For a review of the book. The Literary Legacy of C. S. Lewis, See page 40.

He set the truth free in fantasy.

CS. Lewis is not a temporary phenomenon. His fame leaped the Atlantic around the middle of World War II. Today, more than a third of a century after the American edition of Screwtape, the sales of his books are running higher than ever. Meanwhile, he has acquired whole new audiences, such as the children who read and reread the Chronicles of Narnia.

This is clearly no transient reputation. In particular, one cannot explain and discuss Lewis as a shallow religious popularizer. If he were merely that, equivalent apologists would have taken his place by now. His books are read by sophisticated atheists as well as the simply pious—and the sophisticated pious.

It is not hard to enumerate the assets that Lewis brought with him when he set out to be a writer. First of all, intelligence. His mind, sharpened by lifelong training, was formidable in its power and precision. One can disagree with him to the point of fury, but not condescend. Coupled with the superb mind was solid erudition. He was master of classical, medieval, and Renaissance literature, so much at home in it that he could make use of its symbols and themes with unconscious ease and grace. Greek and Roman mythology and the legends of the Celts and Germanic peoples were as much a part of his literary frame of reference as the Bible. His books grew out of the collective memory of Western mankind.

Lewis brought to traditional mythology as much as he took from it. His vivid imagination could transport his mind to the floating islands of a distant planet, and from there he would evolve the Story of Paradise Retained. This absolute clarity of visual imagination is one ...

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