Item description for The C.S. Lewis Chronicles: The Indispensable Biography of the Creator of Narnia Full of Little-Known Facts, Events and Miscellany by Colin Duriez...
Overview This biography reconstructs Lewis' professional and daily life. More than 100 sidebars offer little-known trivia tidbits on the more personal side, and cover such topics as the contents of his home library, 10 things he believed about cats, his favorite beers and pubs, and the women and friends in his life.
Publishers Description A refreshingly unique look at this extraordinary man, this biography chronologically reconstructs both Lewis's professional and daily lives in astonishing detail, from his childhood in Northern Ireland and his participation in World War I to friendship with J.R.R. Tolkien at Oxford and his professorship at Cambridge. More than 100 sidebars offer little-known trivia tidbits on the more personal side of Lewis, and cover such topics as the contents of his home library, 10 things he believed about cats, his favorite beers and pubs, and the women and friends in his life. On the professional side, working titles of his books, lectures he gave at Oxford and Cambridge, and his ideas on atheism and idealism are discussed. Essential information on his most popular work, "The Chronicles of Narnia," is also addressed, including the meaning of names, the hierarchy, and the kings, queens, animals, and battles in Narnia.
Citations And Professional Reviews The C.S. Lewis Chronicles: The Indispensable Biography of the Creator of Narnia Full of Little-Known Facts, Events and Miscellany by Colin Duriez has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Ingram Advance - 09/01/2005 page 38
Publishers Weekly - 08/15/2005 page 48
Library Journal - 11/15/2005 page 70
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 7.96" Width: 6.32" Height: 0.9" Weight: 0.6 lbs.
Release Date Sep 1, 2005
ISBN 0974240583 ISBN13 9780974240589
Availability 0 units.
More About Colin Duriez
Colin Duriez has appeared as a commentator on several mainstream documentaries, has authored biographies of C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien, and studied for several months under Francis Schaeffer at Swiss L'Abri before reading English and philosophy at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland. He writes books, edits, and lectures.
Reviews - What do customers think about The C.S. Lewis Chronicles: The Indispensable Biography of the Creator of Narnia Full of Little-Known Facts, Events and Miscellany?
Interesting, but confusing to read Mar 21, 2007
The shape of this biography is certainly distinctive. I found the combination of chronological entries with "sidebars" about different aspects of Lewis's life awkward. I did learn more about Warren Lewis, Jack's brother, than I had ever known before, especially regarding his abilities as an author. Other bios had concentrated on Warren's alcoholism without showing his assets. I think that this biography falls more into the category of a reference item. The arrangement makes it easy to look up events in particular years, but there is no subject index, which, in my opinion, is detrimental. I have read "Surprised by Joy", Lewis's own account of his early life, as well as the A. N. Wilson and Alan Jacobs biographies, and I read the Chad Walsh, "C.S. Lewis, Apostle to the Skeptics" when I was first devouring Lewis's works. Each one has its good and bad points, and this one is certainly worth reading
Good, blog-style biography Jun 1, 2006
The latest biography from C.S. Lewis scholar Colin Duriez impresses me as a blog-style work. It does not have a flowing narrative which attempts to tell the story of Lewis' life or, worse, attempts to reveal "the secret" of his success. It has the feel of third-person diary.
Duriez offers many details from Lewis' life in the chronological order they occurred with few contextual notes from the past or present. Each chapter is labeled with the years it covers, and after several paragraphs introducing those years, the biography flows according to the date. He includes plenty of historical context in each section, noting the deaths and births of pertinent individuals and events of that year, which may be valuable to literature students who need to be reminded no author writes in a vacuum.
The CSL Chronicles has other context too, lists mostly. For example, the January 31, 1919, entry notes: "This evening, upon invitation, Lewis joins a literary and debating society of the college, the Martlets, as secretary. Membership is limited to twelve." For context, an explanation of the Martlets with a list of papers delivered by Lewis to the group is on the following page, including this note: "There was another but short-lived undergraduate society, called the `Inklings'; in the 1930s its name was transferred to the later famous circle of friends around Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. Lewis and Tolkien did attend the original undergraduate `Inklings,' but only as invited dons."
Duriez leaves many details unwritten, perhaps an irritation to readers who already know a good bit about Lewis; but I think this biography is respectably complete. I know I've learned some things (but this is also my first Lewis biography to read). For instance, I was disturbed when I learned earlier this year about sadism in Lewis' letters before 1918, but a note in The C.S. Lewis Chronicles suggests it is evidence of the impact of the abuse Lewis suffered while in boarding school under the care of madman. Such perversion was a part of his imagination as it were.
I recommend this small, fragmented biography to readers interested in Lewis or his Oxford friends. I think it would be especially useful to trivia fans.