Clive Staples Lewis (29 November 1898 – 22 November 1963), commonly referred to as C. S. Lewis and known to his friends and family as "Jack", was a British novelist, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian and Christian apologist. He is well known for his fictional work, especially The Screwtape Letters, The Chronicles of Narnia and The Space Trilogy.
Lewis was a close friend of J. R. R. Tolkien, and both authors were leading figures in the English faculty at Oxford University and in the informal Oxford literary group known as the "Inklings". According to his memoir Surprised by Joy, Lewis had been baptised in the Church of Ireland (part of the Anglican Communion) at birth, but fell away from his faith during his adolescence. Owing to the influence of Tolkien and other friends, at the age of 32 Lewis returned to the Anglican Communion, becoming "a very ordinary layman of the Church of England". His faith had a profound effect on his work, and his wartime radio broadcasts on the subject of Christianity brought him wide acclaim.
In 1956 he married the American writer Joy Gresham, 17 years his junior, who died four years later of cancer at the age of 45. Lewis died three years after his wife, as the result of renal failure. His death came one week before his 65th birthday. Media coverage of his death was minimal, as he died on 22 November 1963 – the same day that U.S. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, and the same day another famous author, Aldous Huxley, died. Lewis's works have been translated into more than 30 languages and have sold millions of copies. The books that make up The Chronicles of Narnia have sold the most and have been popularised on stage, TV, radio and cinema.
Here's a collection of some of the best quotes attributed to this great writer and lay theologian:
The idea which shuts out the Second Coming from our minds, the idea of the world slowly ripening to perfection, is a myth, not a generalization from experience.
If we discover a desire within us that nothing in this world can satisfy, also we should begin to wonder if perhaps we were created for another world.
When the author walks on the stage the play is over. God is going to invade, all right - something so beautiful to some of us and so terrible to others that none of us will have any choice left? For this time it will be God without disguise. It will be too late then to choose your side.
All that is not eternal is eternally out of date.
In some way, it is natural for us to wish that God had designed for us a less glorious and less arduous destiny; but then we are wishing not for more love but for less.
Once a man is united to God, how could he not live forever?
We ought to give thanks for all fortune: if it is good, because it is good, if bad, because it works in us patience, humility and the contempt of this world and the hope of our eternal country.
The very man who has argued you down, will sometimes be found, years later, to have been influenced by what you said.
Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement.
Relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing had yet been done.
We're not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.
Sainthood lies in the habit of referring the smallest actions to God.
We are to be re-made. All the rabbit in us is to disappear-and then, surprisingly, we shall find underneath it all a thing we have never yet imagined: a real Man, an ageless god, a son of God, strong, radiant, wise, beautiful, and drenched in joy.
If conversion to Christianity makes no improvement in a man's outward actions--if he continues to be just as snobbish or spiteful or envious or ambitious as he was before--then I think we must suspect that his 'conversion' was largely imaginary.
Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.
100 per cent of us die, and the percentage cannot be increased.
Only He who really lived a human life (and I presume that only one did) can fully taste the horror of death.
'When a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor's stead, the table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards.'
Nothing, not even what is lowest and most bestial, will not be raised again if it submits to death.
Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave with regret? There are better things ahead than any we leave behind.
It is hard to have patience with people who say "There is no death" or "Death doesn't matter." There is death. And whatever is matters. And whatever happens has consequences, and it and they are irrevocable and irreversible. You might as well say that birth doesn't matter.
Apologetic work is so dangerous to one's faith. A doctrine never seems dimmer to me than when I have just successfully defended it.
If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.
The road to the promised land runs past Sinai.
There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, "Thy will be done," and those to whom God says, "All right, then, have it your way."
Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.
You play the hand you're dealt. I think the game's worthwhile.
A man who is eating or lying with his wife or preparing to go to sleep in humility, thankfulness and temperance, is, by Christian standards, in an infinitely higher state than one who is listening to Bach or reading Plato in a state of pride.
I knew I was in danger but was not depressed. I've read pretty well everything.
Unsatisfied desire is in itself more desirable than any other satisfaction.
Nothing which is at all times and in every way agreeable to us can have objective reality. It is of the very nature of the real that it should have sharp corners and rough edges, that it should be resistant, should be itself. Dream-furniture is the only kind on which you never stub your toes or bang your knee.
Tribulations cannot cease until God either sees us remade or sees that our remaking is now hopeless.
Until you have given up yourself to Him you will not have a real self.
Every story of conversion is the story of a blessed defeat.
[The natural life] knows that if the spiritual life gets hold of it, all its self-centredness and self-will are going to be killed and it is ready to fight tooth and nail to avoid that.
It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.
Human beings, all over the earth, have this curious idea that they ought to behave in a certain way, and can't really get rid of it.
Disobedience to conscience is voluntary; bad poetry, on the other hand, is usually not made on purpose.
The heart never takes the place of the head: but it can, and should, obey it.
As the king governs by his executive, so Reason in man must rule the mere appetites by means of the 'spirited element.'
If we did not bring to the examinations of our instincts a knowledge of their comparative dignity we could never learn it from them.
I'm on Aslan's side even if there isn't any Aslan to lead it. I'm going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn't any Narnia.
The very nature of Joy makes nonsense of our common distinction between having and wanting.
All joy emphasizes our pilgrim status; always reminds, beckons, awakens desire. Our best havings are wantings.
The true enjoyments must be spontaneous and compulsive and look to no remoter end.
Many things--such as loving, going to sleep, or behaving unaffectedly--are done worst when we try hardest to do them.
To play well the scenes in which we are 'on' concerns us much more than to guess about the scenes that follow it.
These things are not strange, Small One, though they are beyond our senses.