This Famous Person Game - August 2016
by Mike McLeod
C.S. Lewis is known worldwide for authoring the seven books in The Chronicles of Narnia series, The Screwtape Letters (in which a chief devil Screwtape advises his nephew Wormwood how to tempt people), The Great Divorce (people from Hell visit Heaven), and dozens of other books. A few things many may not know about C.S. Lewis include:
*He took on himself the name of “Jacksie” as a very young child after his dog was killed by a car. He only responded to that name and then was called “Jacks” or “Jack” by his friends and family for the rest of his life.
*At the age of nine, his mother Flora died. He was not close with his father.
*At the age of 19 in WWI, he found himself on the frontlines in the trenches in France. He was wounded in three places by shrapnel from friendly fire, including a piece near his heart that was not removed until 1944. Two comrades were killed by the same British shell.
*He and a friend Paddy Moore made a pact that if one were killed in the war, the other would support both families. C.S. Lewis fulfilled that promise to Paddy who was killed in WWI.
*He was close friends with J.R.R. Tolkien.
*He was elected a Fellow of Magdalen College, a constituent college of Oxford, and there he worked as a tutor in English and literature for nearly three decades. He was next elected a Fellow of Magdalene College, this one of Cambridge, where he was made its first professor of Medieval and Renaissance Literature.
*He made a vow to give away all the money he made on his books to Christian charitable causes, and he continued to keep that vow even as he struggled to pay his own bills.
*He had nearly a photographic memory.
*Lewis did not know how to drive a car or how to type.
*He converted to atheism and then years later returned to a belief in God. He was a great defender of, speaker for, and writer about Christianity.
*He was featured on the cover of Time magazine on Sept. 8, 1947 in a portrait painting. In the background was a horned devil figure holding a pitchfork and frowning at an angel figure that was only partially depicted with one white wing showing.
*He married late in life at the age of 57, and he wife died about four years later from cancer.
In 2015, the seven books of The Chronicles of Narnia, published 1950-1955 and with pristine dust jackets, sold for $38,298 at Sotheby’s. Lewis was very diligent about responding to his fan mail, and a letter from him to a fan dated 19 August 1945 auctioned for £4,600 in Gloucester, UK in 2014.1
Clive Staples Lewis was born on Nov. 29, 1898 in Belfast, Ireland, and died on Nov. 22, 1963 of kidney failure. Relatively few noted his passing because this was also the day that the President John F. Kennedy died.
Julie Kimbrel of Old School Antique Mall in Sylva, N.C., Linda Narjarian of Broad Street Antique Mall in Atlanta, Ga., and Ted Carlton of Utah correctly identified C.S. Lewis.