Clive Staples Lewis better known as C.S. Lewis or Jack was the author of the widely popular series The Chronicles of Narnia. He lived from the years 1898 to 1963. His early years were spent in Ireland and his later years in England. He was a very influential person in the literary world and in Christianity.
C.S. Lewis came by the nickname of Jack when he was four years old. His beloved dog Jacksie was hit by a car and died shortly after. Lewis then announced that he would be called Jacksie from then on and did not respond to anything else. In later years it was shortened to Jack and what many of his friends and family called him.
In 1908 his mother died of cancer. This is also the year that Lewis began attending private schools, before then he had been tutored. He first attended Wynyard and after the closing of this school attended Campbell College but had respiratory problems. He was then sent to Malvern, Worcestershire a type of health-resort town where he attended the preparatory school called Cherbourg House or Chartres by Lewis himself.
At the age of fifteen until the age of thirty one Lewis was an atheist. He was raised in the Church of Ireland but soon came to see his religion as a chore and a duty. The writings of George MacDonald, a Christian fantasy writer, were so influential on Lewis that he rediscovered his own Christianity. It is very surprising to some people that he was an atheist for so long given the Christian symbolism of his writings in The Chronicles of Narnia.
When Lewis was nineteen he fought in World War I on the frontlines as an officer in the third Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry. It was during training that Lewis became good friends with another cadet named “Paddy” Moore. Here they formed a pact to take care of eachother’s families if anything happened to the other. In 1918 Paddy was killed in action and Lewis kept his promise. He became the caretaker and friend of Paddy’s mother Jane King Moore. He came to introduce her as his mother since losing his at such a young age. He took care of her until her hospitalization for dementia in the 1940’s, she passed away in 1951. He has accredited her with teaching him to be generous.
He was married once to Joy Gresham, a Jewish writer who also had been an atheist at one time. They were mainly friends at first and only became married in a civil union to keep her in England. After Joy was diagnosed with bone cancer the couple sought a Christian marriage. Joy had two sons from a previous marriage that Lewis continued to care for after her death in 1956. His book A Grief Observed is mostly about the aftermath of her death. He wrote the book as N.W. Clerk so no one would see his private bereavement. After many friends referred this book to him he came clean that he had actually wrote the book.
His life came to an end one week before his sixty fifth birthday on November 22, 1963. The same day that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. His works include poetry, many works of non-fiction and fiction including his most popular The Chronicles of Narnia series. His legacy lives on in biographies that others write about him which a few of his close friends themselves have written. There is a statue of his alter ego Diggory Kirke from The Magicians Nephew in his hometown of Belfast, Ireland. He has also been the inspiration for many modern day writers including J.K. Rowling and Daniel Handler, a.ka. Lemmony Snicket. His works have been translated into more then 30 languages and sell more then a million copies a year. He was a great literary scholar.