30 Things You Might Not Know About C.S. Lewis

January 20, 2013

CS Lewis photo1. He was not English. Though many think and refer to him as such, he was actually born in Belfast, Ireland. So he technically he was British but not English.

2. He changed his name to Jack. In 1902 he announced to his parents that he would, from that day forward, be referred to as “Jacksie.” It was later shortened to “Jacks” and then finally “Jack.” He would be Clive no more.

3. He never learned to drive.

4. His favorite sound was adult male laughter. 

5. His ideal happiness was “to be always convalescent from some small illness and always seated in a window that overlooked the sea, there to read these poems (Renaissance Italian epic) eight hours  of each happy day.”

6. He loved the sea.

7. He failed his Oxford entrance exam, twice. He took the Responsions at least two times and failed the math section. He was allowed entrance into Oxford in 1917 because he served in the military.

8. He had dreams of lions. Prior to writing The Chronicles of Narnia he had strange dreams of lions and pictures in his head of a faun carrying parcels.

9. J.R.R. Tolkien did not like the Narnia stories. Tolkien did not like the Christian allegory, nor did he like the mixing of myths. It appeared he was fond of Aslan though.

10. Aslan is Turkish for “lion.”

11. He often addressed Jesus as Aslan in prayer.

12. Some argue that Tolkien based Treebeard on Lewis. I cannot prove this, but I’ve heard it in more than one place.

13. His conversion to Christianity was not when he wrote in Surprised By Joy: “You must picture me alone in that room in Magdalen, night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England. I did not then see what is now the most shining and obvious thing; the Divine humility which will accept a convert even on such terms. The Prodigal Son at least walked home on his own feet. But who can duly adore that Love which will open the high gates to a prodigal who is brought in kicking, struggling, resentful, and darting his eyes in every direction for a chance of escape? The words compelle intrare, ‘compel them to come in,’ have been so abused be wicked men that we shudder at them; but, properly understood, they plumb the depth of the Divine mercy. The hardness of God is kinder than the softness of men, and His compulsion is our liberation.”

This was simply his conversion to theism from atheism in 1929. It wasn’t until 1931 that he and his brother went to Whipsnade Zoo. Warren drove the motorcycle while Jack sat in the sidecar! He wrote, “When we set out, I did not believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, and when we  reached the zoo, I did.” The evening before this trip, Lewis had a long discussion with Hugo Dyson and J.R.R. Tolkien about Christianity.

Read the rest.

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  1. 30 Things You Never Knew About C.S. Lewis « Thinking Out Loud - January 24, 2013

    […] knew several of these. This was sourced at the blog Yearn for God, with a tip of the hat to Treading Grain.  Here’s some I had possibly heard but […]