Most of us have heard the name C.S. Lewis before. We may have come across him in our childhood, reading the ever-popular story The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, or perhaps The Horse and His Boy. Both of these works are from the Chronicles of Narnia.
Many people encounter Lewis through his other writings, such as Mere Christianity, or his Space Trilogy. Although Lewis is well known for his imaginative works, he wrote many more lectures, essays and books of non-fiction than he did of fiction. He wrote so much, in fact, that it's a serious task to try to get through them all.
Lewis often said that he was not a “professional theologian,” and he hoped his audience at large would forgive him for jotting down his theological reflections. And it is in these same books and essays of reflection that the three things he held most dear - orthodox Christianity, classical reason and his own particular version of romanticism - are most clearly explained. In fact, they provide the vision behind things like the great lion, Aslan, in Narnia and the fantastic voyage of the Dawn Treader.
If you’ve ever been delighted and enchanted by a journey to Perelandra (from Lewis’ Space Trilogy,) or imagined Reepicheep the mouse sailing away to the “utter East” and wondered what it all meant, the new book Not A Tame Lion, The Life, Teachings and Legacy of C.S. Lewis, by Terry Glaspey, was written just for you.
Glaspey notes that, while there have been many books written about Lewis, his book is meant for the average reader who knows a little about Lewis and would like to know more. Just as the title promises, this handy book starts off with a short Chronology of Lewis’ life, then tells the tale of his life. Readers will learn about Lewis’ childhood and fall into atheism, and also find out what brings him back to Christianity, even to becoming one of the most well-known and popular apologists.
The second part of the book explains Lewis’ teachings. Lewis was by trade a university professor, and Glaspey does a fine job of tracing Lewis’ ideas and thoughts, many of which were delivered in lecture halls and on the radio. Readers come to understand why Lewis valued the role of the “baptized” imagination so highly, and why he and fellow author J.R.R Tolkien felt compelled to write their now world-famous stories.
The book ends by noting the legacy left behind by Lewis, one that continues to endure and is even enjoying a revival today. There is also a complete list of all of Lewis’ works, and the year they were published. Additionally, a Selected Bibliography gives many resources for anyone who would like to learn a little more. As Glaspey himself writes, Lewis “is a writer whose insight is so well balanced with his wit that he always says it better than I could paraphrase it. If the result of reading this book is to awaken a hunger to read some of his books for yourself, then I have accomplished my task.” (p.11)
Not A Tame Lion: The Life, Teachings, and Legacy of C.S. Lewis is clearly written and gives the reader easy access into the mind of one of the most important apologists in recent times. Available for around $15.00 this book is worth a read for anyone who has ever felt a strange stirring when reading the words “Aslan is on the move,” and wanted to know why.
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