C. S. Lewis, long renowned for his children’s books as well as his Christian apologetics, has been the subject of wide interest since he first stepped-up to the BBC’s microphone during the Second World War. Until now, however, the reasons why this medievalist began writing books for a popular audience, and why these books have continued to be so popular, had not been fully explored.
In fact, Lewis, who once described himself as by nature an “extreme anarchist”, was a critical controversialist in his time – and not to everyone’s liking. Yet, somehow, Lewis’ books directed at children and middlebrow Christians have continued to resonate in the decades since his death in 1963. Stephanie L. Derrick considers why this is the case, and why it is more true in America than in Lewis’s home-country of Britain.
The story of C. S. Lewis’ fame is one that takes us from his childhood in Edwardian Belfast to the height of international conflict during the 1940s to the rapid expansion of the paperback market and on to readers’ experiences in the 1980s and 1990s and, finally, to London in November 2013, where Lewis was honored with a stone in Poet’s Corner in Westminster Abbey. Derrick tells us that, in fact, the author himself was only one actor among many shaping a multi-faceted image. The Fame of C. S. Lewis is the most comprehensive account of Lewis’ popularity to date, drawing on a wealth of fresh material and with much to interest scholars and C. S. Lewis admirers alike.