- posted: November 29 @ 12:20am
Clive Staples Lewis, otherwise known as "C.S. Lewis" or "Jack," was born on November 29, 1898, 111 years ago today.
Jack was from Ireland, though many conceive of him as an Englishman, since he spent much of his life in England, and spent much of his better days in Oxford.
Jack is perhaps best known for his delightful seven volume Chronicles of Narnia series, slightly warped in theaters (though, quite enjoyable). Jack is also well known for his theological reflections, captured in such books as The Problem of Pain and Mere Christianity.
A hero of mine, I was thrilled beyond belief to track down his old haunts in Oxford back in May of this year. I walked out of his home, The Kilns, totally giddy and giggling down the street after having received a one-on-one private tour of the residence, still occupied by Oxford students. I sat at the Eagle and Child, where he and J.R.R. Tolkien and friends smoked and chatted and shared their stories, and wrote. I went across the street to the Lamb and Flag, their plan B pub, and wrote a technical report. It may not have been as captivating as the tales of Tolkien and Lewis, but I felt empowered to write in the hallowed walls where they once delighted in ale, story, and conversation.
While this photograph is fairly weak in composition, its inspiration is not weak. Jack was a professor of literature, and a wise one at that. He once wrote an introduction to a translation of the book, On the Incarnation, by the great Athanasius, who lived nearly 1600 years before Jack.
In the introduction, Jack wrote:
"I believe that many who find that 'nothing happens' when they sit down, or kneel down, to a book of devotion, would find that the heart sings unbidden while they are working their way through a tough bit of theology with a pipe in their teeth and a pencil in their hand."
In this photograph, I have a stack of books by Jack, as well as a stack of Anglican theological works, reflective of the national church he belonged to. Additionally, I have a pencil in my hand and a pipe between my teeth. Opened before me is a collection of St. Athanasius's works, in particular, his famous "On the Incarnation," for which Jack wrote the foreword.
This is particularly fitting, in that my name is Jamey Athanasius William Bennett, and I am in part named after the great St. Athanasius, defender of the faith.
Memory eternal grant unto Clive Staples Lewis, O Lord.
I would "clame" some of the photos from my time in Oxford, but sadly, all of my digital photos were accidentally erased only a few days after leaving Oxford.