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6.18.2020

The Neglected C.S. Lewis ~ Review


The Neglected C.S. Lewis
By Mark Neal and Jerry Root
Foreword by Dr. David C. Downing

Exploring the Riches of His Most Overlooked Books this statement quite aptly describes this book. People are always dreaming of finding treasure. Well, this book is a treasure that will delight and educate readers who want to truly know the works of C.S. Lewis. 

This work examines eight of his scholarly works. Describing them as scholarly should in no way scare off potential readers. Nothing worth knowing is without effort and once one gets into this book it is no effort at all, rather, it is enjoyable getting to see a side of Lewis that one knows so little about. 

There is much in this book to examine and in my opinion, this is most definitely a book one will want to read more than once and have on hand if one should explore any of the titles mentioned within. 

There is much spiritual food for thought and much that the reader can take away for one's day-to-day life as he examines the literary works of the past through the eye of a reader. The works he examines were of importance to his life both professionally and spiritually - he opens the door for us and invites us to enter. He encourages readers to respect the past while accurately judging through the truth of reality. 

The Neglected C.S. Lewis will open the reader's eyes to the wealth of insight and thought that Lewis put into his books both the more well-known and the lesser-known scholarly works that are presented all too briefly here. Scholarly does not mean boring, dull, or tedious if the author truly fulfills his (or her) role of being the window through which the reader sees. This is not a book to rush through as there is much that one will ponder and contemplate while working through the all too brief look taken at these eight works.

Several of the gems I discovered include: 
  • Truth is not reality; truth is what one thinks about reality when thinking accurately about it.
  • Challenges must be validated objectively
  • Sin is man playing God in his own life. It estranges humankind from God and from one another. It fractures lives, making the community unstable and eventually atrophying one's humanity.
  • We are to serve people - to give of ourselves. This is our God-given purpose.

I have to thank the authors for introducing me to a new C.S. Lewis, though my checking account may be less than thrilled with the results. I was provided a complimentary copy of this book with no expectations but that I provide my honest opinion. All thoughts expressed are my own.




About the Book:

Most people don't think of C. S. Lewis as a neglected author. 
Who hasn't heard of Narnia, Aslan, the White Witch?

But many of his most important ideas are buried in the pages of his lesser-known literary works—books that were vitally important not only to his profession but to his spiritual growth.

Readers who can quote word for word from C.S. Lewis’s theological classic, Mere Christianity, or his science fiction novel, Perelandra, have often never read his work as a professional literary historian. They may not even recognize some of the neglected works discussed, here. Mark Neal and Jerry Root have done students of Lewis a great service, tracing the signature ideas in Lewis’s works of literary criticism and showing their relevance to Lewis’s more familiar books. Their thorough research and lucid prose will be welcome to all who would like to understand Lewis more fully, but who feel daunted by books of such evident scholarly erudition.

For example, when you read The Discarded Image on the ancients’ view of the heavens, you understand better why Ransom has such unpleasant sensations when first descending toward Malacandra in Out of the Silent Planet. And when you come across Lewis’s discussion in OHEL  of a minor sixteenth-century poet who described the hellish River Styx as a “puddle glum,” you can’t help but chuckle at the name when you meet the famous Marshwiggle in The Silver Chair. These are just two examples of how reading the “Neglected Lewis” can help every reader understand Lewis more fully.


About the Authors:
Jerry Root is a professor at Wheaton College. He has lectured on C.S. Lewis at 77 universities in 17 different countries. He has been teaching college and university courses on Lewis continually for forty years. He has published many books on C.S. Lewis, including C.S. Lewis and a Problem of Evil: An Investigation of a Pervasive Theme

Mark Neal is the co-author of both The Neglected C.S. Lewis and The Surprising Imagination of C.S. Lewis. He has lectured, taught, and published nationally and internationally on Lewis for the last ten years. He works as the VP of a Chicago-area marketing firm and is married with two children.

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~ Blooming with Books