C. S. Lewis
"...I often find myself living at such cross-purposes with the modern world: I have been a converted Pagan living among apostate Puritans."
—Surprised By Joy
Clive Staples Lewis ("Jack" to his friends and family) (1898-1963) was a mid-twentieth century Irish author of many sorts of books: scholarship regarding medieval literature, lay Christian theology, Science Fiction, and Fantasy.
He was born and raised in Ulster. His mother died when he was young. He was educated in a series of English Boarding Schools, the first of which was run by a Sadist Teacher. He fought in the Great War. He was a member of The Inklings and a friend of Charles Williams and JRR Tolkien, whose influence partially led to his conversion to Christianity (though Lewis being an Anglican and Tolkien a Roman Catholic led to some friction). He published an autobiography of his early life and conversion titled Surprised By Joy. Afterwards, he met Joy Gresham and married her so she could remain in the UK. Then, they fell in love and had an Anglican ceremony after Joy was diagnosed with terminal bone cancer. She died four years later. Lewis himself died the same day as Aldous Huxley and John F. Kennedy; this led to his passing being almost unpublicized.
- Dymer (1926): A narrative poem, published under the pseudonym Clive Hamilton.
- The Pilgrim's Regress (1933): His first publication following his conversion. An allegory generalizing from the details of Lewis' own, somewhat unusual, conversion.
- Out of the Silent Planet (1938): The first book of The Space Trilogy.
- The Screwtape Letters (1942): An epistolary novel, consisting of letters from an elder demon to a young tempter, concerning the proper way to damn an Englishman.
- Perelandra (1943): The second book of The Space Trilogy.
- The Great Divorce (1945): A dream-visit to a semi-Mundane Afterlife, where the joys of Heaven are available to all, and the punishments of Hell are entirely self-inflicted (and therefore all the more inescapable).
- That Hideous Strength (1946): The final book of The Space Trilogy.
- The Chronicles of Narnia
- The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950).
- Prince Caspian (1951).
- The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1952).
- The Silver Chair (1953).
- The Horse and His Boy (1954).
- The Magician's Nephew (1955).
- The Last Battle (1956). The last Narnia book.
- Till We Have Faces (1956): The novel Lewis considered his best.
- Screwtape Proposes A Toast (1961): A brief sequel to The Screwtape Letters.
- Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer (1964): A posthumously published epistolary novel.
- The Dark Tower (1977): An abandoned and unfinished sequel to Out Of The Silent Planet, i.e. The Space Trilogy's What Could Have Been.
- Boxen: the Imaginary World of the Young C. S. Lewis (1985): Stories about talking animals which Lewis and his brother wrote from childhood through their teen years, which he never considered publishing during his life.
For a complete list of Lewis' writings, non-fiction and fiction, see the other wiki.
- All Just a Dream
- All Take and No Give: Repeatedly. Discussed more than once in The Four Loves. Particularly the pathological Giver variant.
- Author Tract: Everything Lewis ever wrote, no exceptions. Just to prove that Tropes Are Not Bad, they're still excellent reads, in part because of their Author Tract nature.
- A Very British Christmas: In a very humorous piece in God In The Dock, Herodotus visits the island of Niatirb and concludes that the resident barbarians observe two entirely separate holidays on 25 December: Exmas (a commercial racket) and Crissmas (a religious festival). Also, Father Christmas shows up in Narnia.
- Big Creepy-Crawlies: In Surprised by Joy, Lewis writes that his nightmares during childhood were either about ghosts or insects. Of the two, he found the dreams about insects much more frightening.
- In The Pilgrim's Regress, young John is told that the damned are tortured by scorpions the size of lobsters.
- In Perelandra, Ransom encounters flies and beetles larger than himself in the caverns of Venus. Subverted in this case. Once the Un-man's presence is gone, Ransom ceases to find them frightening, and speculates that they may, in fact, be sentient.
- In The Problem of Pain he discusses the moral problem of the suffering of animals(who after all are not either being punished for something or being trained in how to be good and therefore not subject to some of the possible explanations for human suffering). In fact he does take the question seriously. But when he gets to discussing animals and the afterlife, he imagines someone asking "Where do you put all the mosquitos" and then notes ironically that heaven for mosquitos and hell for humans might be the same place.
- Boarding School of Horrors: Lewis had an extremely unpleasant experience at school, compounded by the fact that his first teacher was a literal Sadist Teacher to the level of actual clinical insanity. Not surprisingly, boarding schools in Lewis's works are very unlikely to be positively portrayed.
- Another school he went to had an overweening "aristocracy" of Jerk Jocks supported by teachers which engaged in organized bullying and even rumored pedophilia toward the underclass students. (The second of which Lewis actually said was, under the circumstances actually a saving grace because it got their minds off their snobbishness!) Lewis hated that school so much that he almost considered World War I less unpleasant: no one said you had to pretend to like it, after all.
- In general, C. S. Lewis's father was not good at picking boarding schools.
