Raymond Edwards Marks nearly 50 Years since CS Lewis' Death–Signpost to a higher love

On one side, then, we have Lewis as conflicted evangelical bully. On the other, there is the figure that the Episcopal Church in the United States celebrates as “holy C.S. Lewis” (with a feast day on 22 November). In the concomitant hagiography, his connection with Mrs Moore and his odd late marriage (famously sentimentalised in the 1993 film Shadowlands) are either silently elided or eirenically glossed; beer and tobacco fade into mere period colour.

Unsurprisingly, the man himself was more complex than either approach fully allows. Lewis was a supremely bookish man, but also a loud man, and like many loud men annoyed as many as he entertained; that aside, there were formidable, and almost wholly anonymous, practical charities (he gave away most of his income); unquantifiably great personal influence (without Lewis, Tolkien’s imaginative writing would probably have remained unpublished); and a dogged effort to live a Christian life. One non-believing acquaintance described him, after his death, as “a very good man, to whom goodness did not come easily….”

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