C.S. Lewis: A Gallery of Family and Friends
Albert Lewis (1863–1929)
C.S. Lewis’s father, Albert Lewis, was the son of a Welsh immigrant who found success as a partner in a firm that manufactured boilers and ships. Albert attended college and began a practice as a solicitor in Belfast in 1885.
Lewis believed his father’s quick mind, eloquence and love of oratory would have suited him for a career in politics if he had had the means. Albert’s favorite pastime was spending an afternoon swapping anecdotes with his brothers, acting them out with great florish.
C.S. Lewis described his father’s side of the family as “true Welshmen, sentimental, passionate, and rhetorical, easily moved both to anger and to tenderness.” Albert never fully recovered from grief following his wife’s death, and his erratic and sometimes cruel subsequent behavior alienated his sons.
Albert filled the Lewis home with books, but his son’s interest in fantasy literature was not shared by his parents. “If I am a romantic,” he wrote, “my parents bear no responsibility for it.”
Florence Hamilton Lewis (1862–1908)
Flora Lewis, C.S. Lewis’s mother, was the daughter of the Rev. Thomas Hamilton, rector of the church attended by the Lewises. Flora’s talent for mathematics won her a first in the subject at Queen’s College, Belfast, where she earned a B.A.
Flora’s cool temperament was the antithesis of her husband’s emotionality. When she agreed to marry Albert after an eight-year courtship, she wrote to him, “I wonder do I love you? I am not quite sure. I’l know that at least I am very fond of you, and that I should never think of loving anyone else.”
C.S. Lewis wrote of her family, “their minds were critical and ironic and they had the talent for happiness to a high degree.” Flora was a voracious reader and wrote ...