- Combat by Champion, Prince Caspian features a particularly gut-churning edge-of-your-seat example. All the more so for Peter's quiet dignity.
- Cultured Warrior: He was a veteran of World War I.
- Due to the Dead: Even overdone in The Great Divorce.
- Evil Overlord: The White Witch and the Lady Of the Green Kirtle in The Chronicles of Narnia.
- Fairy Tale Motifs: Discussed throughout his work, and given free rein in The Chronicles of Narnia (which is a Fantasy Kitchen Sink).
- False Cause: Zig-zag. In his time there was an esoteric (and to be honest rather interesting) scholarly controversy going on about the connections between Celtic Mythology and King Arthur. Plus some complexities about hypothetical prehistoric pagan origins. Lewis took the point that whether or not a given author was in fact taking ideas from such things, it did not follow that what he came up with was "really" things found there and even more that individual tropes from one place "really" belonged in another, or more to the point that a story should not be criticized on it's own. An essay about this is The Fallacy of Anthropological Criticism and other places can be found where he gives a similar argument.
- Geeky Turn On : Several of his descriptions of Joy Greshem.
- Gentleman Snarker : C.S. Lewis himself was one of the best and his snarkiness appears in his books.
- Germans Love David Hasselhoff: He is considered a celebrity by the nerdier set of American Evangelicals even though he was an Ulsterman not an American and an Anglican not an Evangelical. Possibly because few have been more obviously a nerd.
- Like many English-speaking intellectuals he adored Norse Mythology and sometimes spoke as though The Ring Cycle was a woman. During World War 2 of all times.
- Get It Over With
- Glamourous Wartime Lay Preacher: Well sort of. Mere Christianity was originally a series of talks given on BBC during World War 2.
- Ho Yay: Deconstructed in The Four Loves, making the point that those who look for it in Heterosexual Life Partners will automatically find it to their satisfaction and therefore it is a meaningless exercise. [invoked]
- Humans Are the Real Monsters: Appears to some extent in practically all his work, but his non-fiction dedicates entire chapters to expounding on how and why humans are bastards, and how the bastardliness can be reduced.
- In one of his essay's, he mentions Dark-Gods-of-the-Blood which basically comes down to how we must always fight off the desire to give into the baser desires we feel as we go through daily life.
- It's All About Me: The Great Divorce
- Knight Templar: Not Lewis himself. But in his writings he expressed disdain of zealots and fundamentalists, arguing how they make for even worse tyrants.
- Magic-Powered Pseudoscience in That Hideous Strength
- The McCoy: Lewis' father was an idealistic and emotional barrister who loved his sons but gives the impression of having an awkward time raising teenagers.
- Mythopoeia: Lewis was one of the Trope Codifiers, both in his own works and his analysis of George MacDonald's fairy tales.
- No Such Thing as Space Jesus: Notably and completely averted in The Space Trilogy, and discussed in several of his theological essays.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat : The Screwtape Letters opines that Hell is run by these.
- Perspective Flip: Till We Have Faces
- Screw the War, We're Studying: The essay On Learning in Wartime is about how there is always going to be a catastrophe going on but one should not let that interfere with leading a civilized life. In this case he was speaking to a college telling them why what they were doing was not a waste even if their countrymen were fighting. But Lewis, other things being equal would have approved of partying as well as studying in wartime, and of course Oxford pubs were a place to do both.
- Sibling Team: Lewis and his brother Warren.
- Sour Supporter
- The Spock: One of Lewis' favorite tutors, ironically named Kirk, was very much this to the point where he might be suspected of Asperger's Syndrome. He would ruthlessly cross examine routine colloquialisms as if he had no idea what a metaphor was. And Lewis believed that this was not simply an odd sense of humor, or even an eccentric teaching technique but because he really didn't have a clue about normal conversation. Despite that he was a very well educated man and Lewis thanked him for a lot of his scholarly success.
- Lewis himself had some "spockian" traits in him but these were far more downplayed.
- Talking Animal: The Chronicles of Narnia
- Talking in Your Dreams
- Tears of Joy: Not quite the theme of Surprised by Joy but heading that way.
- True Companions: The Inklings
- What Could Have Been: A scholarly book entitled Language and Human Nature was begun but never completed. The rub: It was to have been coauthored with JRR Tolkien. . Mind you, he fought in a World War, so we should really be thankful we had him at all....
- When Is Purple?:
Can a mortal ask questions which God finds unanswerable? Quite easily, I should think. All nonsense questions are unanswerable. How many hours are there in a mile? Is yellow square or round? Probably half the questions we ask – half our great theological and metaphysical problems – are like that.
—C. S. Lewis, A Grief Observed
- Worthy Opponent: Lampshaded. He once commented as part of a critique of pacifism by pointing out that war doesn't necessarily imply individual hatred and if he and a German soldier had in the last war had killed each other at the same time and then met in heaven they would have thought the whole thing funny.