Do you want to learn some interesting facts about C.S. Lewis, the beloved author of The Chronicles of Narnia?
Lewis had an older brother named Warren. Their parents were Albert and Florence Lewis. In 1908, Florence Lewis died of cancer. Clive was only 10 at the time.
C.S. Lewis became a part of the faculties of both Magdalen College in Oxford and Magdalene College in Cambridge, holding academic positions in English literature in both colleges.
- 28 Famous Irish People That You Should Know
- Famous Irish Authors: 12 Great Writers From Ireland
- 12 Best Books by C.S. Lewis
C.S. Lewis is best remembered as the author of the classic series The Chronicles of Narnia. He also penned non-fiction Christian apologetics, the most well-known if which are The Problem of Pain (1940), Miracles (1947), and Mere Christianity (1952). Apart from the very famous Narnia books, Lewis’ other works of fiction that did well were the 1942 Christian apologetic novel The Screwtape Letters and a series of science fiction novels called The Space Trilogy (published in 1938, 1943, and 1945, respectively).
Even today, he’s still considered one of the best Irish authors of all time.
To learn more facts about C.S. Lewis, check out the following list.
Things you'll find in this article
- 13 Interesting Facts About C.S. Lewis
- 1. C.S. Lewis first book was a collection of poems he wrote in his teens
- 2. C.S. Lewis was an atheist through his 20s
- 3. Lewis helped J.R.R. Tolkien combat writer’s block during the writing of The Lord of the Rings
- 4. Lewis gave himself a nickname after his deceased dog
- 5. C.S. Lewis was influenced by Beatrix Potter’s book
- 6. Children evacuated from London inspired his second Narnia book – The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
- 7. Lewis worked as a broadcaster
- 8. C.S. Lewis’ brother, Warren Lewis, co-founded an informal Oxford literary society
- 9. Lewis married at age 58 – and became a widower four years later
- 10. Lewis’ book, titled A Grief Observed, was written while he was grieving for his wife’s demise
- 11. Douglas Gresham is C.S. Lewis’ stepson
- 12. C.S. Lewis died the same day John F. Kennedy was assassinated
- 13. Another famous writer also died the same day
13 Interesting Facts About C.S. Lewis
1. C.S. Lewis first book was a collection of poems he wrote in his teens
Lewis’ first book, titled Spirits in Bondage: A Cycle of Lyrics, was published in 1919 under the pseudonym Clive Hamilton. This book is a collection of poems that the author had written when he was teenager.
Spirits in Bondage: A Cycle of Lyrics was published after he returned to Britain from France, where he’d been deployed as a soldier and got injured during the first World War. He was fighting for the British Army.
2. C.S. Lewis was an atheist through his 20s
C.S. Lewis grew up in the Church of Ireland. In his early teens, C.S. Lewis renounced his Christian faith and became an atheist while enrolled at a boarding school. He frequently spoke out violently against religion.
Lewis continued to live as an atheist through his 20s. In 1930, however, he turned to theism and a year later re-embraced his Christianity.
Lewis getting back his faith in God was partly due to the help of his good friend and fellow author, J.R.R. Tolkien, who was a devout Roman Catholic.
3. Lewis helped J.R.R. Tolkien combat writer’s block during the writing of The Lord of the Rings
Another interesting facts about C.S. Lewis is that him and J.R.R. Tolkien met and became lifelong friends when they both taught at Oxford University in the 1920s.
During the time of Tolkien’s writing of the “new Hobbit” which would later become The Lord of the Rings, he suffered bouts of writer’s block that lasted for years at a time. C.S. Lewis gave Tolkien the encouragement he needed to get through those times and finally finished what would become one of the best-selling fantasy books of all time.
4. Lewis gave himself a nickname after his deceased dog
C.S. Lewis hated his name “Clive.” He was four years old when his dog Jacksie was killed by a reckless car and to cope with grief, he used his dog’s name “Jacksie” as his own nickname. The name stuck and Lewis went by the nickname “Jack” even through his adulthood.
