Guest / Limited Access /
Lionizing Lewis

When Rowan Williams sits down to read his favorite books, he sometimes reaches for children's literature.

And the former Archbishop of Canterbury often chooses The Chronicles of Narnia, C. S. Lewis's best-known work. "Narnia is something that people do revisit," said Williams, who published The Lion's World in the UK last year (it came out in the U.S. earlier this year). "Children's books … are quite powerful tools for grown-ups' imaginations."

Perhaps imagination has been the secret to Lewis's growing popularity in the United Kingdom as the 50th anniversary of his November 22 death approaches. Though American evangelicals were quicker to admire Lewis as a literary hero, more and more UK intellectuals are now embracing him.

"It takes a while in Britain for a great man to be recognized as such," said Michael Ward, a senior research fellow at Oxford University and author of Planet Narnia. "But Lewis has been safely dead now for 50 years, and we can afford to recognize him as the major figure he was."

On the anniverary of his death, Lewis will be commemorated with a memorial plaque in Westminster Abbey's Poets' Corner, which honors authors and other cultural figures whose work has shaped English society. A two-day conference on Lewis's works will begin the preceding day.

Alister McGrath, the latest to examine Lewis biographically, believes this anniversary year will solidify Lewis's reputation as an apologist and classicist. At Oxford's recent literary conference, McGrath's sold-out talk on Lewis led to requests for him to give three more.

"We've minimized Lewis's importance [in the UK], and we have catching ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Recommended
Subscriber Access Only
Why You Won't Like Turkish Delight As Much As Edmund Did
Though sales are up in the U.K., no one thinks the exotic, rose-flavored candy will catch on in the U.S.
TrendingPope Francis Learns What Rick Warren, Russell Moore, N. T. Wright Think about Marriage
Pope Francis Learns What Rick Warren, Russell Moore, N. T. Wright Think about Marriage
(UPDATED) Warren turns Vatican conference into 'revivalist meeting,' while Moore explains why marriage crosses theological boundaries.
Editor's PickWhat Forgotten Christmas Tradition Should Churches Revive?
What Forgotten Christmas Tradition Should Churches Revive?
Rooting our celebration of Christ’s birth more deeply in our lives.
Comments
Christianity Today
Lionizing Lewis
hide thisOctober October

In the Magazine

October 2013

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.