Lewis' "Surprise By Joy": Analysis



I. Form and Content
Long-time friend and literary executor of the Lewis estate, Owen Barfield
has suggested that there were, in fact, three "C. S. Lewises." That is to
say, there were three different vocations that Lewis fulfilled--and
fulfilled successfully--in his lifetime. There was, first, Lewis the
distinguished Oxford don and literary critic; secondly, Lewis, the highly
acclaimed author of science fiction and children's literature; and thirdly,
Lewis, the popular writer and broadcaster of Christian apologetics. The
amazing thing, Barfield notes, is that those who may have known of Lewis in
any single role may not have known that he performed in the other two. In a
varied and ...

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since
his death in 1963, Surprised by Joy stands apart as an astonishingly candid
yet self-effacing volume by one widely-regarded as the premier Christian
apologist of the twentieth century. Lewis proceeds in Surprised by Joy as
one reluctant to reveal specific details of his life but who relents, as he
suggests in the preface, in order both to answer "requests that I would
tell how I passed from Atheism to Christianity" and "to correct one or two
false notions that seem to have got about." Lewis's reluctance involves not
just the conventional modesty of the autobiographer who wishes to downplay
the importance of his life, but stems as well from his conviction that no
writer's work is especially illuminated by psychological inquiry into his
or her life. As a renowned literary critic and literary historian, he had
witnessed too many works passed off as "literary criticism" that were
instead imagined reconstructions of the author's composing process or
thought life--poor substitutes ...

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story is, I fear, suffocatingly subjective; the kind of thing I have
never before and shall probably never write again. I have tried so to write
the first chapter that those who can't bear such a story will see at once
what they are in for and close the book with the least waste of time.

The subtitle of the book, "the Shape of my Early Life," succinctly captures
the scope of Lewis's autobiography; it deals almost exclusively with his
adolescent search for "joy" and those events leading up to and just
subsequent to his conversion at age thirty-one. It comprises what Lewis
himself would refer to as "spiritual autobiography," but not in the genre
of "Confessions" like those of St. ...

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Lewis' "Surprise By Joy": Analysis. (2006, September 28). Retrieved April 19, 2021, from http://www.essayworld.com/essays/Lewis-Surprise-By-Joy-Analysis/53112
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"Lewis' "Surprise By Joy": Analysis." Essayworld.com. September 28, 2006. Accessed April 19, 2021. http://www.essayworld.com/essays/Lewis-Surprise-By-Joy-Analysis/53112.
"Lewis' "Surprise By Joy": Analysis." Essayworld.com. September 28, 2006. Accessed April 19, 2021. http://www.essayworld.com/essays/Lewis-Surprise-By-Joy-Analysis/53112.
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Added: 9/28/2006 10:16:45 PM
Category: English
Type: Free Paper
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