5. C.S. Lewis was influenced by Beatrix Potter’s book
As a child, Lewis loved reading children’s books written by Beatrix Potter, particularly The Tale of Peter Rabbit. He was fascinated with the idea of a world where animals talk, which is evident in the fantasy books he himself had gone on to write as an adult.
6. Children evacuated from London inspired his second Narnia book – The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
During the second World War, C.S. Lewis met and hosted four child evacuees from London and they inspired him to write the second installment of the Chronicles of Narnia series. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe protagonists – Edmund, Peter, Lucy, and Susan – were based on these four kids.
7. Lewis worked as a broadcaster
During the second World War, C.S. Lewis hosted a very popular broadcast on BBC where he discussed topics of morality and religion. These broadcasts eventually became the basis for his 1952 book Mere Christianity.
8. C.S. Lewis’ brother, Warren Lewis, co-founded an informal Oxford literary society
Warren Lewis, C.S. Lewis’ older and only brother, became a historian (writing on French history) and an officer in the British Army.
After his retirement in 1932, Warren Lewis went to live with his younger brother in Oxford and became one of the founding members of an informal Oxford literary society called the “Inklings.”
For the later years of C. S. Lewis’ life, Warren served as his secretary.
9. Lewis married at age 58 – and became a widower four years later
C.S. Lewis claimed he seriously thought he was never going to get married and remain a bachelor forever. This changed when he met American poet and author Joy Davidman-Gresham on her visit to the United Kingdom in August of 1952.
Davidman-Gresham was on said trip to finish her book Smoke on the Mountain (which is about the Ten Commandments). It was influenced by Lewis’ style of apologetics. The two corresponded for years before getting married in 1956. Lewis was 58 at the time.
The couple’s marriage ended when Davidman died of cancer in 1960.
10. Lewis’ book, titled A Grief Observed, was written while he was grieving for his wife’s demise
As a means to deal with his grief over losing his wife, C.S. Lewis published a book under a different pseudonym (“N.W. Clerk”). His friends, clueless that he was the one who wrote the book, recommended it to him, believing it would help him through his sorrow.
This rather personal book was fictionalized to a film in 1993 entitled Shadowlands, starring Sir Anthony Hopkins as C.S. Lewis and Debra Winger as Joy Davidman-Gresham. Shadowlands itself, however, was adapted from the play of the same title, written by William Nicholson. Prior to that, it has been first adapted from Nicholson’s 1985 TV film also of the same title.
11. Douglas Gresham is C.S. Lewis’ stepson
American-British film producer, stage and voice-over actor, and executive record producer Douglas Gresham, born in 1945, is a stepson of C. S. Lewis. He is one of Joy Davidman’s two sons with ex-husband William Lindsay Gresham, author of the 1946 novel Nightmare Alley.
When Joy Davidman died, C.S. Lewis continued to raise her two sons, David and Douglas. Lewis’ 1954 novel The Horse and His Boy is dedicated to the two Gresham boys.
When Lewis died in November of 1963, his estate went to Warren Lewis, his brother, who then passed it to the Gresham siblings after a decade.
12. C.S. Lewis died the same day John F. Kennedy was assassinated
C.S. Lewis died of kidney failure on 22 November 1963, the very same day that then US President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. JFK’s death clearly overshadowed that of C.S. Lewis.
13. Another famous writer also died the same day
Famous English writer and philosopher Aldous Huxley passed away on 22 November 1963, the same day as C.S. Lewis’ and the 35th US president’s deaths.
The passing of two important writers of the 20th century, C.S. Lewis and Aldous Huxley, didn’t get the coverage they deserved because John F. Kennedy’s assassination got more airtime and public attention.
Hi, I’m Christine – a full-time traveler and career woman. Although I’m from the Philippines, my location independent career took me to over 40 countries for the past 8 years. I also lived in 3 continents – from the Caribbean, South East Asia to Africa. But despite living in several countries, my love for Ireland remains the same. A country that had been a part of my life since I was 14 because of my love for Irish music and bands. Ireland Travel Guides was born because of this passion and hopefully, in some little ways, this website will be able to help you on your next trip to Ireland.