we were trying to aim to recommend books that people might not have read before. But part of the issue is Lewis wrote a lot of readable insightful prose. Fifty years after his death his essays and fiction are still in print and interesting. Is this only marketing? I’m not sure uninteresting ideas or unreadable prose could survive in such good shape even if well-marketed.
Here are the more theologically inclined works recommended by Crux staff.
Ed’s Pick: Mere Christianity
The print version of radio talks on the basics of the Christian faith. Lewis attempts to get to the bottom of faith and what it means. Remember that he is a literary scholar and philosopher more than a theologian.
Cindy’s pick: Reflections on the Psalms
I’ve not read this one, but Lewis is a published poet, so I’m interested to see what he’s got to say on Hebrew poetry.
Conner’s pick: The Problem of Pain
I’ve heard people compare this work unfavourably with Lewis’s later book on grieving, A Grief Observed. The earlier book wasn’t meant to be a reflection on feeling pain, but thoughts on the fact that pain exists in the world. A Grief Observed is not a book of thinking as much as a book of feeling.
Next: Staff recommendations that are stories or about stories.