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Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life [Paperback]

By C. S. Lewis (Author)
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Item description for Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life by C. S. Lewis...

An autobiography of a Christian concentrating on the part of his life when he turned to atheism and eventually recovered his faith

Publishers Description
""A young man who wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading. There are traps everywhere . . . God is, if I may say it, very unscrupulous."" This book is not an autobiography. It is not a confession. It is, however, certainly one of the most beautiful and insightful accounts of a person coming to faith. Here, C.S. Lewis takes us from his childhood in Belfast through the loss of his mother, to boarding school and a youthful atheism in England, to the trenches of World War I, and then to Oxford, where he studied, read, and, ultimately, reasoned his way back to God. It is perhaps this aspect of "Surprised by Joy" that we--believers and nonbelievers--find most compelling and meaningful; Lewis was searching for joy, for an elusive and momentary sensation of glorious yearning, but he found it, and spiritual life, through the use of reason. In this highly personal, thoughtful, intelligent memoir, Lewis guides us toward joy and toward the surprise that awaits anyone who seeks a life beyond the expected. "Lewis tempered his logic with a love for beauty, wonder, and magic . . . He speaks to us with all the power and life-changing force of a Plato, a Dante, and a Bunyan."--"Christianity Today" "The tension of these final chapters holds the interest like the close of a thriller."--"Times Literary Supplement" C. S. (Clive Staples) Lewis (1898-1963), one of the great writers of the twentieth century, also continues to be one of our most influential Christian thinkers. He wrote more than thirty books, both popular and scholarly, including The Chronicles of Narnia series, "The Screwtape Letters," "The Four Loves," "Mere Christianity," and "Till We Have Faces."

Citations And Professional Reviews
Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life by C. S. Lewis has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Christianity Today - 08/01/2010 page 38
  • Wilson Public Library Catalog - 01/01/1993 page 803
  • Wilson Public Library Catalog - 01/01/1998 page 791

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Mariner Books
Pages   252
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8" Width: 5.3" Height: 0.7"
Weight:   0.6 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Aug 9, 1993
Publisher   Harcourt Brace
ISBN  0156870118  
ISBN13  9780156870115  

Availability  0 units.

More About C. S. Lewis

C. S. Lewis C.S. Lewis was a professor of medieval and Renaissance literature at Oxford and Cambridge universities who wrote more than thirty books in his lifetime, including The Screwtape Letters, The Chronicles of Narnia, and Mere Christianity. He died in 1963.

C. S. Lewis was born in 1898 and died in 1963.

C. S. Lewis has published or released items in the following series...
  1. C.S. Lewis Signature Classics
  2. Chronicles of Narnia
  3. Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis
  4. Radio Theatre
  5. Scribner Classics
  6. Space Trilogy (Paperback)

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Arts & Literature > Authors
2Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > General
3Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Leaders & Notable People > Religious
4Books > Subjects > Children > Authors & Illustrators, A-Z > ( L ) > Lewis, C.S.
5Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Authors, A-Z > ( L ) > Lewis, C.S.
6Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General

Christian Product Categories
Books > Inspiration > Motivation > Biography & Autobiography

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Reviews - What do customers think about Surprised By Joy?

Kicking and Screaming!  Mar 25, 2007
I continue to hear the memorable phrase as only C.S Lewis could have penned it, "Kicking and Screaming..." from the lips of many. This books touched my life.

Reader, let CS Lewis guide you along to your wonderful Savior of whom the heart stands in constant rebillion.
Lewis's early life and his intellectual journey  Mar 12, 2007
"Surprised by joy--impatient as the wind," is the Wordsworth quote that Lewis chose for the title page. The whole book is about what Lewis calls "joy" or "sehnsucht," which is a German word which very roughly translates to "longing." This use of the word "joy" is confusing because he is not referring to a satisfaction; when Lewis uses the word "joy," he is referring to a desire that is itself better than any satisfaction. It is pleasurable yet painful, and Lewis says that we prefer this pain to any other pleasure. (If this is confusing, you need to read the book.) Lewis writes about this desire in many of his books (e.g., "The Weight of Glory" and the preface to "Pilgrim's Regress"), and if you are like me and are very intrigued by this desire, "Surprised by Joy" is a must read.

The book spends the first twelve chapters building up to the last three. Lewis's life as a child, a boy, and a young man are covered in the first 12 or so chapters. It is clear the Lewis and his brother Warnie were thick as thieves, and there are some funny and charming stories about their days as kids. There is a lot of time spent on Lewis's school days; he had some real characters for teachers.

In the book, Lewis always comes back around to explaining the evolution of his thought; he never strays too far from that. Basically, the reader rides the wave of Lewis's intellectual maturing process. The last three chapters are totally focused on how the dam finally broke on his long-standing atheism, how he turned to philosophical Idealism, then Theism, and then Christianity. The great thing about the book is that by the time the reader reaches the last three chapters he knows exactly why Lewis is an atheist; and then, in reading those last three chapters, the reader clearly understands how Lewis slowly and reluctantly becomes a Christian.

It is a beautifully written book. In fact, I have read it a few times; and I discovered things on the second reading that I somehow missed during the first. That's the sign of a great book--that it grows as you grow.
Intellectual Anecdotes  Mar 12, 2007
C.S.Lewis always amazes me with his wonderful use of language. His open storytelling is filled with great wisdom and fun. You will learn much about Lewis's development through childhood and through his conversion. An excellent read!
Pleasant and suprising at the end  Mar 8, 2007
C.S. Lewis writes about his upbringing, his relationship with his father and brother, his schooling, and quite extensively comments on his passion for reading and absorbing more and more literature as his life unfolds. It isn't until the far latter portion of the book that the movement toward a belief in theism, and then quickly to Christianity, that his spiritual beliefs are explained in detail. But when it is - it is a refreshing read to those of us who are patient enough and curious enough to see how his position unfolds. Vocabulary on the more difficult side - I used a dictionary from time to time to attain better understanding.
A Delightful Read  Jan 12, 2007
CS Lewis is a master wordsmith as a reading of this book will show. The way he puts together his words is delightful and impressive. However, the main merits of this book are not its tone or style but its content. This is CS Lewis' autobiography, yet it's not a proper autobiography. Most autobiographies follow a "I did this, then I did this" format. Lewis, on the other hand, tells the story of his life but in a pointed manner. His life is told with the perspective of his search for "joy" (later, for truth and his theology) always at the forefront. Lewis' transition from atheist to christian is told in a gentle manner, really in the way, it seems, it happened in real life--without much hype; simply through reasoning, thinking, and dialoguing with colleagues and friends. I give it a 4 out of 5 rating only because I would have liked more time spent on the thinking behind his conversion.

A challenging and exciting read for Christians and non-christians everywhere.

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