C.S. Lewis as Medievalist

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C.S. Lewis’s life as an academic was concerned with the teaching of medieval and Renaissance literature, though both his lectures and his publications also incorporated his extensive knowledge of Greek and Latin classics. He argued that the cultural and intellectual history of Europe was divided into three main periods, the pre-Christian, the Christian and the post-Christian, which he treated as a matter of historical understanding and with no aim at proselytization: a position that none the less aroused some opposition following his inaugural lecture as professor at Cambridge. Ever since his childhood, his interest in the Middle Ages had been an imaginative rather than a purely scholarly one, and his main concern was to inculcate a sense of the beauty of that pre-modern thought world and its value-a concern that set him apart from the other schools of English language and literature dominant in his lifetime.

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  • Barron Scarlett. “A Short History of the English Faculty”. Oxford English Faculty website. (accessed 1 October 2014)

  • Bennett J.A.W. The Humane Medievalist: An Inaugural Lecture (1965) reprinted in Watson 52-75

  • Hannam James. God’s Philosophers: How the Medieval World laid the Foundations of Modern Science. London: Icon Books 2009. [published in the US as The Genesis of Science]

  • Hooper Walter. C.S. Lewis: A Companion and Guide. London: HarperCollins 2005

  • Hough Graham. “Old Western Man” reprinted in Watson 235-45

  • Leith Sam.“C.S. Lewis’s Literary Legacy”. The Guardian 19 November 2013

  • Lewis C.S. The Discarded Image: an Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1964.

  • --- . An Experiment in Criticism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1961

  • ---. Studies in Words. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1960 (2nd revised ed 1967)

  • ---. Surprised by Joy: The Shape of my Early Life. London: G. Bles 1955 (repr. London: HarperCollins 2002)

  • ---. De descriptione temporum. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1955.

  • ---. English Literature in the Sixteenth Century excluding Drama. Oxford: Clarendon Press 1954

  • ---. The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. London: G. Bles 1950 (repr. Harmondsworth: Puffin Books 1959 etc)

  • ---. The Allegory of Love: A Study in Medieval Tradition. Oxford: Oxford University Press 1936.

  • Tolhurst Fiona. “Beyond the Wardrobe: C.S. Lewis as Closet Arthurian” Arthuriana 22.4 (2012) 140-66

  • Watson George ed. Critical Thought Series 1: Critical Essays on C.S. Lewis. Aldershot: Scolar Press 1992

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